Marianne Binetti

Binetti: Resolve to save time and money on your home, garden

The beginning of January is when all homeowners and gardeners can make resolutions that will save them time and money over the next year. You don’t need to do these chores immediately. Just try to check them off at least once in 2015.

Five things to do for yourself and your home:

Clean the gutters at least once and prevent overflow.

Water spilling onto pathways will encourage slippery moss and mold growth, and water hitting porches or posts causes rotting wood and expensive repairs.

Afraid of ladders? Paying someone to do it would be money well spent.

Tip: That gunk from your gutters is good organic material to add to compost piles or to bury in your garden beds as a soil amendment.

Add lime to your lawn at least once.

If you live in Western Washington, you have naturally acidic soil. Lawns grow better and require less water and fertilizer if they grow in soil that is more neutral. You can add dolomite lime, Super Sweet, calcium carbonate, or a similar soil sweeting additive any time of the year.

Prune it or move it.

Make this the year you allow natural sunlight into your home by trimming back overgrown evergreens or moving huge rhododendrons that block your windows. Keeping plants away from the windows improves curb appeal, which improves the value of your home. Yes, you can move plants in the winter as long as the ground is not frozen.

Give up on an ugly plant.

It is OK to cut down a diseased tree, uproot that rose that rarely flowers, or take a chain saw to the base of those ugly, overgrown junipers. Plants are not children and we do not owe them a lifetime commitment.

Think of your landscape as a closet that needs cleaning out every few years to restore order. We often outgrow our clothing — and our plants often outgrow their purpose. Winter is a fine time to remove plants.

Try growing something new and interesting in 2015.

If you are lacking in outdoor space, try a new houseplant or a potted Thai basil plant and you’ll have the benefit of more flavorful meals.

To improve your indoor view looking out, invest in an unusual Japanese maple that you can see from your favorite chair.

To feed the birds, try adding native plants with berries and fruit such as mahonia or Oregon grape, or add a graceful nandina as a foundation shrub close to the house. For more ideas and new plant inspiration, visit a home and garden show or take a class at a nursery.

Make 2015 the year you improve your home, your garden and your mindset. Just dig in and keep growing.