Fruit tree
Fruit trees bring color and texture to your yard. Photograph: Saxon Holt

Now that Memorial Day is right around the corner, everyone will be spending more time outdoors. To help keep a yard looking its best, Lou Manfredini, host of the Mr. Fix-It Show radio program in Chicago and the official home expert for NBC’s Today Show and Ace Hardware, sent us this post on boosting curb appeal.

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The same holds true for your home. Your front yard is the first impression so it’s important to put some energy into making it look its best. As companies come out with more and more eco-friendly products it’s increasingly easy to make your yard look greener while also being green.

Here are five simple earth-friendly ways to turn your curb appeal to-do list into a to-done list:

1.    The first step to having a home that looks great is a healthy lawn. My secret weapon is a rake. Run it across your lawn to thin out any dead grass and promote healthy growth. This will keep your lawn looking thick and neat, and the only cost is a little bit of your time and some elbow grease.

2.    Use organic fertilizers to feed your lawn, garden and flowerbeds. Organic options have come a long way. The key to success is to follow directions! Make sure you use the proper ratios and work them well into the soil. You’ll get terrific results, naturally.

3.    Add some solar-powered lighting. Any pathway or garden can benefit from accent lighting. Solar lights are easy to install and don’t require a power source beyond the sun. Just a few hours a day will charge the batteries and add ambiance to your home every evening.

4.    Accent with ice. This one will have to wait until winter, but it is so worth it. Ice lantern molds turn tap water into a unique and attractive accent light. Using your freezer or winter weather, the mold creates a solid block of ice with a deep hole in the center. Drop in a candle or battery-operated light, place one on either side of the front door and watch it sparkle.

5.    Create an orchard of one. Fruit trees add natural beauty to any home, but you don’t need a whole grove to make an impact. You can find a fruit tree to thrive in any location. Lemon, orange, apple, even a plum tree, will add color to the front of your home and fruit to your table.

You can learn more about the above tips and projects at your local Ace Hardware store and by visiting www.acehardware.com.—Lou Manfredini

If you’re interested in planting a fruit tree, try these sources:

Summerstone Nursery

Raintree Nursery

Holly Brook Orchards

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