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Five Ways To Finish Your Outdoor Projects Like A Pro

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(ARA) – What do those guys on the landscaping shows have that you don’t have? (Besides their own TV show, that is.) They have all the right tools to make their job easier, whether they’re building a deck, clearing brush to make way for a new patio or digging a hole for a backyard pond. Fortunately, you don’t need the budget of a television landscaping celebrity or the storage space of…

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Make Your Lawn A Masterpiece

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Any great work of art must start with good canvas…

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Stripe your lawn like the Pros

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At the same time you mow, you can create everything from simple, professional stripes to an eye-catching piece of art. Lawn striping, lawnscapes, yard art, whatever you call it, it’s beautiful.  Sports venues have been adding stripes, waves and checkerboards to their fields for years.  Now homeowners can add a professional look to their yards, too! You might think it takes hours of work, but you can create simple patterns…

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Six Steps to Planting a New Lawn

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Planting a new lawn is a big job, you may want to tackle this in sections.  You can begin by redoing the worst or most visible lawn areas; then make plans to tackle other areas the following year.  Starting with smaller sections instead of the entire lawn keeps the job manageable and makes the critical step of watering feasible for homeowners who do not have in-ground sprinkler systems.  However, whether…

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Step 1. Remove Old Turf

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The first step is to kill and remove poor-quality turf, which you can accomplish several ways. Solarization: Cut the old lawn as close to grade as possible before you begin.  Solarization kills grass, weeds, and weed seeds by overheating them under a layer of clear plastic.  During warm weather, securely anchor the plastic over the area you want to clear.  You will need two months to achieve the desired effect….

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Step 2: Fix Grade Problems

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Take the time to fix any existing grade problems, before adding amendments to the soil. For minor grading problems, small versions of earthmoving equipment are often available to rent or buy.  You can also use a landscaping rake for working topsoil to the proper grade. To make minor grade adjustments use a landscape rake. Water the area.  Later, fill where puddles formed using soil from high spots. The first rule of…

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Step 3: Amend the Soil

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This is your best opportunity to add amendments such as fertilizer, organic matter, and lime or sulfur.  Use a soil test to determine the best amendments for your particular soil. The best way to test your soil is to send a sample to a Cooperative Extension Service (CSREES), which is usually located at or affiliated with a state university, or to a commercial soil tester.    

Rake Smooth and Firm

Step 4: Rake Smooth and Firm

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Remove stones and vegetative matter brought to the surface during tilling. Rake the area until it is smooth. Water the ground and check it for puddles. Allow the soil to dry; once dry enough, move soil from high spots to fill the depressions. Roll the prepared soil to provide a firmer base and to foster adequate soil structure.  Fill a lawn roller about one-third with water, and roll until your footprints…

Planting Your Lawn

Step 5: Planting Your New Lawn

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There are four methods to planting a new lawn: Sod, Seed, Sprigs, and Plugs. Sod Apply a starter fertilizer high in phosphorus, such as 2:1:1 or 1:1:1 ratio, then lightly water the area.  Have the pallets of sod delivered to a shady spot if possible and begin work immediately upon delivery of your order.  Sod can go bad quickly, especially if it heats up or dries out.  If you cannot…

Caring for Your New Lawn

Step 6: Caring for Your New Lawn

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You have put a lot of work into creating a new lawn, so don’t forget the most important step.  Plan for watering needs before you plant your lawn.  Insufficient water and overwatering are the leading causes of new-lawn failure.  Take precautions to prevent damage.  Minimize play and foot traffic on new and sodded lawns for at least three weeks. Do not fertilize new lawns for at least six weeks. After…