Friday, August 2, 2013

Guest Post: Easy Ways to Save Water

This year, homeowners should make conserving water one of the most important environmental actions they take at home.  According to the EPA's WaterSense publication, “One of the best ways to save energy across the country and in our own home is to use water more efficiently.”

Katie Dubow of
Garden Media Group lends advice on easy ways to save water at home. Not to mention how it will help cut utility bills.  

Photo: tympsy/Flickr

100 Ways to Conserve” offers tips for preserving this natural resource when landscaping - since it accounts for between 30-70% of water used daily in American homes, depending on the region and season. 

·         Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away. Also note: trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than those spraying water into the air.
·         Water your plants deeply, but less frequently, to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance. More plants die from over-watering than under-watering. Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden to remind you when to stop or redirect the water. A running hose can lose up to 10 gallons/ min
·         Check the root zone of your lawn or garden for moisture before watering. If it’s still moist 2-3 inches under the soil surface you have enough water. Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won’t run when it’s raining. Use a rain gauge, or empty tuna can, to track rainfall on your lawn. Then reduce your watering accordingly. A can of tuna also measures sprinkler output. 1in of water on 1sq ft of grass is 2/3 of a gallon of water.
·         Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a native, low-water-use plant like those from American Beauties for year-round landscape color, and save up to 550 gallons a year
·         Direct water from your roof’s rain gutters into a rain barrel to water your garden. 
For other easy ways to save water in and around the house, check out the graphic home tour navigator at to target room-specific conservation ideas.

And, use this tool on the EPA’s website to calculate the savings you would achieve by using water saving products.

Katie McCoy Dubow is creative officer at Garden Media Group, a public relations firm that specializes in the lawn and garden industry.  Located in Kennett Square, Garden Media offers innovative PR services designed to make their clients popular!  For more tips like this, visit their blog

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Lawn Enthusiast Takes on Pinterest

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! I recently discovered Pinterest. There is a world of lawn/ garden tips and awesome photos people have shared from their gardens on there. I created my account this morning, so add me and let's keep spreading great lawn & garden info!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Crash Course in Seeding versus Sodding

To Seed or To Sod?

Image credit: gardentrek
Warmer weather is finally upon us! So what does that mean? It means if you're looking to plant a new lawn, now is your chance! Especially if you're down in the south with the warm season grasses - which grow far better when the climate is hot. But how should you decide whether to seed your new lawn or sod it? Both methods work well, but there are differences that should be considered in choosing the right approach for your needs.

Image credit: foodiesathome
When choosing whether to sod or seed, one consideration is how long you're willing to wait. Seed can take up to two weeks to begin growing, so you will have to deal with the dirt look for a little while. Sod, on the other hand, is essentially an instant lawn - just lay it and you'll have a field of green.

Price is also a major consideration - and here the seed is our clear winner. Grass seed is by far the cheapest of the two options.  Grass seed can be sown on your own, or you can opt for a professional seeding. Either choice is cheaper than purchasing sod and the professional installation that is recommended with it.

Grass seed is also a great choice if you have shady areas in your yards.  There is a greater selection of grass types available when seeding a lawn, so you can purchase seed that will grow well in shady areas, as well as full sun.  Sod generally requires lots of sun to grow properly, so you may have issues with shady areas. 

The type of terrain in your yard also makes a big difference when choosing sod or seed.  If you have areas that erode easily, or are prone to becoming run-off areas, sod is often the better choice.  It does not wash away as seeds are prone to, and stays put after you lay it.

Grass seed and sod both require the similar care, so at the end of the day, it's really just a personal decision depending on you and your lawn's needs. Either choice has the potential to ultimately provide you with that lush, green lawn that you've been dreaming of. Which new lawn method is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

-- Philip

Monday, June 10, 2013

3 Summer Lawn Diseases To Avoid

I absolutely love summer. It's my favorite time of year. I've always been a cold-natured person as well, so the warm summer weather is just perfect for me. But with the good must come the bad. Many lawn diseases are seasonal and tend to be more frequent during the warmer summer months. I decided to focus on three in particular in my most recent guest post over on the Total Landscape Care website. Read my post on 3 Summer Lawn Diseases to Avoid to learn more about them and what you can do to fight them off.

Here are the three lawn diseases. Can you name them all? Give it a shot and then take a look here to see if you were right.

Photo credit: Cornell University

Photo credit: John Kaminski

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Best Practices for Watering the Lawn

Fellow lawn enthusiasts! What would you say are the best practices for watering the lawn? I share some of my own advice on how to do it with both conservation and efficiency in mind over at My Green Australia, a terrific blog devoted to green and sustainable living. I hope you'll take a look. Here's my introduction...
watering-lawnWatering your lawn or garden can be time consuming and expensive, especially in very dry years. So how can you get the most out of the water you use to water your lawn?
There are several ways to both conserve water and maximize the good that watering your lawn, garden, or landscaping can do. Some of them may cost a bit of money, but others are free. No matter what your budget, here are some tips almost anyone can utilize for watering their lawn....
(The rest over at MyGreenAustralia - thanks for reading!)
-- Philip

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Choosing the Right Lawn Mower for You: A Beginner's Guide

What Kind of Lawn Mower Do I Need?

Spring is finally here, and if you are a homeowner or if landscaping is not covered in your rental agreement, it’s about that time to get a lawn mower so you can keep your yard looking great. You’ll find that there are many different options available for lawn mowers, but also a number of factors to consider so that you obtain the perfect mower for your particular needs.

If you have a large, sprawling lawn, you may want to consider a riding lawn mower (like that shown above).  If you have a large yard, but have several flowerbeds, decorations, swing sets, or other obstacles, you need to make sure you have the maneuvering room that most riding mowers require.  Another important issue to consider with riding mowers is whether there are any steep hills in your yard.  Due to their size, there is a danger of the mower tipping over if the grade is too steep.

Also keep in mind differences in terminology.  A riding lawn mower and a tractor are two different machines.  Mowers are smaller, with the deck for the blades in the front.  Tractors typically have decks in the middle, and most have the ability to pull other tools.  These are often used on farms and for tilling, whereas a lawn mower is the better choice for an average yard due to its maneuverability.

If you have a small yard, around half an acre or less, a push mower (example to the right) may be your best choice. These are “walk behind” mowers that are either self-propelled or moved by physically pushing it.  If you have a relatively flat lawn, the self-propelled version can help you get the work done without the struggle, and many have adjustable speeds for your comfort.  Or you can get the classic reel mower of the past.  These have no engine, are better for the environment, and they often cut the grass closer to the ground. 

Once you have determined what size mower you need, you then need to decide whether you want an electric or gasoline powered engine.  Electric mowers are quiet, but require a battery or cord.  If you have a large lawn, an electric mower may not be feasible.

Lawn mowers truly are a necessity, and if you take the time to assess your needs you will have no problem choosing the right mower for you so you can keep your lawn looking great all season.

-- Philip

Photo credits:

Friday, April 26, 2013

Guest Post: An Anti-Greenwashing Dictionary for Consumers

Hello all. Philip here. I'm happy to feature another green blogger today by the name of Cameron Bruns. It's my pleasure to share her post clarifying the meanings of a variety of different "green" terminology frequently used in both the media and the marketplace. She hopes to clear up some of the confusion surrounding these terms so we can make smarter decisions as consumers. Thanks for your thoughts, Cameron! And to our readers, please be sure to take a look at her Boston Green Blog for all kinds of great ideas about green living and sustainability.

An Anti-Greenwashing Dictionary for Consumers


Consumers want to buy products that are good for the environment, which is great, except that some companies are using marketing tactics to exploit this demand. People are often rushed when they shop, so they make a quick comparisons of products and a snap decision on what is best for their budget, their family, and the environment. Marketers know this and design big green labels that say “All Natural” in huge font. Even if an item is packaged in green with a leafy logo, doesn't necessarily mean it is the best option for the environment. That is why it is important to be aware of the true definition of different “environmental” terms that may either be used to scam you into purchasing a not-so-green product or to help you identify the truly green options. Below are some of the most common words used in green marketing.


All Natural - There is no industry-wide definition of “all natural” which means companies may use the term differently. The FDA prohibits using misleading language on labels which should prevent companies from misusing the words “all natural”, however, the FDA does not provide specific regulations on the term so its use is still rather hazy.

Biodegradable -  A product made of natural materials that will eventually decompose back into the earth with the help of microorganisms.

Compostable - A material that breaks down to become dirt that contains no toxins and can support plant life.

Eco-Friendly - interchangeable with the term “green”. Referring to something environmentally preferable. On its own, this term provides no specific criteria.

Fair Trade - a certification code that verifies that farmers receive a fair price for their
products. Through Fair Trade programs, farmers receive credit and are given necessary assistance in order to eventually become a self-sufficient business.

GMOs - Genetically Modified Organisms, Organisms from bacteria, plants or animals which have been genetically changed in a laboratory through DNA technology.

Green - Vague descriptive term referring to anything environmentally friendly.

Organic - Grown without conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers or sewage and processed without food additives. Food products from animals have not been subjected to routine antibiotics or growth hormones. A USDA Organic certified label means that the product’s claims of being organic were verified by a third party.

Post Consumer Recycled - A product or material that was sold or used by consumers and then reused or made into another consumer product.

Recycled - Can mean either post consumer recycled o pre-consumer recycled. A pre-consumer recycled item is a  product or material which has been recycled or reused before it has become a consumer product. For example, an item made from factory scraps or waste materials that have not yet been used or sold to the general population.

Cameron Bruns is the founder of Boston Green Blog and a contributor to Merida, the premier source for distinctively designed natural rugs with a conscience for sustainability.