How’s that yard in Springfield or Burke doing this year? The weather is cooling; there’s a crispness to the air. The leaves are changing, and it’s a beautiful time to be outdoors. This is why Fall is the best time to enjoy your family’s yard. Yards are a great place to de-stress and have fun while sheltering at home during the current health crisis, too.
New research from a team at the United Kingdom’s University of Exeter and the Royal Horticultural Society, a U.K. charity, has found that having access to a yard or garden improves people’s health and well-being if they actively make use of it, so spending time in your family yard is actually scientifically-proven to be important for those seeking creative ways to stay healthy while remaining close to home.
“Our findings suggest that whilst being able to access an outdoor space, such as a garden or yard, is important, using that space is what really leads to benefits for health and well-being,” said Dr. Siân de Bell, of the University of Exeter Medical School and lead author of the aforementioned study.
People who both relaxed in their yard and did some gardening experienced the best results. So you won’t be surprised to find that yard work provides several benefits as well. Not only does yard work offer excellent exercise, but activities done in the Fall to maintain your yard will also prepare your yard to be ready for a beautiful Spring.
Here are four things you can do to have a fabulous family yard this Fall… and farther:
Remove Leaves: A layer of dead leaves can invite pests and diseases including molding grass and dead patches. Leaves also prevent nutrients from reaching and keeping your grass green and healthy. If left long enough, leaves may prevent new grass from even growing in properly or at all. But raking and bagging is time-consuming and not much fun. Instead, mulch your leaves. As shredded leaves decompose, they feed your lawn, naturally.
Aerate: Aerating prevents soil from becoming compacted and covered with thatch – a thick layer of roots, stems, and debris that blocks water, oxygen, and nutrients from reaching the soil. Core aerate your lawn if the soil is compacted or there is a half an inch of thatch or more. This increases the moisture, oxygen, and nutrients reaching the grass roots while providing space for the thatch to decompose.
Mow at the Right Height: Experts suggest to mow high and often with sharp mower blades. Taller grass forms deeper roots, making them more drought tolerant, pest resistant, and better able to out-compete the weeds. Also, don’t collect them, but instead leave clippings on the lawn. Short clippings break down quickly adding moisture, organic matter, and nutrients to the soil. This is also a money saver! A season’s worth of clippings equals one fertilizer application. A properly fertilized lawn means less weeds, fewer pests, and a better looking landscape.
Water Wisely: If you’re not getting at least an inch of water a week from Mother Nature, you’ll want to keep watering through the Fall. Proper watering encourages a deeper and better established root system and a thicker stand of grass that’s better able to out-compete weeds. Water during the early morning hours to minimize water loss from evaporation and disease caused by wet leaves at night. Install watering solutions, such as smart controllers on irrigation systems, to help conserve water, if necessary.
Having a well-maintained and pleasing yard is not just about aesthetics. It also serves a few important functions, both for your family’s health and lifestyle and for the environment. Your family’s yard offers a place for children and pets to play and for the entire family to enjoy the outdoors. The green space’s benefits also include improved mood, increased fitness levels, and stress reduction.
We are enjoying our yards and private gardens more than ever. We now know that these spaces offer more than curb appeal — landscaping your yard is a good investment in your property as well as your personal and family well-being. Lawns provide many immediate perks as well as long-term benefits, so it’s safe to say that you will get out of it what you have put into it, and perhaps even more.