Sign Up for a Lawn Serv Subscription Box
Learning how to care for your yard properly usually involves some trial and error, but the Lawn Serv subscription box takes out some of the guesswork. After you specify the size of your yard and send in a soil sample, each month you’ll receive a box of products tailored to your region's climate and the results of the soil analysis, all custom designed to help you get the most out of your yard. Available at LawnServ.com; from $29/month.
Get the John Deere Easy Change System
After every winter it’s the same old story: Before you can get going on the grass, you need to deal with the annoyance of having to change the oil in the lawn mower. Now that task has gotten easier, thanks to the John Deere Easy Change 30-Second Oil Change System. To change out the old filter and replace the oil in 100 Series lawn tractors from John Deere (including the E130), you just have to twist out the old cartridge and twist in the new; no draining of the old oil is required! Available at The Home Depot; $40.
Enable the Troy-Bilt Option on Google Home or Alexa
If you rely on Alexa or Google Home to tell you the weather and adjust the lighting, why not enlist them to help with lawn care as well? Enable the Troy-Bilt option on Alexa or Google Home, and your digital assistant will help you determine when to mow, based on the local weather and your busy schedule (which Alexa or Google Home already know).
Insert a Tree Spike at the Base of a Tree
There’s no easier way to deliver nutrients to a tree than by hammering in a fertilizer spike at the base twice a year (once in spring and once in fall). The spikes, which are about six inches long, will dissolve into the ground before it's time to hammer in another one. Available on Amazon; $10.
Get the Planta App
Have you killed more than your fair share of plants? Download the Planta app to get individualized reminders on how often to water your plants, guidelines on how to care for them, and recommendations for plants to purchase based on your gardening skill level (no judgment if you can only handle succulents). Available on iTunes; free.
Install Solar Lights to Illuminate the Garden
Set Up a Rain Barrel in Your Yard
Download the Sun Seeker App
One of the most important considerations in selecting a site for a new plant is whether the plant will get the right amount of sunlight. You could stand in your yard for several hours and note the amount of sun a particular spot receives—or instead, you could download the Sun Seeker app, which tells you seasonal sunlight hours and can help you figure out what areas of your yard are prime for planting. Available on iTunes; $9.99.
Take Note of What Needs to Be Done
If you're overwhelmed by the number of projects you're facing in the garden, have you ever actually written down a list of what needs to be done? Take a moment to walk through your yard and garden and make a physical list of tasks that need to be tackled. Doing this will help you manage the work, figure out the best order of attack, and give you the satisfaction of checking off each task as you complete it.
Assemble a Butterfly Feeder
If you want your garden to look spectacular, you’re going to need some assistance from pollinators like butterflies. Make or buy a butterfly feeder for your yard (there are plenty of ideas online) that will attract fluttery friends to your garden to pollinate the flowers and beautify the landscape with their own dazzling colors.
Check the Undersides of Leaves for Pests
From a distance, your plants may appear healthy and strong, but pests like aphids and mealybugs can lurk underneath your plants’ leaves, sucking up sap and nectar, weakening the plant, and causing the leaves to yellow and drop. Every so often, take a minute to check for unwanted pests beneath the leaves so you can formulate a plan before it’s too late.
Hang Soap to Deter Pests
Did you know that the smell of soap can be unpleasant to rabbits, deer, and mice? Try placing bars of soap in mesh bags or stockings and hanging them from trees, bushes, and fences near the plants you want to protect. Don't, however, hang them on or directly over those plants; they could be harmed if the soap drips on them.
Stick a Dr.meter in the Ground
It can be hard to know when it's time to water, especially when the weather has been particularly unpredictable. Insert a Dr.meter moisture sensor in the soil next to a fussy plant and get an accurate reading that can help you determine when to water, which will save money, time, and, of course, your plant. Available on Amazon; $21.
Keeping your lawn and garden happy doesn't have to take a lot of time.
Whether you're a lawn care novice or a master gardener, everyone can use a little help around the yard. Subscribe to The Dirt newsletter for tips, recommendations, and problem-solving tools that can help you tame your great outdoors.