Local News and Information Archives for 2021-04
April Outdoor Improvement List
With spring’s warmer weather and more daylight, you may be itching to get outdoors. Wondering what you should be doing now in your yard, flowerbeds and outdoor areas? Here’s a handy list to help.
Yard and Landscaping-
“Do not plant annuals until after April 15, we always get one more cold snap before then,” warns HBAGC board member and Home and Lawn Care Services owner Marty Hilliard. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, she is right as it predicts our last frost this year to be April 8 calculated using 1981-2010 climate normals.
To avoid pesky weeds later, Hilliard advises to be sure to put a preemergent or crab grass preventer on your lawn and ornamental beds now as well as a thick layer of mulch on your flower beds. She also recommends following up with a weed and seed in six to eight weeks.
Now is also the time to do your pruning, and cut back shrubs before they begin flushing. No, we are not referring to the restroom. Flushing in shrubs refers to the point in a flowering cycle when a plant is in full bloom. The period when all blossoms of a plant are open is called a flowering flush.
If all this sounds exhausting, perhaps you should consider hiring a professional landscaper. Why a professional? “Well for one, it saves your back,” laughs Hilliard, “But seriously, things that take a homeowner two weeks may take us a day. And you definitely help the local economy, which is very important after covid.”
However, do not expect to call now and get immediate service from a landscaping professional. Be patient if you have waited to the last minute, as most are scheduled six to eight weeks out now for installation. Hilliard recommends calling in January or February to get on their schedule. For design, the wait typically isn’t as long.
Now’s the time to clean up your outdoor furniture and get it ready for entertaining, too. Use a wire brush to clean off rust on your wrought iron furniture, then lightly sand, spray with a rust inhibitor and repaint. For teak, clean using a special cleanser, let dry then apply teak oil if you want to maintain the natural color.
April is a good time to clean your windows, too. Use a squeegee, and wipe it off after each pass. If you’d rather hire a professional, prices can start from as little as $100 for a small home.
To find a reputable window cleaner, landscaper or any home services professional in the Chattanooga area, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga’s membership directory at www.HBAGC.net.
Spring Home To-Do List
Spring is here, and warmer weather means checking off your home maintenance to-do list. Here are some items to cross off your list this spring.
Let’s start from the top, literally- Clear your gutters of leaves and debris, and inspect your roof for damaged or loose shingles and get those repaired. If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones. Any missing? Is there vegetation growing out of them? These are signs of water infiltration. Also, look for efflorescence, a white deposit that indicates your masonry joints are absorbing water.
Outdoor entertaining- Check your deck for splintered or loose boards and repair. Powerwash your patios and decks, and if you have a wood deck that is faded or worn, clean, stain and reseal it. Check grill hoses and clean the grill, and check the propane in your grills and outdoor heaters. For charcoal grillers, clean up any ash and grease residue.
Exterior- Check your exterior walls for damaged areas, water spots around eaves and gutters. Wash them and windows inside and out. Check caulking and weather stripping around your windows, and replace as needed. This will keep cool air from inside from escaping outside during hot summer months.
Interior- Now’s a great time to clean those areas we often overlook. Vacuum and flip your mattresses and wash your mattress covers to alleviate dust and allergens. Dust tops of cabinets, chair rails, baseboards, and ceiling fans. Have your drapes laundered and clean your blinds.
Change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and change your hvac filter. Check hvac hose connections for leaks, and make sure the drain pans are draining freely.
Fireplaces- HBAGC member John Fine of Fine’s Hearth and Patio has some excellent tips for fireplace owners. “For gas fireplaces we suggest turning off the pilot light for several reasons; by turning the pilot off you will lower gas consumption, reduce the need for a service call to clean the pilot because when a pilot is burning its constantly drawing in room air and accumulating household dust inside the pilot and if you leave the pilot light lit year round you are adding unwanted heat to the home,” says Fine.
“We also suggest removing batteries from the remote control and receiver to prevent corrosion over time.”
“For wood-burning fireplaces we suggest closing the damper to prevent the conditioned air in the home from escaping up the chimney. We also suggest removing all the unburned wood/ashes for the fireplace and having the chimney cleaned or inspected at the end of the burn season.”
Finally, “Spring is also a great time to have your fireplace serviced so it will be ready for when old man winter comes back again,” advises Fine.
For a list of qualified professionals to help with your spring maintenance, visit our membership directory at www.HBAGC.net.
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