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7 Things Smart Homeowners Know About Their Yards

Janay Lenhart

Be the boss of yard stuff by knowing these important specifics about your home. Best of all: They’re not too hard to master (thank God). With springtime on the horizon, these are easy bets to ensure your outdoor area is looking—and growing—great.

How to turn your sprinklers off

You—not your gardener, S.O. or neighbor who knew your home’s previous owners—need to know how to operate that confusing little timer in your garage. Because sprinklers in the rain is a bad look.

How to re-use water

Speaking of rain, even after downpours, we still need to be drought-conscious. (Hello, this used to be a desert.) Ambitious types can install a rain barrel to recycle rainwater. The rest of us can just hand-wash dishes in a handle bucket using biodegradable soap, then carry the rinse water outside for our plants.

Your soil alkalinity

Yep, soil health is a thing, and early spring is the perfect time to get it going. Knowing your soil composition and pH level is key in understanding what will bloom, wilt or just need a special bit of fertilizer to look lush. Pick up a soil testing kit at your local hardware store, then add a soil amendment to balance out soil nutrients. Now look at you, Ms. Greenthumb.

When a Tree Needs to Be Trimmed

Maybe your friends just suffered a fallen tree limb on their car or the winds whipped a bough into power lines. That’s what happens when trees aren’t kept cut back, or in the case of unhealthy ones, a storm blows them over. If you suspect that your oak is sick, call an arborist to get a diagnosis. Or, if eucalyptus is growing over your power lines, call a gardener to cut it back.

Are you helping the bees?

Poor bees. So troubled, so vilified. Help these crucial little pollinators by planting a bed of annual flowering plants for them to use as their habitat. (Bonus: It will attract butterflies, too.)

Where to buy sandbags

Low-lying parts of your home or garage may be vulnerable to flooding, and sections of land can risk landslide, so you need to have a supply of empty sandbags ready to go, as well as a shovel. Stock up at a participating Los Angeles Fire Department and feel more secure.

Is my curb appeal working hard enough?

Take a photo of the front of your home and study it objectively. Are your mailbox and door hardware up-to-date? Do you have low-voltage lighting installed along pathways? Do your plantings around the house look intentional and groomed? It might be time to re-think your landscaping or refresh your pathways with pea gravel to keep your property value up.

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