Tag Archives: Summer

It’s Easy Being Green: 5 Fast Summer Lawn Care Tips

Summer lawn care tipsShimmering green lawns are great to look at and even better to walk on barefoot. They help absorb rainwater runoff and contribute to cooling down our sizzling planet, especially when compared to pavement and concrete.

Take back your weekends. But, maintaining a traditional lawn involves a huge commitment of time, money and water. The chemicals in mass-market fertilizers can create toxic runoff that flows into our rivers, oceans, and drinking water. And all those rumbling lawnmowers and leaf blowers emit greenhouse gases and create noise pollution (especially when you’re trying to sleep in on the weekend).

With that in mind, it’s time to re-think how we take care of our lawns and some of the outdated 20th century approaches to landscaping in general with these 5 quick summer lawn care tips:

  1. Xeri-what? A popular alternative to traditional lawns, xeriscaping, or landscaping with native and drought-resistant plants, involves minimal water and up-keep. Wiki-how offers tips on how to design and create a lush and interesting xeriscape for your outdoor areas.
  2. Let it go (and let it grow). Skip the stress: stop striving for the perfect lawn and let those clovers pop out, that carpet of soft native moss spread and other low-lying native species grow in peace. A sterile “perfect” lawn can be a costly, losing battle. See a dandelion sprout up? Enjoy its color! Drenching your lawn with chemicals can create polluting run-off and potentially make it unhealthy for you and your kids to sprawl out or play on the grass. Yuck!
  3. Don’t give your lawn a crew cut. Crew cuts look great on boys (and guys) in the summer, but they’re awful for lawns. Keep your grass long and shaggy instead: it’ll retain moisture better and discourage weed growth. Other benefits: you’ll water and mow the lawn less (yay), and you’ll create an outdoor oasis that’ll be vastly more comfortable to sit and walk on. Isn’t that the point?
  4. Let it be. Leave the freshly-mowed cuttings on your lawn to help retain moisture. Save time and energy while you create some protective green lawn cover for your cut grass underneath.
  5. Water is precious. Water early or late in the day. Water deeply but less often– give the roots a good soak. It takes tens of thousands of gallons of water a season to maintain the average lawn. Conserve our precious natural resources and water your lawn and garden during the sun’s off-peak frying times.

    Better yet: let’s save our clean water supply for things that really matter, like keeping us humans hydrated and clean; and watering food crops and gardens. Choose water-sipping native plants over water hogs. Opt for hardy lavender in a sunny spot; save the ferns and hostas for your lawn’s shady areas. Want more ideas? Go to
    Plant now for the future: Choosing and planting low water-use plants.

For green lawn links and more info, go to:

Headquartered in Boston, Bunker Hill Insurance provides home insurance to customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Bunker Hill is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in homeowner’s and auto insurance throughout the northeast.

In the swim: Basic water safety tips for summer

Swimming lessonsSummertime calls for plenty of pool and beach time, along the lake or at the ocean. Keep yourself and your family safe with these water safety tips:

1)    Never swim alone, or without lifeguard supervision. Remember the opening scene in Jaws? Don’t swim at night or anyplace without a lifeguard or swim buddy (and that’s only if you’re a strong swimmer). Always play it safe and have someone watching your back in case anything happens.

2)    It’s never too soon (or too late) to learn how to swim. Teach your little ones to swim as soon as possible; most qualified swim instruction programs start at the 4- to 5-year old level. Make sure your children know the basics: treading water, holding their breath under water, and basic strokes. Never let your kids swim without you; get in the water and enjoy your time with them.

What about you? Do you know how to swim? If not, you’re not alone. According to Swimmunity, a website for new adult swimmers, as many as 50-65 percent of American adults don’t know how to swim, a statistic we find pretty shocking. Visit http://www.swimlessons.com/ or the U.S. Masters Swimming site http://www.usms.org/placswim/ for resources in your area. Make it a goal to learn to swim this year. It could save your life.

3)    “When in doubt, don’t go out.” Stay out of the water if you’re too tired/cold/sunburned/overheated/not feeling up to it. Are your kids’ lips turning blue? Take ‘em out of the pool.

4)    Don’t let it rip. Riptides aren’t really tides at all; it’s more accurate to call them rip currents or undertows. Look for sandbars before you go for a swim—they are usually an indication of a strong undertow. These unpredictable currents can be deadly for even the strongest swimmers, so pay attention to beach signs and warnings from lifeguards.

You’ve probably heard about how Heidi Klum saved her 7-year old son and two nannies from a powerful undertow in Hawai’i this past March. If you’re caught in a rip current, don’t panic: it’ll cause you to sink instead of float. Tread water, float on your back and wave for help as you float or swim parallel to the shore until you can swim to safety, out of the grip of the current. Remember, do not attempt to swim against the current (you will just get tired and you won’t get anywhere).

5)    Boaters/Water Craft: Don’t drink while operating any water craft, ever. Wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices. Kids must wear them at all times; adults if you don’t, at least have them handy so you can put them on quickly in an emergency.

Sources/useful links:

2 comprehensive MUST READS for all-around water safety:

Rip currents:

Swimmunity’s 10 Facts Every Adult Swimmer Should Know: http://swimmunity.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/stuck-in-the-process-of-learning-how-to-swim-dont-stop-ten-facts-every-adult-should-know/

Headquartered in Boston, Bunker Hill Insurance provides home insurance to customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Bunker Hill is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in homeowner’s and auto insurance throughout the northeast.