Low Maintenance Summer Living


(ARA) - The hectic pace of life seems to slow down during the summer – kids are out of school, families are on vacation, the long evenings are made for relaxing. But any homeowner knows that with summer comes yard work. Don’t let your yard work cut into your enjoyment of the all-too-brief summer months.

Of course you want your yard to look beautiful. Enjoying the fruits of your labor in terms of a gorgeous garden and well-manicured lawn are what makes being outside so enjoyable. But you don’t have to spend every free moment to get the maximum impact.

Start with a well-planned landscape to help minimize upkeep. Choose plants that are right for your climate. Gardeners in areas with shorter summers, like Minnesota, won’t be able to plant the same things as those who garden in parts of the country that have more temperate weather. That doesn’t mean your garden can’t be an explosion of color and variety, it just means you need to choose wisely. Perennials and native plants that come back year after year make gardening easier, too. After the first season, you won’t have to spend as much time planting, although you’ll probably want to fill in with colorful annuals.

Add a generous layer of mulch to your garden beds. This not only protects delicate plant roots from the heat of the mid-day summer sun, it also provides a barrier to weeds. After all, you have better things to do than weed. Consider a drip irrigation system for your flowers. Your plants will have the right amount of water all the time, and you won’t have to lug the watering can or the hose across the yard.

You can simplify lawn care as well. Instead of spending time raking up and bagging your grass clippings, simply leave them on the lawn to serve as mulch. Unless it’s been a long time between mowings and the grass is really long, you won’t even notice the clippings. An in-ground sprinkler system saves you from watering the lawn yourself, but if you use a sprinkler attached to the hose, remember that one good, long soak is better for the lawn than more frequent short waterings.

Your lawn and patio furniture should be low maintenance as well. Furniture made of wood can require restaining, while metal furniture can get chipped and peel. Minnesota-based By The Yard manufactures furniture made from recycled plastic milk jugs that is stylish, attractive and virtually maintenance-free. A quick spray with the garden hose is all it takes to keep this furniture looking new.

The company offers more than 70 different pieces, all available in six colors, including white, brown, green, grey, sandtone and weathered wood. Choose from rockers, Adirondack styles, benches, lounge chairs and bar height tables and chairs.

The plastic lumber is colorfast, so it never needs repainting, and it is impervious to all types of weather from freezing temperatures to blistering heat. It can withstand moist or dry climates. “We’ve tested our products in Alaska, the Arizona desert and the Florida Keys and after 30 years they still look great,” says company president Deb Anderson.

Because the material weighs about 20 percent more than cedar, it won’t blow around outside like lightweight furniture does. The material is also extremely flexible, which makes it as comfortable as it is durable, even without cushions. Best of all, you can leave it out year ‘round, always ready to relax and enjoy.

Visit www.bytheyard.net to see the complete collection of outdoor furniture or call (877) 220-0448 for a free color catalog.

Courtesy of ARA Content


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