Dig Deep For Best Results
Before you prep your patio area, call your local utilities or 811 to have any plumbing, cable or electrical lines marked. Then dig down below the root level of vegetation in the area, a good six inches or so. For dry soil, try watering the area the night before you plan to dig to dampen and soften the area for easier digging.
Keep It Weed Free
Use landscaping cloth to create a barrier between the old soil and the new base of sand you'll be using. This will minimize the efforts of weeds and other unwanted vegetation to encroach upon your patio from underneath. Calculate the square footage of your patio space by multiplying the length by the width and add 10 percent.
Create the Base
Pack in the paver base and/or sand using a wacker plate compactor or tamper. You need a solid, level and smooth base upon which to lay pavers. Remember to repack each subsequent layer of material.
Plan For Drainage
While it's important to have a level patio, you need to make sure it does slope away from your home's foundation and toward an area that can either handle additional moisture or is an existing drainage area. Plan for a quarter inch drop in elevation for every two feet of distance.
Keep A Tight Edge
To help minimize the effect of movement of your pavers, be sure to plan for a good solid edge by using additional pavers, a solid cement lip, or metal or vinyl edging. In addition to stability, this will also help minimize creeping weeds.
Using a hard rake and/or shovel, level the area and make sure it follows the slope of the concrete pad. The ground should be tightly compacted using a hand tamper or plate compactor. The slope should be about 1/4″ per one foot of distance. It is helpful to pull a string line so you can check your slope. To run a string line, attach a string to a fixed point on the house side about 3” above the surface of the patio, and pull it tight toward the outside edge of your new patio area. Attach the other end to a landscape stake in the ground making sure the string it tight. Use a level and ruler to create the desired slope. For example, the patio should slop 2.5″ over a 10 foot distance (Diagram below). This will ensure that the patio moves water away from the house.The area should be as smooth as possible, making sure to get rid of high and low spots to within +/- 1/4″. This is now your compacted base.
Congratulations, the hard part is over!
Considering a patio project for your Delaware yard? Give us a shout we would be happy point you in the right direction!
While a relatively small percentage of Delaware lawns will actually get grubs in a given year, this insect can wreak havoc when a significant population occurs on a lawn or other turf area.
Unlike the common earthworm, grubs, or the larval form of various insects, are terrible for your lawn. They are most prevalent in summer, when insects are plentiful and the moist grass of well-tended lawns provides an attractive site for them to lay their eggs. The first step in prevention is learning to recognize grub problems before they have the chance to make your lawn a mess.
Since grubs are often asked about, this Lawn FAQ features grubs in lawns and summarizes the most common questions regarding this destroyer of home lawns.
How do I know if I have grubs in my lawn?
Peeling back a damaged lawn area has revealed these grubs in the soil as the cause.
Check for browning.
Grubs feed on the roots of grasses, so lawns will show wilting and browning of irregular shaped areas. Certainly there could be many reasons for lawns browning, especially in late summer when most grub damage occurs. Always check the root zone of affected areas for the c-shaped grubs. Carefully pull back the sod in suspect areas, in particular the marginal areas where brown grass meets green grass, and look for the grubs. Usually a population of about 10 or more grubs per square foot will lead to browning of the lawn.
Keep in mind other factors that can lead to poor rooting and are mistaken for grubs. For example, lawns in shade areas often have weak roots and are pulled-up easily. Grubs do not typically appear in shade lawns. Also, many lawns were easily pulled up this spring and grubs were blamed. Once grass dies, regardless of the cause, roots will rot away and the grass is very easy to tear out. So trying to diagnose grub damage from the previous season as the cause of a dead lawn area in spring is very difficult to do, even if limited roots are found in an area of dead grass.
Another sign of grubs is damage from skunks and raccoons digging up lawns in search of grubs to eat. This usually happens at night. Moles may or may not be feeding on grubs so are not a reliable indicator of grub problems.
Test the Strength of the Grass
Grubs’ favorite food is grass roots. If the roots of your grass have recently been munched away, the grass may still look green (temporarily), but come out too easily when pulled.
Why does my lawn have grubs but not my neighbor?
Keep in mind the adult stage of the grub life cycle is a beetle, which can fly. Random chance is part of the answer. But adult beetles usually lay eggs in full-sun lawn areas with adequate soil moisture. The masked chafer (annual white grub) and Japanese beetle lay eggs in July. So if the weather has been dry but your lawn is watered and surrounded by dry lawns, it is a prime target for egg laying.
How can I predict if my lawn will have grub damage this year?
The masked chafer is the adult beetle which lays eggs becoming the annual white grub in lawns.
Weeds are a common occurrence in most delaware lawns and gardens. While many of them are quite familiar, there may be some that are not. Learning about some of the most common types of weeds can make it easier to eliminate them from the landscape.
Common Delaware Weed: White Clover
White clover is a plant that is either loved or hated by the homeowner. For many gardeners who did not intentionally plant white clover, knowing how to control white clover in lawns and garden beds is helpful. Getting rid of white clover once it is established can be challenging, but it can be done if you have the right tools and patience.
Let’s take a look at how to identify and how to get rid of white clover.
Identifying White Clover
White clover is a perennial weed that grows low to the ground. While it can grow in many different places, it is typically found in lawns, especially sparse lawns where the competition from grass is weak. This perennial lawn weed will gain strength each repeated year and eventually can choke out lawn areas that were intended for grass
The leaves on white clover grow in sets of 3 leaflets. Each leaflet is tear shaped and many have a reddish stripe across it. The flowers on white clover are spiky and white with a brownish green center. White clover grows in a creeping manner and will develop roots where ever a stem node touches the ground.
Keeping a Healthy Lawn is Key
Eliminating white clover starts with a healthy lawn. Clover will grow in areas of low nitrogen and where competition from other plants is small, so making sure that your lawn (and flower beds) are well fertilized will not only help desirable grass and plants to grow and keep out white clover, but will also make the soil less friendly to white clover.
In flower beds, clover can be kept at bay by using a thick layer of mulch. This will keep the seeds from germinating. If white clover is already established in your yard, controlling white clover can either be done through hand pulling or by using an herbicide. In either case, while killing the white clover already in your lawn is easy, you need to understand that killing white clover seeds is not. The seeds can survive high heat, low temperatures and can stay dormant for years before germinating. Whichever method you choose for getting rid of white clover, you can expect to be doing it once a year to control the white clover plants that emerge from the seeds.
Provide Adequate Fertility: Depending what type of turfgrass you have growing in your lawn, you’ll need anywhere from 2-4 lbs. of Nitrogen per 1000 square feet, delivered throughout the year. Clover will thrive in low-fertility soil and your lawn will suffer, so be sure that you are giving your lawn a fighting chance. Fertilizer won’t kill clover, but it will help your lawn to grow more aggressively.
Address Soil Compaction: Clover plants can grow very well in compacted soil, but grass plants will start to thin out and perform poorly there. Core aerating your lawn annually and topdressing at times will help to improve soil structure, making it more suited to turfgrasses and less desirable to clover.
Correct Soil pH: When we find a lawn loaded with clover, we find low soil pH the majority of times. Clover can adapt to all sorts of soil pH, but lawns prefer a soil pH that is fairly neutral, around 6.5-7.0. Taking a soil test for your lawnand adding limestone to address this deficiency will help your lawn to grow thicker, creating more competition for the clover.
Spray Clover with Herbicide: Liquid selective broadleaf weed control will work very well to address clover. Weed controls for clover that are available to the average consumer aren’t always effective, particularly in the instance of granular weed control products. Since the leaves of clover plants are very small it is difficult to get an adequate amount of material on them. Using a professional lawn care service to treat clover throughout the year, and each subsequent year, will be very effective in managing this perennial weed. Just be sure to also address the issues listed above or you may see clover re-growing in your lawn.
These herbicides will kill the white clover, but will also kill any other plants it comes in contact with. Herbicides also may not kill the root system of mature clover, which means that they can grow back. If you decide to use herbicides for getting rid of white clover, the best time to do this is on a warm, cloudless and windless day. Knowing how to get rid of white clover from lawns and flower beds can be a bit tricky, but it can be done. Patience and persistence while getting rid of white clover will pay off.
Considering a hardscaping project to enhance your Delaware home? Here are some quick tips to help you get started.
1. Choose a Theme
Focus on any theme you want, but it’s a good idea to have a style in mind that matches the exterior of your home. You also don’t want to include a random mixture of elements that make your yard look like an outdoor museum. A farm design can encompass fish ponds and wooden fences, while a more colonial style uses stone walls, gravel paths and fountains. Maybe a courtyard is more what you have in mind or a modern concept with stepping stones and sculptures.
2. 360 Degree View
Keep in mind the big picture. Even if you can’t do all the yard work at one time, develop a plan for the entire area. Otherwise, one of your elements might be in the way of a walkway or pond you’ve decided you want later on. You want a completed project that you love and that will last for years.
3. Deal With Drainage
Hardscape elements like a wall or patio can alter how water drains. By including permeable components, water still seeps down into the ground. Also, a very flat, level patio can quickly become a small swimming pool when it rains so you should slope the patio a little. Don’t forget to save that runoff in a rain barrel.
4. Measure Your Space
You can’t really get started planning your hardscaping project until you know what kind of space you’re working with. This knowledge can help you to put together a design and create a budget before starting your project
5. Professionals Know Best
When drastically changing your yard, you need to prepare the site correctly. You’ll need a level surface to build upon and you should know where the freeze line is or the depth that frost penetrates the soil. Building codes say footings must be placed below this line. To get this information, talk to an inspector at your local building authority or someone at your state landscaping association.
6. Follow Nature’s Curves
All straight lines in a yard make it look unnatural. You want to match your landscaping to the shapes of Mother Nature so not all sidewalks and paths need to be linear. Allow some of your hardscape items to bend, sweep and arc gracefully. Ninety degree angles have no place in nature.
In design, form follows function. Before you start perusing planter boxes and pavers, you need to make sure that you have considered how you want your yard to function, as well as the role that your intended usage, regional weather, and other environmental factors will play.
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An attractive, well-maintained yard contributes to a beautiful home and neighborhood.
Consider these tips for achieving a green, healthy lawn and garden while saving money and respecting the environment. If you use a lawn-care or landscaping company, choose one that abides by these practices.
1. Aerating and Fertilizing
Aerate your soil and rake out thatch – dead materials at the base of grass – to minimize the need for fertilizers and pest control.
Lawn fertilizers are an often overlooked aspect of keeping a green and healthy lawn. You don’t need to fertilize too often, but it is important to do it at least a few times a year—and remember, not all fertilizers are created equal (different kinds work better depending on your soil type.)
Only water when the soil is dry, and do so early in the morning to minimize evaporation. Don’t overwater. Encourage deep root growth by watering deeply and infrequently. Invest in an inexpensive lawn moisture meter (available at local garden stores) to gauge your lawn’s water needs. If using sprinklers, apply about a ½ inch of water twice per week. To know how long it takes to apply that much water, set out empty tuna cans to measure it and determine the time needed to apply a good thorough watering. It could take between 15 and 30 minutes depending on the type of sprinkler you use.
If you plan to install or upgrade a sprinkler system, consider a "smart" system that dynamically adjusts the amount and frequency of watering based on local weather conditions.
Capture rainwater for use in your garden by placing rain barrels under your gutter downspouts. Don’t hose down your driveway and sidewalks; this wastes water and can put chemical run-off into our waterways.
Mow high (3 to 4 inches) to retain moisture and make more shade, which helps keep out weeds. Leave your grass clippings as a natural fertilizer and to reduce yard waste.
Consider a push mower (great exercise) or plug-in electric model in place of an air- and noise-pollution-making gas mower. Keep your mower blades sharp.
Remove weeds by hand and re-seed bare spots. Choose appropriate grasses for your soil and sun conditions.
4. Pest Control
Avoid exposing your family, pets, and neighbors to toxic chemical pesticides that also run off into waterways, kill beneficial insects and harm wildlife.
Instead, identify pests and use biological pesticides specific to those pests. Visit the Resources page of the National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns (www.beyondpesticides.org) for more information.
Several types of plants and beneficial insects can be used to control common garden pests. For example, marigolds can protect against beetles, and ladybugs eat plant-eating aphids. Attract insect-eating birds with a bird-friendly backyard habitat that includes native plants.
Choose native plants, flowers and grasses that are suited to local soil, water and weather conditions. These will save water, reduce pests, and generally require less care.
Look for succulents and drought-resistant plants. Also consider lower-maintenance alternatives to grass, such as myrtle, pachysandra, ferns and moss.
Make your own nutrient-rich lawn and garden fertilizer by composting your leaves, other yard debris and kitchen scraps. Compost returns organic matter to the soil and slowly releases the nutrients plants need. It is an excellent alternative to hazardous lawn and garden chemicals that weaken grass and plants in the long run.