Now that the little ones are on summer vacation, you might be desperately searching for ways to keep them busy – and happy. You probably aren’t surprised to learn that the best solution for keeping kids out of your hair is to get them out of your house.
However, you can’t send your kids into a desiccated yard and expect them to have wholesome, safe fun. It isn’t too late to prep your yard for exciting summer activities. This guide will help you fly through necessary seasonal yardwork so you and your little ones can both enjoy the summer ahead.
Start With Your Lawn
Lawns aren’t easy to take care of, but they are so worth having. Even ignoring the environmental benefits (the purified water, the lower temperatures, the cleaner air), the recreational benefits of a healthy lawn are nearly endless. Therefore, it’s imperative you attend your grass before attempting any other yard prep. Here are the essential steps to proper lawn maintenance:
- Rake. Raking is most important in late fall, before the snow falls, but you should keep an eye on debris year-round, to ensure your lawn’s thatch doesn’t grow too thick and suffocate the grass’s roots.
- Aerate. Every spring and fall, you should poke holes into your turf using a pitchfork, an ice pick, or some other aeration tool. This helps the grass breathe and allows water and other nutrients to seep into the soil.
- Fertilize. The key with fertilizing is timing: You don’t want to feed your lawn when it is too hot or too cold. If you are still a few weeks away from your hottest summer temperature, you still have time to fertilize. Otherwise, you should wait for fall.
- Water. Lawns do best with regular watering, which means you need to use your sprinklers. Unfortunately, sprinkler systems can be finicky, so you might need to call in sprinkler repair after a long winter of disuse.
Keep out Pests
Bugs, rodents, reptiles, and other critters can ruin summer fun in no time. All it takes is a single bite or sting – or just the sight of a rat – and you’ll have your little ones dashing inside for good. Plus, you shouldn’t spend your summer worrying about diseases like Zika, rabies, lime, West Nile, or the plague. Instead, your children are pests enough, so here are some tips to keep your yard pest-free:
- Insects. You can treat your lawn and garden with pesticides, or you can plant natural pesticides. Fragrant herbs and flowers like mint, basil, lemongrass, and marigolds tend to keep mosquitoes away, but they tend to attract less irksome bugs, like ladybugs and bees.
- Rodents. First, you should avoid making your yard an inviting place for rats, rabbits, and other rodents. Then, you can sprinkle predator urine (available at most home improvement stores) around your yard – or invest in a dog or cat to chase the critters away.
- Reptiles. Snakes and lizards like to hide in clutter, so cleaning up your yard is a good step toward reptile-free fun. Also by ridding your area of insects and rodents, you should be able to convince nearby reptiles to hunt somewhere else.
Cultivate Your Garden
It isn’t too late to plant a garden that will produce in time for fall harvest. Most children love projects that reward them over time; plus, gardens are a great way to show science in action, so your little ones can learn even on summer break. As long as you don’t tell your kids they’re doing yardwork, they’ll love helping you plant:
- Cucumbers. These tiny vines curl up trellises or string and produce whatever style of cucumber you want, from little picklers to long, fat slicers.
- Peppers. Maybe they get their flavor from their growing season. Peppers grow fast in hot weather, so you should have some spice in less than three months.
- Asparagus. Probably not your kids’ favorite veggie, asparagus grows year-round, making it a mainstay in most gardens.
- Daisies. Big, bright blooms of the Gloriosa daisy are perfect for the season, and they hold up well to heat.
- Marigolds. Not only do these gorgeous flowers ward off bugs, but they will remain dazzling in your garden throughout the summer.
Organize Outdoor Games and Sports
Now that your yard is clean, clear, and under control, you can finally enjoy it. If your little ones need some prompting to explore the outdoors, you should consider organizing a sports tournament for neighborhood kids or planning a barbecue with plenty of other children in attendance. This is the season to enjoy your outside spaces – and you certainly worked hard enough to wildly enjoy them.
Tell me how do you start preparing your yard for summer??