A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

A meadow in the backyard

I have been cutting the grass once a week for the past few weeks, but my grass has not been too high. It has mainly been some flower heads, which I do not mind, but I do have to keep things looking nice for the neighbors, I guess. I use a pushmower, which provides a nice bit of exercise. These mowers are cheaper than a fuel powered mower, and I think my neighbors are envious that I do not need to pay such a high gas price for fuel. I even own a push edger, which may not provide the same type of cut as a fuel powered edger does, but it still provides a clean line.

I think that is the main reason why these push mowers and edgers are no longer commonly used: they do not produce the nicely clipped look that their fuel powered counterparts do, but by the end of the week, our yards look the same.

I always leave the clippings on the lawn to act as a mulch, but this week I did add a little more to the lawn. Composted cow manure was sprinkled about the yard. I am not a big believer in using much of any type of fertilizer, but once year, I use one bag of manure for the front lawn, and one for the backyard. I just throw it about, and then I water it in.

The backyard is taking on more of a meadow effect. I am planting more herbs into the lawn, and now I am transplanting various groundcovers into this field. I have not been too keen on mowing much back here. My bulbs in the lawn are ready to bloom. It is certainly nice to sit back and watch the world pass by in this meadow. The birds seem to be enjoying it the most, but I loved the fragrances that arose from the cut yard. Mint in the grass is a wonderful scent. I cannot wait for the jasmine vines to come into flower by the doors and windows.

I am still interplanting vegetables in all of my beds. The cabbages have offered some touches of grey, and the beets have produced some dramatic reds. I also have whites and purples from the kales. My impatiens have been assisting in this colorful display (as well as the mums to a degree).

I think this is one of the few times of the year where you can love being outside in Houston. For the most part it is cool, and the flowering plants are starting to show off. As a home inspector, I would like to warn you again about mulch on your beds near the homes. I just saw a house with mulch up to the weepholes in the brick veneer, and when I pulled the carpet back, I found that the water had entered the house. The lesson: add mulch wisely.


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