Now that spring is behind us, I've been moving my entertaining outdoors. I've discovered that an outdoor barbecue or garden party is a great way to entertain lots of people at a price that fits nicely into my budget.
Part of my prep work for outdoor entertaining includes scrubbing down the lawn furniture, setting up tables and canopies, and checking the propane levels in my gas grill. It also means giving my lawn some extra TLC so that it can handle all that extra traffic without suffering extensive damage.
Tackle weeds early. Because I garden organically, I manage invasive weeds by digging them up with a digging knife or dandelion tool. Since this method of weed eradication leaves small holes throughout the lawn, I tackle lawn weeds at least two weeks ahead of the barbecue which allows plenty of time for the grass to fill in the spaces.
If you use herbicides on your lawn or hire a service to manage lawn weeds, keep in mind that it can take up to 10-14 days for the treated weeds to completely disappear. So that your lawn looks it best for the party, schedule any weed treatment program at least two weeks prior to the event.
No watering 2 or 3 days before the party. A lawn that's soggy will not only ruin your guests' shoes and your lawn, it can also cause lawn furniture and tables to sink in the ground. I stop watering my lawn a few days before a party to give the soil a chance to dry out.
A dry lawn is not only more comfortable to walk on, it also drops the surrounding air humidity which makes the yard cooler and more comfortable for my guests. Another bonus; a dry lawn means less of a problem with yard gnats and mosquitoes.
Let it grow. Most people prefer the lawn to be mowed the day before a party. While it definitely looks neat and tidier this way, I tend to let the grass grow a little on the longish side so it can handle the excessive foot traffic of 60 people walking around the lawn. To restore the grass the following day, we turn on the sprinklers and give the ground a deep watering.
If you prefer to have a nicely mowed lawn for your outdoor party, it's best to mow the grass two days before and bag (instead of mulch) the clippings. This gives the grass a chance to recover from the cutting and look its best for your backyard barbecue.
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