Gardens have become a very important part of the design and style of any home. For many homebuyers, the exterior grounds of a house are a pivotal characteristic determining whether or not they would like to make the purchase. Outdoor areas are used for gardening and grilling, recreation and relaxation, and the range of designs for these outdoor spaces are nearly limitless.
Half of the enjoyment of having an outdoor garden space for the family is cultivating and maintaining it, but for those without a green thumb or handyman's instincts, maintaining these outdoor spaces can be a hurdle and, in some cases, gardens can quickly fall into disrepair. Making the effort to do some research and brushing up on some outdoor maintenance basics will give a homeowner the tools they need to keep their outdoor space healthy and safe.
Common garden maintenance issues
The first area of a home's garden that will be noticed and appreciated is the lawn. This area may be small and intimate or quite expansive, depending on the size of the home. Regardless of the size, a beautiful lawn rarely comes naturally; it has to be cultivated and fertilized to keep it free from weeds and disease as well as being trimmed and groomed to keep it looking good. Though professional landscapers may be hired to maintain a lawn, most people can take the necessary steps to take care of their lawn and keep it healthy and attractive. Serious weed issues may be addressed with specialized herbicides, or a weed-and-feed mixture may be used to accomplish two steps at once.
Weeds are a major problem for any gardener, especially in cultivated beds, and whether these beds are planted with flowers or herbs, keeping them clear of weeds and other plant debris will help them grow to their full potential. Making sure cultivated beds are weed free will not only keep them looking fresh but it will also allow the plants to get the water and air to their roots that they need to stay strong and grow successfully. This will also help to keep burrowing pests away that could damage root systems and kill plants.
Speaking of pests, keeping mosquitoes, beetles, snails, slugs and other types of garden pests away begins with proper maintenance. In addition to cleaning up plant debris, weeding and using pest repellants as needed, another important deterrent to pests is proper drainage. Standing water creates a breeding ground for mosquitoes, as well as molds and fungus. Standing water may also lead to dangerous conditions such as wood rot if the water is in contact with the house or other exterior structures.
Large elements in the outdoor garden area, including trees, hedges and bushes, as well as fences and trellises, all need to be properly maintained and sturdily anchored. Trees, hedges and bushes should be pruned seasonally and kept properly trimmed for safety. Ensure that all fences and trellises are well secured and safely positioned.
Finally, the outdoor space of any home includes the exterior of the home itself. Properly maintaining the exterior of the home - keeping gutters and downspouts clean, ensuring proper drainage away from the home, cleaning and maintaining the painted, stucco or brick exterior, etc. - will make the entire property healthier and the garden area a happier place for the entire family.
Maintaining your own garden
Maintaining a home garden area is a great opportunity to get the kids involved by teaching them practical skills about gardening and construction, as well as getting them outdoors in the fresh air and keeping them active. Spending even one hour a day outdoors working in the garden can make a huge difference in the health and wellbeing of a child. In addition, the act of creating and perfecting a family's outdoor space is a great bonding occasion for all.
Most of the gardening and construction that is required to maintain a family garden can be easily done by even the inexperienced; with so much material available through books and online reference sites, homeowners can quickly find the answers they need to fix whatever problems they encounter.
For some problems, however, professional help may need to be called in. Large infestations of pests, such as termites or stinging insects, may require extermination in order to destroy the colony and eliminate the threat or further damage. Also, some cleaning and maintenance issues, such as gutter cleaning
, may be best done by professionals with the necessary equipment and skill.
Cultivating a happy garden
Spending time in the garden or outdoor space is one of the great advantages of owning one's own home. Enjoying those happy times in the garden begin with cultivating and maintaining a healthy environment, one free of pests and safety hazards, one that brings out the best in the plants and structures that are part of the design and, in the process, brings out the best in the family that enjoys it.