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A BIG SHOUT OUT From The Cardins

We've been using From the Ground up Landscaping and Construction now for years. They are reliable, diligent and precise. Their construction work is A+. We thank the entire team for their latest project at our home! Kudos!

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Spring House Maintenance Tips

It's that time of year again.  A time of birds chirping, plants budding, and the dreaded spring cleaning.  Along with spring cleaning this year keep in mind these simple house maintenance tips.

1.   Examine your roof to see if there is any damaged or lost shingles.  Look for shingles that are cracked or missing granules.  Oklahoma summer heat can really damage shingles.  Any shingles with damage need to be replaced.  Also check your flashings around the vents and any vent covers for damage.  Any repairs should be made by a qualified roofer.  If your roof is beginning to age, it is a good idea to start budgeting for a replacement.
2.   Service and clean your air-conditioning unit.  Yearly maintenance of your heating and cooling system will keep it working at peak performance.   Be sure to check your air filters and replace them if needed.  If your air-conditioning unit is not working correctly it should be repaired by a qualified repairman.
3.   Check and clean your gutters.  Look for any leaks during a rain and remove any debris in the gutters or down spouts.  Leaking and/or clogged gutters can lead to water damage on your exterior trim as well as letting water sit up against the foundation.  You also want to make sure the down spouts are draining away from the house.
4.   Check all your exterior trim and siding for bare spots.  Bare wood is at extreme risk of rot during the wet spring months.  Wood that has rotted out will require replacement.  Scrape any loose paint off your trim and siding, apply a quality exterior primer, and put on two coats of a quality exterior paint.  Paint and primer combinations are also a good sollution to save some time.

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5.   Insure your windows and doors are well sealed.  Visually inspect the caulking around each door and window as well as the seals on the doors and windows.  This will help keep cool air in and hot air out this summer.
6.   Inspect and clean your concrete.  Concrete damage can occur during the winter season on your driveway, walkways, and the foundation of your house.  Fill any cracks with a quality concrete filler.  Once the weather permits, this is a great time to power wash your driveway and walkways.
7.   Move your firewood.  If you have any leftover firewood it is best to store it at least 1' off the ground and no closer than 2' from any structures.  Aging firewood attracts insects and insects are not something you want near your structures.
8.   Check your exterior faucets.  Turn on and off each of your faucets checking to make sure they shut completely off.  Look for any cracks or water coming from where it should not be while they are turned on.  This is also a great time to check your garden hoses for any cracks or leaks.
9.   Clean and open your foundation vents if you have a crawlspace.  These vents are located around the bottom perimeter of your home.  Make sure they are free of debris and open so that heat from below your home can be circulated out.
10.   Time to clean and inspect your deck, outdoor furniture, and grills.  Before the backyard barbeques and pool parties give your deck a good cleaning.  Look for any damaged or splintering wood and replace as necessary.  Now is also the perfect time to apply that fresh coat of stain and sealer.  Whether your stored your outdoor furniture or left it outside give it a good cleaning.  If your paint is fading a good coat exterior spray paint is a simple remedy.  Finally, clean your grill from any residue or debris.  You want to also insure your grill jets are operating correctly, there are no leaks in the hoses or connections, and that your propane take is in good working order.

Completing the above tips will help keep those dreaded surprise house repairs to a minimum.  From the Ground Up is here to help with all of your spring maintenance needs.

Wipe your windows clean with this non-chemical window cleaner recipe. Give it a try!
1 cup- rubbing alcohol, 1 cup- distilled water, 1 tablespoon- white vinegar.  Mix all the ingredients together and apply it to your windows.

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Spring Lawn and Landscaping Tips

Spring is here and it is time to get your lawn and landscape ready for the new season! Here at From the Ground Up we wanted to give you some tips to help get your lawn and landscape ready for the new growth ahead.

Blog 11. First is first, clean out your lawn and flower beds.
a. Pick up any branches, leaves, and debris that may have fallen throughout the winter season.
b. All warm season grasses need to be scalped or de-thatched and the cool season grasses need to be mowed regularly. Scalping removes the thatch that insects love while promoting healthy growth of the grass.
c. Prune your shrubs and ornamental grasses. This is a good time of year to prune your Crape Myrtles and like shrubs. Most ornamental grasses should be pruned down to approximately 6" -8" above ground.
2. This next tip depends on if you are going to plant new grass seed this spring.
a. If you are going to plant grass seed do not apply pre-emergent. You will just want to apply a balanced fertilizer, organic if you can find it.
b. If you are going to plant your seed or sod this fall, apply a crabgrass pre-emergent and a balanced fertilizer.
c. For you flower beds and vegetable garden you want to make sure the soil conditions are good for planting. A soil test will tell you what nutrients, if any, will need to be added. Make sure to add organic matter to the soil at the time of planting. These nutrients will help the plant to grow deeper roots which will decrease the stress on the plant.
3. Planting seed or not, watering is a must. Now is the time to de-winterize your sprinkler system and get everything working correctly. Run through each zone of your sprinkler system checking every head for leaks and correct operation also look for any leaks away from the sprinkler heads. The last thing you want to do is insure your programs are set up correctly. Don't forget to set you controller to automatic once you have finished tinkering!
4. An often overlooked tip is to make sure your mower is tuned up. Replace the spark plug, change the oil, grease any joints as needed, and sharpen the blade. A dull mower blade actually tears the grass instead of cutting it. This tearing will result in brown ends and can promote fungus.
5. Set your mower height and mow regularly. Cool season grasses such as Fescue and Bluegrass should be cut from 2.5" to 4" in height. Warm season grasses such as Bermuda and Buffalo, should be cut from 1" to 2" in height. Weekly mowing and grass removal will leave your lawn looking the best it can this season.
6. Finally you want to apply a 3" to 4" layer of mulch over all your flower beds. I recommend using a premium shredded mulch as it will not float or blow away as easily. Mulch will provide your flower beds with a great weed defense while helping to retain the moisture from watering.

If we can be of any additional help with your spring lawn and landscaping needs please let us know.

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