TIP OF THE WEEK

Hate weeds? Start mulching with these tips

Mulch is more than just an attractive aspect of landscape design. Mulch is a lawn and garden powerhouse that supports the plants you want while limiting the weed growth you don’t.

Just 2-4 inches of mulch can substantially retain soil moisture, slow evaporation and protect roots from overheating, according to WaterUseItWisely.com, a nationwide water conservation campaign. This is especially helpful to ornamentals and vegetables. What’s more, mulch can reduce weeds that compete with landscape plants for moisture, nutrients and sunlight.

Water – Use It Wisely experts provide smart mulching steps for homeowners:

Before mulching, remove all weeds, including roots.

Work a thin layer of mulch into the soil and then add 2-4 inches on top.

Mulch the entire root zone of the plant out to the drip line (leaf canopy).

Make an earth basin around shrubs and small trees and keep the mulch pulled back a few inches to prevent rotting the trunks.

HOME-SELLING TIP

Upgrade faucets before selling

When you’re selling a house, upgrading small details like faucets can make a big difference in how potential buyers view your home.

If you’re looking to replace a dated or worn kitchen faucet with one likely to appeal to buyers, the faucet experts at American Standard offer some suggestions:

Pull-downs are popular for their versatility and clean visual appeal. Multi-spray functions are welcome for their flexibility and utility. Some options allow you to select and set water temperature without touching the faucet every time. A faucet with a lower flow rate, such as 1.5 gallons per minute, can help conserve water and lower water bills.

OUTDOOR LIVING

Simple steps to create an outdoor oasis

To start your backyard improvement project today, follow these tips from the experts at Lowe’s.

* A place to gather. Five-piece dining sets are perfect for more intimate gatherings, while larger crowds will appreciate the table length a seven-piece set up provides.

* A place to relax. The sofas and armchairs in your living room are popular sitting destinations during any indoor event, and you can create the same environment outdoors with sectional patio furniture.

* A little shade goes a long way. Patio umbrellas are affordable options that provide ample coverage for large gatherings. To keep the awning a popular destination into the evening, look for an umbrella outfitted with LED lights.

A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK

Realtor.com launches new blog to share insights

Realtor.com, a trusted online source for home buyers and sellers, and the offical site of the National Association of Realtors recently launched a blog. “Home Made” is there to share insights regarding the home buying process as well as give readers expertise, guidance and personal stories from within the company’s walls. People who have a successful home buying experience are welcome to share their stories through the blog’s “Real Stories” section. To do so readers just have to go to http://www.realtor.com/homemade/category/real-stories/, then click on the “Share Your Success Story” button on the page and fill out the form.