Tip for Lawns and Gardens

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A home garden means different things to different people. To some, a garden means an immaculately tended suburban lawn. To others a home garden means the over-grown splendor of an English cottage. No matter what your lawn and garden preferences, a well-tended home garden improves your home's appearance and value.

Planning Your Home Garden

Any successful home garden starts as an idea. Some plans are as simple as a green suburban lawn accented with hanging potted plants. Others are more complex, such as recreating the feel of formal Japanese gardens.

Simple or complicated, a home garden plan keeps your landscaping plans focused. Haphazard, on-the-fly landscaping rarely looks as good as a well-planned garden, even if the garden's theme is natural and spontaneous.

Caring for the Suburban Lawn

The suburban lawn has become as much a part of the American mythos as apple pie, baseball and cowboys. Think that's overstating the facts? In many areas homeowners give as much attention to their lawn and garden as they do to personal appearance.

A suburban lawn acts as a first impression of the homeowner's attitudes. A well-tended, meticulously weeded lawn suggests an organized, disciplined mind. A slightly over-grown lawn with toys scattered around and rows of sunflowers? You may assume a young family lives there, and the homeowner's energy is taken up raising energetic kids.

A weed-covered, overgrown or patchy lawn, in contrast, suggests the homeowner is slovenly and lazy. This may be an incorrect assumption, but that isn't the point. The point is that people make such assumptions.

Types of Grass

How well a suburban lawn grows depends on multiple factors, including your choice of grass. Lawns in the United States use two major categories of grass: cool- and warm-season grasses.

Cool-season grasses are best for regions with cold winters and mild to hot summers. Such grasses do most of their growing in the spring and fall and go semi-dormant in the summer months. Examples of cool-season grasses include:

  • Creeping bentgrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Red fescue
  • Rough bluegrass
  • Ryegrass

Warm-season grass is a better choice for suburban lawns in the warmer states. Warm-season grasses do most of their growing during the summer, and tend to brown in the fall. Some gardeners add cool-season grass seeds in the fall to maintain their lawn's greenness during cooler months. Examples of warm season grasses include:

  • Bahia grass
  • Bermuda grass
  • Buffalo grass
  • Carpet grass
  • Saint Augustine grass.

Gardeners in a narrow transitional zone between the two regions may use either warm or cool-season grasses depending on their local climate and soil.

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