Carson Arthur, Landscape designer and TV personality writes about how to tackle your outdoor spring clean-up. Carson sits very much in the green camp and encourages the use of non-toxic products and conserving water in our outdoor activities. Thanks for you contribution Carson!
When the warm weather arrives, every homeowner has an inventory of outside chores: cutting the lawn, weeding the garden, washing windows and cleaning the eaves are at the top of every list, including mine. This year however, I’m adding some new ‘must-do’ items to make the outdoors more enjoyable.
- Top dress the lawn. I’m taking top-dressing a step further and reseeding my entire lawn this spring! Every July when the hot weather hits, I have yellow patches in my grass. I’ve been told slugs or hot dry weather are the culprits. The truth is…most of our lawns are Kentucky Blue Grass which naturally goes dormant in the heat and but also needs a lot of water. By moving Canadians away from the ‘all consuming’ Kentucky Blue grass and into the rye grasses, we will see less water consumption but also less pesticides and fertilizers. Check out this new seed which I am a fan and spokesman for. I will add this grass seed, a rye fescue, because it stays green all season long and uses 30% less water. Do this by adding a 2-kilogram bag of seed to a 20-pound bag of top soil, mix them in a wheelbarrow, and spread across your existing grass. The ‘seed-to-soil’ contact is what makes this work!
Remove the Mold. As an allergy sufferer, getting rid of the mold that forms in damp, warm weather is extremely important. Washing the outdoor cushions is only one part of the equation. Mold can form on decks, furniture, siding and eaves troughs. I use a two-step process to effectively remove the mold. First I wash away all the surface dirt, grime and mildew with a product called Concrobium House & Deck wash. Not only is it safe around the plants, so I don’t have to cover all my shrubs, it doesn’t contain bleach so it won’t damage the deck. I also have old stains that are deep in the wood so the second step I take is to use Concrobium’s Mold Stain Eraser product that removes just the staining without damaging the wood. I also love that it doesn’t require any scrubbing. Now my siding is spotless, everything made of plastic looks new again and I can finally get rid of those mold spots on my wooden deck.
- Wash the Salt. I never use salt outside my home but it still gets tracked onto the path and driveway from city streets and sidewalks. Salt damage to plants and grass happens as the snow melts or as rain carries the deposits into the yard. This build up in the soil can be very damaging and can increase after every winter. One of the best ways to remove the salt from damaged areas is with a mild vinegar-water solution. A half teaspoon of white vinegar to one litre of water makes a great rinse for removing salt from concrete or asphalt. I use a stiff bristle boat mop to make the job quick and easy.
- Mulch Late! Mulching in the spring is very important but most people do it too early. I’ve always tried to mulch when the snow melts to conserve water by keeping the ground moist. Unfortunately, this slows growth in my gardens. Mulch acts as an insulator, protecting the plants from the elements. However, if you spread it before the soil is completely thawed the mulch keeps the ground colder for longer! The best time to mulch is when the ground is 5-7 degrees C. You can measure ground temperatures by completely burying a thermometer in a re-sealable bag.
Our time outside is short in Canada so everyone wants to be outside as much as possible. My tips will help keep your spaces looking their best all summer long!
About Carson: Carson Arthur started his television career as a behind-the-scenes prop coordinator for a national garden call-in show. Very quickly, Carson turned an opportunity to host his own show into a landscape design staple. With international coverage, Carson has become a voice of environmentally friendly landscape design on a global scale. By addressing outdoor challenges with a keen sense of style and a passion for eco-consciousness, Carson continues to reinvent the definition of gardening. With his first series, Room To Grow, Carson created inspired outdoor spaces for homeowners and taught a generation of viewers how to increase their own living spaces by expanding outside. Following on the heels of his first success, Green Force provided Carson with the opportunity to take on some of the largest challenges associated with urban living. Carson and his team travel throughout a large urban center and tackle some of the most depressing, under-utilized, and forgotten spaces around us turning them into parks and beautiful art installations while using environmentally friendly techniques and products.
Carson takes pride in where he lives and what he does. As the spokesperson for RTF WaterSaver Grass seed, PureRain North America, and Black and Decker Canada, Carson has made the most of his television career to date by being active in helping to develop a better understanding of green living within a social context. When not in the dirt; Carson stays busy building, planting, writing or designing as a featured guest on CityLine, Steven & Chris, and as a contributing writer for Wal-Mart’s upcoming retail magazine. Look for Carson as the newest guest expert for The Shopping Channel as he roles out amazing new products for the great outdoors in 2013. Carson is also now the outdoor expert for Better Homes and Gardens Dream Team.