Backyard Smart: How To Repair Lawn Bare Spots

Even if you have lush, green grass, you’re going to have to learn how to repair bare spots on your lawn. Follow the steps in this Backyard Smart video and you’ll be well on your way towards becoming a yard-of-the-month owner!

Lawn bare spots happen for a variety of reasons, and, when they do, seldom fix themselves. So, some intervention on your part is required.

But, all that’s required is a step-by-step approach with this guidance—and a little bit of elbow grease.

  1. Clear your lawn of invasive weeds, dead grass or thatch. To give your new grass a fighting chance, the soil underneath needs to live its best life, first and foremost.
  2. Use a good, heavy garden rake to loosen the soil two to three inches deep.
  3. If your soil’s dry, amend it with fresh topsoil to add a hearty mix of nutrients and grass-growing energy to the depleted ground.
  4. Rake a seed type that matches your grass type into the soil.
  5. Keep your re-seeded area moist for at least a few weeks before new growth will appear. It’s also important to wait a few more weeks before mowing to allow new grass to become established.

Follow these steps to

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Tips for Cleaning Your Toilet

A dirty toilet isn’t just unpleasant and embarrassing; it’s unsanitary. It’s important to routinely clean your toilet so it doesn’t constantly attract — and spread — germs.

The Importance of Toilet Maintenance

Developing countries need clean water and indoor plumbing to thrive — these are the basics that lead to sanitary living conditions and healthy outcomes.

But they’re just parts of the puzzle.

The rest of us are still vulnerable to airborne bacteria, even with the latest bathroom fixtures and plumbing. That’s because the systems themselves are not enough. Routine toilet cleaning and maintenance are necessary to prevent the spread of germs and ensure the toilet’s optimal performance.


Man's hand flushing a porcelain toilet
Before you flush the toilet, close the lid to prevent the spread of microscopic, airborne bacteria.

Did you know that simply flushing your toilet can propel microscopic germs into the air?

Bacteria such as E. coli, staphylococcus and streptococcus are such threats in public restrooms with lidless toilets that microbiologists recommend immediately exiting the stall after flushing to prevent direct exposure.

Avoiding toilet plume — an airborne mist that sends bacteria up to 6 feet from the toilet is easy enough in public restrooms – where you can quickly exit and

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Grass 101: What Grass Type is Best for Your Yard

A lush, beautiful lawn is possible practically anywhere you live. You just need to select the right type of grass.

As with any plant, the amount of water, sunlight and soil type play a big part in the success of your lawn.

What works for your neighbor might not work for you. How often you use your lawn and what it is used for is another consideration.

Picking the right grass does more than optimizing the chances of your yard looking good. It also helps you do what you want to do outside at home — while minimizing the amount of time, effort and money spent maintaining your lawn.

And, who doesn’t want that?

Turfgrass Types and Tips

There are two turfgrass types that are categorized by climate: cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses.

    • Cool-season grasses grow best in temperatures that fall between 60° and 70° and include grasses like fescue, Kentucky bluegrass and rye.
    • Warm-season grasses grow best in hot temperatures that reach 80-95° and include grasses like zoysia, St. Augustine, bahiagrass, centipede and Bermuda.
  • To determine the best grass to plant where you live, make sure you understand the growing zone that you live in.
  • If you experience cool
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10 Home Improvements You Must Tackle This Spring

Spring is the perfect time to tackle household chores ranging from AC maintenance and gutter cleaning to organizing and pressure washing. And, of course, there’s spring cleaning!

The 4 Seasons of Home Ownership is a curated collection of how-to videos, articles and tips to keep your home running smoothly throughout the year. Each season’s list includes 10 “must do” items, as well as some additional projects to take on as time and budget allow or if you want to do a little something extra.

Read the 4 Seasons of Home Ownership: Spring episode article to see how we helped a family tackle some springtime chores. Check out Sprucing Up Your Home’s Exterior for Spring for more info.

Or, read on for our top 10 spring chores list — and be sure to click each link for more information!

Spring Checklist

Top 10 Must Do

HVAC professional checking air conditioner

1. Have a professional service your A/C and heating systems


Spring leaves in gutters

2. ‘Spring clean’ all rain gutters and downspouts; make repairs, if necessary


Damaged window screen

3. Clean and repair window screens. Clean tracks and lubricate.


Man hammering a nail into an asphalt shingle on the roof
(DepositPhotos)

4. Check for loose or damaged roof shingles or flashing. Repair, if needed.


Dull garden tools that need sharpening
(DepositPhotos)

5. Sharpen spring gardening tools and inspect your wheelbarrow.

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19 Tips to Maintain Your Home This Winter Season

People spend 90 percent of their time indoors during the winter season, so tackling the chores on this checklist ensures healthy air and water quality throughout this period.

The 4 Seasons of Home Ownership is a curated collection of how-to videos, articles and tips to keep your home running smoothly throughout the year.

This winter checklist (which is applicable for seasonal chores from late December through late March) also focuses on making sure you and your home are prepared in case of severe winter weather.

snow blowing
Clean and oil your snowblower to keep it running efficiently this winter.

Winter Checklist

Here are 10 things you must do during the winter season. That’s why we pushed them to the top of our checklist. 

  1. Change heating system filters.
  2. Clean kitchen range hood filter.
  3. Clean all baseboard heaters.
  4. Change water and icemaker filters on the refrigerator.
  5. Thoroughly clean, oil and prepare snowblower for winter.
  6. Gather tools and supplies for removing ice from walkways and driveways.
  7. Inspect the washing machine hoses for leaks or damage. Replace, if necessary.
  8. Insulate exposed water lines and hose bibs.
  9. Set ceiling fans to rotate clockwise to circulate warm air.
  10. Prepare portable or standby generators.
winter driving survival kit
Add a winter survival kit
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7 Essential Questions to Ask Before Replacing Your Roof

Asking an installer the right questions can lead to a great-looking roof replacement that will last for many decades. (Photo courtesy of Classic Metal Roofing Systems)

The last thing homeowners need is anything else that adds to their stress. And because of extreme weather events in many regions, having to worry about the roof is especially unwelcome these days.

As homeowners begin to prioritize their spring home improvement projects, the experts at the Metal Roofing Alliance say the best method for ensuring peace of mind and long-term satisfaction starts with asking installers the right questions, well in advance of when a replacement project starts.

“Replacing a roof is a major expense and it has a big impact on how a home looks and performs,” said Renee Ramey, MRA executive director. “Because there are so many variables, it can be stressful and anxiety-producing, causing homeowners to feel uneasy about whether they are making the right choices.

“But it doesn’t have to be that way: asking good questions goes a long way towards making a worry- and hassle-free decision.”

According to MRA, the first step is finding a reputable, qualified pro who will conduct a thorough and honest evaluation of your

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