You have been scrolling through gardening blogs and tearing out pictures from magazines, collecting ideas that will refresh the look of your outdoor living space. Lush plantings and meandering pathways, a front-gate arbor with climbing roses, a formal courtyard with a water feature are all on the table. Perhaps you have your heart set on an outdoor kitchen and covered patio? The good news is that thinking about your outdoor space, and determining how you want to use it, is the first step to making a change—whether your project is large or small. The not-so-good news is that implementing those ideas is not always as easy as it seems, and it can, in fact, be quite overwhelming when you get beyond the research phase. When it comes to really getting started, many homeowners wonder if it is worth it to hire a landscape designer or if it makes more sense … Read Full Post »
Maybe you spotted some strange, tiny holes in your drywall or baseboards, close to where the wall meets the floor. Or perhaps you knocked on the wall on a spot you thought was solid, and oddly enough, it sounded hollow. Each of these signs could be an indication that you could have termites living—and feeding—inside your walls. However, these aren’t the only signs.
If you wonder if you might have termites, take a closer look around to see if you can spot any of the following:
- Faint lines on drywall along areas where termites are tunneling
- Wood that seems hollow when you tap on it with a screwdriver
- Bubbling or peeling paint
- Small pinholes where termites have eaten through your drywall
- Baseboards that crumble under slight pressure
- Jammed windows or doors
- Buckling wood
- Discolored drywall
While there are visible clues of termite activity, keep in mind that the subterranean variety, the type that is responsible for a reported $1.5 billion … Read Full Post »
Living in Texas means dealing with blistering heat during the summer months and, let’s face it, often during the spring and fall as well. Many regions in the state also face harsh weather conditions in the winter, which means any Texas yard or garden must be as hardy as Texas homeowners themselves. This is why landscaping with drought tolerant Texas plants has become so popular in landscape design.
In addition, due to the size of our state, not every plant is adapted to every area. Depending on where you’re located, here are a few options for drought resistant plants that will thrive in your yard:
- Central Texas: Black and blue sage, pink salvia, oregano, carpet rose, mint and rosemary.
- North Texas: Hot lips salvia, lamb’s ear, rock rose, Mexican bush sage, beautyberry and St. John’s wort.
- South Texas: German red carnation, yarro, oxblood lily, Mexican heather, indigo spires salvia and firebush.
- East Texas: Baby’s breath, … Read Full Post »
As the temperature starts to warm up and the first signs of spring appear, homeowners quickly turn their attention to their yards, as many grasses and plants go dormant during the cooler months of the year. When considering your landscaping, spring cleanup can consist of:
- Clearing all debris, including dead leaves, fallen branches, pet waste and other clutter.
- Planning your mowing, fertilizing and watering schedule, or signing up for a lawn service to take over these regular tasks for you.
- Dethatching any dead roots or leaves in your lawn that may prevent your newly growing plants from getting the nutrients they need.
- Pruning trees and shrubs to encourage healthy growth.
- Take a blower to patios and decks to get all dust and other particles off of your commonly used spaces
- Giving your lawn and landscaping some breathing room by planning to aerate.
- Re-edging your flower beds.
- Beginning a regular watering and weeding routine to encourage new growth of … Read Full Post »
As summer draws to a close and fall begins, a big part of your lawn maintenance will involve getting ahead of the winter weeds. As your grass becomes dormant, it’s important to take steps to prevent heartier varieties of weeds from taking hold once colder temperatures set in. Being able to identify the different types of winter weeds in Texas can help you identify and get rid of any of these unsightly plants before they take over your lawn.
The most common winter weeds us Texans have to look out for are chickweed, henbit and annual bluegrass.
Chickweed isn’t just a weed; it’s also an edible plant. This species actually got its name because chicks, as well as other foul, love to eat it. However, unless you have chickens who will keep this weed from spreading across your lawn, you’ll want to control this bothersome plant as quickly as you can.
Chickweed is … Read Full Post »
Plenty of homeowners have experienced the unpleasant shock of discovering unsightly holes, torn-up turf and piles of dirt scattered around the yard that seemed to appear while they were sleeping. If this has happened to you, you probably immediately wondered what is digging up your lawn at night.
Raccoons and skunks are two common grub-eating nocturnal culprits for digging in yards. Skunks tend to make shallow holes with loosened soil, while raccoons can actually use their front paws to pull up chunks of sod and flip them over to find whatever delicious food might lie beneath. Rabbits are burrowing animals that have also been known to dig holes in yards, and they have a better chance of doing so undetected at night. In addition, there are other animals that are active during the day, including squirrels, that might damage your lawn, and you may not discover the problem until the following … Read Full Post »
The holiday season is a magical time of year here in Houston. The city becomes transformed—even before Thanksgiving—and the excitement in the air is almost palpable. Many residents and their loved ones visiting from other places enjoy attending seasonal events and looking at all of the Christmas lights in Houston and the surrounding communities, and 2019 has more options than ever to choose from.
It can be a challenge to keep track of everything going on—especially when you’re trying to find time to decorate your own home and attend to a long list of to-dos. With the help of this guide, you can plan your holiday season so that you can enjoy beloved local traditions and create new opportunities to make special memories.
Best Christmas Lights Events To Ring In The Season
Part of the fun of the holidays is seeing the sparkling lights all over town, and we’re lucky to have so … Read Full Post »
After checking your sticky traps for roaches, you may have noticed an odd phenomenon—roach legs are stuck on the trap, but the body is nowhere to be found. You don’t have any pets who could’ve eaten the pest, so maybe you have another creature in your home. This begs the question: Do mice eat roaches?
If you have ever wondered this, you aren’t alone, as homeowners who either experience this same phenomenon or those who spot these uninvited critters around their homes, garages or other areas of their property have asked themselves the same thing. After all, if mice feed on roaches, having mice around might not be all that bad.
The simple answer to the question of whether mice eat roaches is yes. A typical mouse diet can include cockroaches, both German and American varieties. Rats also happily dine on various species of cockroach, both large and small. Mice have even … Read Full Post »
Due to its ability to withstand high temperatures and droughts, many homeowners choose St. Augustine grass for their yard. However, there are still quite a few St. Augustine grass problems that homeowners can find themselves confronted with. Fungi, chinch bugs and weeds are a few of the most common issues that can result in brown patches, uneven grass and dead spots that are unsightly and may require the assistance of a lawn professional to resolve.
Let’s examine each of these lawn conditions in a bit more depth.
The main types of fungus that affect St. Augustine grass are:
- Take-all root rot (Gaeumannomyces graminis)
- Brown patch, also known as large patch (Rhizoctonia solani)
- Anthracnose (Colletotrichum graminicolais)
- Nigrospora stolon rot (Nigrospora sphaerica)
While drought and other factors can cause take-all root rot any time of the year, homeowners should look out for symptoms in the fall and spring months. The tops of the grass impacted by this fungus turn … Read Full Post »
Wondering about how to keep raccoons off your roof? If so, you certainly aren’t alone. Even if these nuisance animals didn’t carry disease or cause significant property damage, raccoons would still cause homeowners considerable trouble and annoyance, thanks to their ability to break into garbage bins and scatter trash everywhere in search of a meal. Thanks to the mess they make, the extensive damage they are capable of and their potential for spreading disease, raccoons are an unwelcome presence for almost any homeowner.
While hiring a pest control professional is the most effective and time-efficient method of keeping these critters off your roof, there are a few do-it-yourself tricks you can try before calling in the big guns:
- Trim the trees around your home so the raccoons don’t have an easy pathway from your surrounding trees to your roof.
- Keep vines and other plants that are growing up your home’s exterior short so … Read Full Post »