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Backyard cuttings

Published May 5, 2007


Transform your yard into a work of art

Go ahead, mow the word ELVIS into your lawn. The neighbors will love it. Or a bull's-eye, a Christmas tree, your house numbers, a checkerboard. David Parfitt shows you how in Lawnscapes: Mowing Patterns to Make Your Yard a Work of Art coming in June from Quirk Books, $14.95. There are 18 designs, from simple to complex. The book's cover is made from Astroturf.

Has the lawn been going to the dogs?

If you aspire to the lawn as masterpiece (see above), you'll need the perfect canvas to work from. Pet owners know that nitrogen in dog urine burns the grass and kills it, leaving dead patches. Briggs & Stratton suggests you wash down the area promptly with a bucket of water or a hose. Pull dead grass out of the "dog spots, " then reseed or patch with a piece of sod. You may be able to train your dog to use only one area of the lawn, and you can place wood chips there to eliminate the problem.

Survey says, make mowers simple

And while we're on the subject of lawns: What do we want most in a mower? An easy-to-use bag ranked either 9 or 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 for a majority of consumers, a survey by Lawn-Boy mowers showed. In addition to the bag, consumers age 55 and older wanted a mower with easy height adjustment and a self-propel feature. Women favor a lightweight, easy-to-handle mower.

No big game, but it's still a hunt

Come on, you know you've always wanted to do this. The Dunedin Nature Center will lead an adults-only Great Butterfly Hunt from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday. After a quick session on identifying butterflies, walk through Hammock Park and see how many of the 30 varieties known to live there you can identify. Meet at the Nature Center, 1910 Ed Eckert Drive (off Michigan Boulevard). RSVP to (727) 298-3271 or It's $2 if you have a resident ID, $3 for the rest of us.

Tropical plants at home in Jersey

Heading to Atlantic City? Maybe it's worth the trip just to see this. Later this month Harrah's will unveil a 90-foot-high glass dome with more than 100 palms and other examples of tropical horticulture around an 86, 000-gallon heated pool. (So much for using native plants and conserving energy.) There will be 20 Washingtonia palms, 45 feet tall; 44 white birds of paradise; 15 Christmas palms, 22 to 30 feet tall; and much more. A 961-room hotel tower will open in mid 2008.

Compiled by Homes and Garden editor Judy Stark

[Last modified May 4, 2007, 11:51:19]

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