All lawns are not the same, and using the right equipment to maintain the lawn is important. After all, unlocking the potential of the lawn can result in significant advantages from curb appeal to relaxing in the backyard to hosting gatherings with family and friends. Here are three key areas to consider with zero-turn mowers, an option that’s gaining popularity.
Here’s What You Need to Mow
(Family Features) All lawns are not the same, and using the right equipment to maintain the lawn is important. After all, unlocking the potential of the lawn can result in significant advantages from curb appeal to relaxing in the backyard to hosting gatherings with family and friends.
Many homeowners may have a push mower, a lawn tractor or both – and technology on lawn equipment has come a long way over the years. Today’s lawn tractors incorporate fuel-injected engines or feature Bluetooth technology that connects with a smartphone.
However, a third lawn mowing option is gaining in popularity – the zero-turn mower. It’s called a zero-turn mower because its design allows users to make zero-degree turns – allowing for easier maneuverability around trees, shrubs, lawn decorations and other obstacles typically encountered when mowing.
Zero-turn mowers are becoming more popular for homeowners because they are comfortable, have great handling and can mow lawns quickly and efficiently.
Here are three key areas to consider with zero-turn mowers:
The steering wheel option offers patented SynchroSteer® technology, providing unparalleled stability on hills and terrain with no turf damage. With four-wheel control, the RZT SX delivers incredible handling and unmatched stability on hills. The line is available in a variety of cutting widths from 42 to 54 inches.
As many families prepare to ramp up their time spent outside, it can be helpful to keep the latest trends in mind while planning for outdoor living spaces. Since many people enjoy spending time in an outdoor living space, it’s fitting that the 2018 furnishing trends address the outdoor lifestyle experience.
Living Lavishly Outdoors with 2018 Trends
(Family Features) As many families prepare to ramp up their time spent outside, it can be helpful to keep the latest trends in mind while planning for outdoor living spaces.
According to research from the International Casual Furnishings Association, many people use outdoor rooms for things they can do indoors – from using cellphones for calls and games to working on computers, watching TV, eating, exercising and, of course, relaxing.
Since 70 percent of survey respondents said they enjoy spending time in an outdoor living space more than inside, it’s fitting that the 2018 furnishing trends address the outdoor lifestyle experience.
“Whether enclosed or open-air, outdoor spaces have come into their own as legitimate rooms in American homes,” said Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance and executive director of its outdoor division, the International Casual Furnishings Association. “Today’s outdoor rooms have it all – somewhere to dine, to relax and be entertained – with furnishings that function like they would for any room in the home and with style and flair that distinctly fits outdoors.”
Dining tables and chairs top many people’s outdoor shopping lists this year, followed by lounge chairs, lighting, fire pits, umbrellas and sofas. Leading the list of trends in the dynamic dining category is ultra-comfortable seating and a wide variety of table options.
Extra-large dining tables are popular for entertaining groups and al fresco dining. Yet manufacturers understand not everyone has a large outdoor space, so they also offer selections for small spaces, including dining sets suitable for apartment- and condo-size balconies, as well as sizes in-between.
The research also shows 68 percent of people use outdoor spaces several times a week in seasonally appropriate weather. Comfort, spaciousness and style were the most important factors in encouraging people to spend more time outdoors, which is why deep-seated chairs with high backs for relaxed comfort rank high on wish lists.
Often accompanying these group seating options are fire tables or pits, which continue to increase in popularity, according to the survey.
“We are seeing that fire of some sort for outdoors is topping many consumers’ wish lists again this year,” Hirschhaut said. “You just can’t beat a fire element for creating ambience.”
Much like spaces indoors, outdoor rooms are leaning more toward mixing rather than matching, both in individual pieces and in groups of pieces. To help meet this trend, try looking for pieces that incorporate several different elements such as aluminum, wicker and teak, as well as groups that pair, for example, wicker seating with iron or wood tables.
On the color spectrum, the survey found that after years of brown as a dominant color, shades of gray are increasingly peeking through as a more popular finish.
For more tips and information about creating a stylish outdoor living space, visit icfanet.org.
Photo courtesy of O.W. LeeSOURCE:
International Casual Furnishings Association
Over time, the appearance and function of any outdoor space can dull due to combinations of heat, precipitation and use. With some careful attention, you can quickly spruce up your outdoor living areas and get them back in great working order for patio season.
Spruce Up Your Outdoor Spaces
(Family Features) Over time, the appearance and function of any outdoor space can dull due to combinations of heat, precipitation and use. With some careful attention, you can quickly spruce up your outdoor living areas and get them back in great working order for patio season.
Take Care of Textiles
Declare Dust Off-Limits
Freshen Up Finishes
Blast Away Grime
When cleaning these surfaces, it’s important to find a power washer that can cut through the grime and rinse it away. In addition to gas-powered options, Briggs & Stratton offers a full line of electric pressure washers to help you tackle light-duty outdoor cleaning projects around the house. Some models, like the S1800, feature a turbo nozzle to give you the ability to blast away grime up to 40 percent faster than with a standard spray tip. When that power is combined with an onboard detergent tank, you can eliminate outdoor grime quickly and efficiently, so you can get back to enjoying your outdoor living space.
Getting started is simple. Just turn on the washer and begin with a rinse setting to loosen dirt and debris. Next, use the soap nozzle to apply the detergent in the tank. You may want to let the detergent sit for especially grimy areas, depending on the detergent’s directions for use. Rinse thoroughly and repeat the process if needed.
7 Safety Tips for Operating a Pressure Washer
As with any power equipment, it’s important to know how to operate a pressure washer safely and correctly. Even if you’ve had your unit for a while, it’s a good idea to refresh yourself on how to use it properly before you get started on your outdoor to-do list.
1. Dress for the task. Wear indirect-vented (chemical splash) goggles for eye protection and a pair of closed-toe shoes such as sneakers or boots.
2. Before getting started, be sure to remove all electronics, cords and wires, and place them safely away from water.
3. Perform routine maintenance. Prior to each use, check the oil level and top off if low. Check the water screens to ensure they can freely move water. Inspect hoses and couplings; if they are cracked or brittle, replace them.
4. Know your equipment and where it can or can’t be used. Never operate your gas pressure washer indoors or in enclosed structures. When operating a gas pressure washer, use it outdoors away from occupied spaces to prevent a potentially deadly buildup of carbon monoxide.
5. When operating a gas pressure washer, know the signs of potential carbon monoxide poisoning (dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea or irregular breathing), and if you experience these symptoms get to fresh air right away and seek medical attention.
6. Always point the nozzle in a safe direction. Never operate a pressure washer near small children or pets.
7. Before storing, relieve the pressure in the system. Also run a cycle of water through the machine to eliminate any detergent residue and give the unit time to cool down before storing.
The Powers of a Pressure Washer
A pressure washer can provide up to 75 times more cleaning power than a standard hose for deep cleaning. They are ideal tools to clean the following areas:
Find more cleaning solutions and a limited-availability discount code for a S1800 electric power washer at Briggsandstratton.com/OutdoorCleaning.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (empty patio furniture)SOURCE:
Briggs & Stratton
If cooler weather has you longing for sunny days outdoors, take heart. Once spring rolls around, you can safely begin the annual cleanup to prepare your yard for months of warm-weather enjoyment. Start by evaluating your lawn with these tips.
Spring into Lawn and Garden Care
(Family Features) If cooler weather has you longing for sunny days outdoors, take heart. Once spring rolls around, you can safely begin the annual cleanup to prepare your yard for months of warm-weather enjoyment.
Start by evaluating your lawn. Look for bald spots where grass has grown sparsely and needs reseeding, or uneven areas that may need to be filled and leveled.
Before you take steps to correct any problems, you’ll need a clean slate. Clear the yard of any leaves, rocks or sticks that may have accumulated then cut the grass as short as you can. Use a thatching rake to remove dead roots and grass. Break up the soil in bare spots to create an environment that will be hospitable to new seed. Add lawn soil to level the surface.
You’ll also need to apply an herbicide to treat weed-infested areas. Allow the weed killer to work for about a week then rake again to remove dead weeds.
Then you’re ready to over-seed or spot seed, depending on your lawn’s needs. Your climate will determine the best grass variety for your yard. Be sure to select and apply a fertilizer that is consistent with your grass type and water thoroughly to promote deep root growth, which can help your lawn withstand extreme conditions as temperatures rise.
Your lawn isn’t the only part of your yard that needs attention during the spring months, though. Your garden and flower beds may need some care before they, too, are ready to burst with new bounty and color.
Begin by clearing your garden and beds of any debris like leaves and other matter that piled up during months of neglect. Gently turn the soil and work in fresh fertilizer.
Before your plants and flowers are in full-growth mode is the ideal time to make repairs. Check edging for any damage, replace rotted woodwork and complete any other maintenance tasks.
As for the plants, prune before the first buds sprout to minimize stress. You can also start indoor seeds, and early spring is the time to divide perennials and plant some hardier vegetables, such as onions and potatoes.
The warmer months may still seem far away, but getting some of your lawn and garden care underway now can make those warmer, sunny days feel closer in no time. Find more seasonal tips for prepping your yard at eLivingToday.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Timing can be everything, especially when it comes to planning an outdoor living space. By getting a jump-start on planning, you can afford yourself time to complete the process with maximum creativity and minimal stress. Try these expert tips and tricks of the trade to help make your dream deck a reality.
Deck Design 101
Tips for planning a perfect outdoor oasis
(Family Features) Timing can be everything, especially when it comes to planning an outdoor living space. By getting a jump-start on planning, you can afford yourself time to complete the process with maximum creativity and minimal stress.
Try these expert tips and tricks of the trade to help make your dream deck a reality.
Lay a Solid Foundation
Get the Right Tools
Choose the Right Materials
Add Safety and Style with Railings
Incorporate Personal Touches with Accessories
For more inspiration and tips for designing your dream deck, visit Trex.com.
Designing your outdoor space
Before any work can get done on the deck of your dreams, designing comes first. It’s important to have a plan in mind before diving in so that you have a vision of what you want your deck to become.
For example, you might envision your deck as a spacious place to host family and friends with room to mingle, while others may prefer a small, quiet space for reading a book or enjoying the peace of the outdoors. Different sizes, shapes, colors and other factors can all have an outsized impact on the final look of your deck, so take all factors into account before getting started.
Try these starting points for the ultimate deck design:
Choose a Deck Plan
Choose Your Color
Frame Your Space
The arrival of milder temperatures means dining al fresco, hosting neighborhood cookouts and enjoying intimate cocktail parties under the stars. When creating a backyard oasis, make your space both inviting and able to withstand the wear and tear of warm-weather fun. The outdoor living experts at Trex, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing, suggest the following tips.
Create Inviting Outdoor Spaces
(Family Features) The arrival of milder temperatures means dining al fresco, hosting neighborhood cookouts and enjoying intimate cocktail parties under the stars. When creating a backyard oasis, make your space both inviting and able to withstand the wear and tear of warm-weather fun.
The outdoor living experts at Trex, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing, suggest the following tips:
Check your deck
Unlike wood, high-performance composites resist fading, staining, scratching and mold – and won’t rot, warp, crack or splinter. Upkeep is hassle-free with no sanding, staining or painting required and food and drink spills wash off easily with soap and water.
“Who wants an outdoor space that they have to spend more time maintaining than enjoying? For me, composite decking is a no-brainer,” said celebrity deck designer Paul Lafrance of HGTV’s acclaimed “Decked Out” series. “It delivers all the beauty and aesthetics of wood without the back-breaking and time-consuming upkeep.”
Food and drink stations – arguably the most crucial element of a party – should be prominent and accessible to guests. And don’t forget a kid-friendly zone with games, such as corn hole, badminton and ladder ball, and other activities to help keep children entertained.
Frame your space
Let there be light
Stock up on storage
Don’t forget the finishing touches
“Thanks to advances in all-weather materials, furnishings and accessories, you can outfit an outdoor living space in much the same way that you would any room in the home,” Lafrance said.
For more outdoor living ideas and inspiration, visit Trex.com.
While planning a new outdoor living space can be overwhelming, chances are there’s a home improvement retailer nearby that offers an abundance of resources to help you tackle virtually any project. If a DIY deck project is on your to-do list, these tips can help you navigate the aisles like a pro.
Tips for Tackling a DIY Deck Project
(Family Features) While planning a new outdoor living space can be overwhelming, chances are there’s a home improvement retailer nearby that offers an abundance of resources to help you tackle virtually any project. If a DIY deck project is on your to-do list, these tips can help you navigate the aisles like a pro.
Do your homework. Get started by perusing retailer websites to learn about their product offerings and services. Then visit manufacturer websites for more information and to compare aesthetics and performance. Research your options and decide what materials and styles make the most sense for your lifestyle and preferences. For instance, if you are looking to spend more time enjoying your deck than maintaining it, you may consider a high-performance composite material, like Trex. Unlike wood, composite decking won’t rot, warp, crack or splinter, and resists fading, scratching and mold.
Take advantage of retailer resources. After you’ve decided on a preferred material, your local big-box retailer can help you obtain additional information, design ideas and product samples. To help get you on your way, lowes.trex.com can help you explore the decking and railing collections available through Lowe’s. In addition to perusing an array of decking options, you also can preview designer-curated railing pairings. Once you find a combination that suits your outdoor space, you can download the materials list to better guide your in-store experience.
Explore the store. Once you have determined the direction of your project and narrowed down your product preferences, orient yourself with the store landscape so you can navigate the merchandise in an order that correlates with your project. It may be easiest to start with decking materials in the lumber aisle and then move to railings, which can typically be found in an adjacent aisle or on an end-cap display. Pay close attention to signage and look carefully for logos to make sure you’re finding the brand you want.
Ask an associate. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The staff at your local retailer can provide tips to help you successfully navigate your project and the store. For instance, if the materials you are looking for aren’t on the shelves, many options are available via special order. Typically, an associate can arrange for the product you want to arrive in-store in about 10 days. Most stores also offer assistance with installation.
When planning and building, the one-stop convenience of a big-box retailer makes it possible to construct a customized deck with confidence and without stress. Visit lowes.trex.com for more tips, tools and information on decking materials.SOURCE:
City dwellers often think gardening is only for those who live in suburbs or rural communities, but planting an urban garden can be easy. Whether you are planting a garden for yourself or for your family, you can do your part to create a more sustainable and green future with these simple steps.
10 Tips for Urban Gardening
(Family Features) City dwellers often think gardening is only for those who live in suburbs or rural communities, but planting an urban garden can be easy. Whether you are planting a garden for yourself or your family, you can do your part to create a more sustainable and green future.
These simple steps recommended by Arjan Stephens, executive vice president at Nature’s Path Organic Foods, can help you on your way to greening your thumb and the planet:
Grab your container, select your seeds and see how beautiful, nutritious and delicious your results could be. Find more details about Gardens for Good and urban gardening at naturespath.com.SOURCE:
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