According to the calendar, summer is almost over. But if you live in a warm or moderate part of the country, it doesn’t have to mean that outdoor living is finished for the year. As long as the sun is shining, there’s no reason not to enjoy your beautiful back yard with family and friends.
The first step is to make sure your lawn stays healthy and looking good after the stress of summer. A thriving green lawn is not only a beautiful sight and the perfect backdrop to outdoor dining and entertaining, it also makes a major contribution to a healthy environment. On a daily basis, a 50-by-50 foot green space releases enough oxygen for a family of four. Not only that, but it purifies the air by absorbing carbon dioxide as well as trapping and breaking down pollutants.
To maintain itself in top condition to do all those wonderful things, your lawn needs a way to open up and receive nutrients and adequate hydration. In other words, just like your body, your lawn needs a way to “breathe.”
What Is Lawn Aeration?
It’s the process of loosening the soil to let oxygen in. By punching small holes all over the lawn, plugs of turf, thatch, and soil are removed, letting your grass breathe easier. These plugs break down and feed nutrients back to your lawn’s root system as they decompose naturally over two to four weeks.
Does My Lawn Need It?
You can tell if your lawn would benefit from aeration by digging up an inconspicuous square foot section that’s about six inches deep. If the grass roots reach no further than a couple of inches into the soil, it’s time to aerate. Heavy clay and compacted soils are the most likely targets, but a sloping lawn can also use aeration to help watering absorb rather than run off.
How Do I Do It?
The best way is with a gas-powered machine called a lawn aerator that creates evenly-spaced “pores” in the ground. The machine is heavy and bulky, though, so while you can rent one at a garden center, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you hire a professional lawn care service for the job. It generally only needs to be done once a year.
Now on to the fun. Here are some great ways to enjoy your gorgeous outdoor space through the coming months:
Celebrate Nature’s Bounty With a Harvest-Themed Party
It doesn’t matter if the nearest apple orchard is two states over. Create a menu that includes the beautiful fruits and vegetables of the season, and decorate with tall bunches of wheat sheaves you can find inexpensively at a craft store.
Use hay bales for seating, and light up a fire pit or fire bowl to take the nip out of the air when the sun goes down. If you’ve got enough space, you could even arrange for square dancing and a caller to make it a real country hoe-down.
Tailgate in the Backyard
Make a big pot of chili and rev up the barbecue for a traditional tailgate party in the comfort of your own backyard. Set up some activities for the kids and the hardcore football fans can turn their attention to the game. Lucky you if you’ve already got a TV installed outside or if your family TV is situated so that you can move or turn it to face the party.
But there are other options including HDMI cables, and sending a wireless signal to your TV from a computer, tablet, smartphone, or Blu-ray player. Don’t wait ‘til the morning of the party to test out the system or hot dogs may not be the only thing being roasted.
Host a Pre-Halloween Party
This year Halloween is on a Monday, so the weekend before is perfect for having friends and neighbors come over to make their own jack-o-lanterns. Bring in a load of pumpkins and supply carving tools. As soon as the pumpkin innards have been spooned out, toast the seeds for munching. You could ask everyone try out their October 31 costumes, too, with prizes for young and old.
Above all, keep it simple so you can enjoy your own gathering. Easy recipes for lots of favorite fall dishes abound on the web, and you can find lots of inspiration pictures for fall entertaining here.