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CARSON ARTHUR: Shopping tips for newbie homeowners


You can get water to your lawn and your plants in many different ways. A mistake most new homeowners make is thinking that one style of sprinkler is all they really need for both grass and flowers.
You can get water to your lawn and your plants in many different ways. A mistake most new homeowners make is thinking that one style of sprinkler is all they really need for both grass and flowers. - Carson Arthur

I walked into my local Home Hardware recently and found an explosion of products in the seasonal aisles. There seems to be more products than ever, which is very exciting for all the homeowners out there who, like me, look forward to getting outside and doing some gardening and yard work.

While I was there, I ran into a young couple that had recently purchased a new home. They knew me from TV and asked if I could help. The amount of tools and new products on the shelves is exciting for me, but can get completely overwhelming for someone just starting out. I thought I would share the nuggets of advice I gave them in case there are a few other people in the same boat.

Sprinklers

There are a lot of sprinklers out there. Basically, you can get water to your lawn and your plants in many different ways. A mistake most new homeowners make is thinking that one style of sprinkler is all they really need for both grass and flowers. I am a fan of using two different styles. For my lawn, I go with the clapping style of sprinkler, the one that makes the rhythmical tap-tap-tap sound as the jet of water from the hose hits the plate. This style is perfect for creating larger water droplets, which means less evaporation and more moisture actually getting to the roots of the plants. For the garden, I use a sprinkler style that gives me several watering patterns. This way you can adjust the distribution based on the shape of the bed and avoid watering things like the driveway and the side of the house.

Grass seed

The grass seed wall can also be scary for newbies. At my Home Hardware I counted more than 20 brands and varieties of grass in every combination possible for any type of yard. I can see how choosing the right ones would be tough for even an experienced gardener. One trick that I always use when trying to narrow down the options is to look at the list of contents on the back of the bag. I like choosing blends of seed that contain several different types of grass in the mix. Blended seeds tend to do better because each of the types of grass in the bag has different growing habits, making the whole mix better suited to a variety of situations. Insects and grubs will prefer one type of grass root versus another. By using a blended seed mix, you may lose the growth from one variety, but there are usually two other types in the bag that will happily fill the gap.

Take your time

My final bit of advice, take your time learning about your own space. Take advantage of the experts in the stores and pay close attention to the tips they give you. Looking after the outdoors is often confusing and asking an expert is just a smart thing to do.

Oh, and always buy when it’s triple Aeroplan miles days ... I have been waiting to buy some new decor items for the patio to earn a ton of miles to get me on my next vacation. Now I have a perfect yard and the right furniture for all of my entertaining this summer. That’s just a win-win on every level. Who could ask for more?

Carson Arthur is an international landscape designer and media personality with a focus on environmentally friendly design and low maintenance outdoor rooms.

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