It is official…we live in a world of technology at our fingertips! Our cars, homes, phones, tablets, online shopping, chip card readers, smart this and smart that!! So smart that we have gradually changed our lifestyles to accommodate the technology. One recent study showed that in general, children and families now spend more time watching, listening, or texting each other from all these devices than they do actually spending time and speaking to each other! With most of us at home these past few months, we have seen a very powerful trend in our industry taking shape over the past few years and we now have an entire division dedicated full time to try to keep up with the demand!
Well all that being said, it seems that parents are doing their absolute best now to reverse that trend and incorporate the latest trend in outdoor renovation…residential sports construction. This trend is becoming more popular than swimming pools or outdoor living area. You can now easily incorporate a half basketball court, putting green and custom batting cage for you and your kids for less than half the cost of a pool…and once installed there is little to no maintenance involved and provides year-round use.
Fun, family fitness is the new trend. Parents are liking the fact they can get the kids out of their rooms or off the couch, put down that video game and get back to having quality family time. Many are encouraging their youth sports teams to now get that extra practice in before the next big game or tournament! Their backyard has become “the cool” place for the neighbors’ kids to hang out at.
Technology has advanced in these backyard courts also. The safest surfaces have now been incorporated into the latest available court tiles that actually have scientific studies proving less youth injuries than your traditional basketball courts we grew up playing on. They can also be fully customized to play a variety of sports on the same court based with options that are available to install. Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis, Pickle ball, Court Hockey, Futsal for the soccer enthusiast, Hopscotch, Four Square, and yes, even Shuffleboard! So, there is something available for everyone…small children to grandparents!
Avid golfer? There is another big trend in outdoor renovation…people installing custom putting greens in their backyards! And not just your typical green. These projects are just like the ones you see on the best golf courses around. Undulating greens with different height custom fringe around the edges. Want to add a spot 20 feet away to chip on to your green? Done. Want 10 different angles and holes installed into your putting green? Done. Not only do you no longer have to maintain that grass area in the backyard, but they require no water so are virtually maintenance free! And again, something the entire family can enjoy.
This is another sports construction element we are seeing implemented into residential backyards. That neglected side yard, or that long stretch across the backyard are perfect for this type of project. Custom Batting Cages have come a long way. They can now be constructed with custom thick piping type poles and thick custom netting to contain the all the baseballs being hit. The higher end ones will stand up to the straight-line winds and storms we frequently get verses the less expensive prefab ones on the market from the big box stores. We are now seeing custom colored artificial turf installed inside that designates the raised pitching mound area with state-of-the-art pitching machines, fully marked batters’ boxes, even a separate interior turf section with drop down netting that also allows someone to go in and drive golf balls inside it! You can actually train like the pros at home!
All these trends are leading to fun family fitness once again. We only get so much time with our kids as they grow up…it happens so fast and before you know it, they are leaving the nest. So, the next time you see your children on that video game, iPad, phone or sending you a text from 10 feet away….consider a backyard sports project!
Question: Jimmie, when exactly should I be feeding my landscaping? I have heard many different answers from the people at Home Depot, Lowes, and local nurseries. They also can’t seem to tell me what to feed with? Or how often. I have been reading your column for years and I cannot tell you how much I have learned over the years. I hope to run into you one day around Prosper and personally thank you! I know you are a busy guy so whenever you get around to it let me know your thoughts. Thank you again!!! – Melissa M. in Prosper
Answer: Hi Melissa! Thank you for the kind words and I hope we run into to each other sometime so I can thank you for reading! Okay, down to your question. Best time to feed your landscaping is early spring and once again in early fall. Our plants are constantly taking nutrients from the soil so they can grow, bloom and generally be healthy and thrive. Therefore, we must put those nutrients back into the soil or it will become depleted over time and our plants will gradually decline. It is best to use a granular tree and shrub food available at most higher end nurseries that slowly releases Nitrogen into the soil over time. If you have Acidic plants then they need to be fed Acid type food. You can simply save a gallon milk jug, pour a cup of vinegar into it and fill rest of way with water and pour around root system of plants, another excellent source is coffee grounds for acidic plants.
Until next time…Happy Gardening!!
Jimmie is a Prosper resident and the owner of Absolutely Bushed Landscaping Company, an award winning, family and veteran owned and operated business created in 1980 to provide the highest quality custom Outdoor Renovation available to homeowners in the Dallas Ft. Worth area.