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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
United States

8605895155

Since 1975, O'Donnell Bros has been providing greater Bristol and Central Connecticut with residential and commercial remodeling solutions. We specialize in roofing, siding, windows, doors, gutters, downspouts and so much more. We look forward to helping you with all your remodeling needs. 

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Articles

O'Donnell Bros President, Bob O'Donnell, is a regular contributor to The Bristol Press. Read his home improvement articles here.

 

Filtering by Tag: lawn

Get Rid of Unsightly Crabgrass and Breathe New Life Into Your Lawn

Chelsea O'Donnell

With so much rain early in the season followed by a long period of hot and humid weather, this summer is definitely a record-breaker for crabgrass. This thick, clumpy weed is not only ugly but it’s bad for your lawn’s health too. You might be thinking that since we’re halfway through summer, there’s not much you can do, but treating crabgrass now is actually a smart move that will give your lawn a lush look before the season ends. 

As I said, crabgrass is a weed and just like other weeds, it likes to take over. Once it gets its roots down, it spreads quickly, killing healthy grass in its path. Of course, crabgrass dies on its own when it starts to turn cold, but not treating it means it’s more likely to come back next year. So here’s what you can do today to get rid of it and keep it at bay for next year. 

The best course of action is a pre-emergent, but that’s only good in the spring before the crabgrass starts to grow, so if you missed it, it looks like you’ll be pulling by hand. That’s right, get out that kneepad because the best way to remove the weed is to pull it out, ensuring the roots come with it. It’s been dry for a long time here in Connecticut, but recent rain will loosen those roots up a bit. 

Once you have the crabgrass out, you can fill in the bare spots with healthy grass seed and plenty of water. It’s important to wait to reseed if you’ve recently sprayed your lawn with weed killer as the seeds won’t be able to grow. The water is also key here because the heat does make it tough for grass to grow. 

Now for your mowing. It’s best to keep the grass a bit longer and to let the clippings stay in place to give some nutrients and shade back into the lawn. Three inches is a good, healthy length for both old and new grass. 

If you’re looking for a chemical solution, you can use a post-emergent but this can be tricky as the wrong product will kill your grass. When in doubt, it’s best to leave this job to a professional landscaper who can advise you on the most appropriate course of action. You don’t want to accidentally burn your whole lawn while trying to save it!

Don’t forget, treating your lawn with a pre-emergent in the spring is the best way to avoid crabgrass in the first place. Crabgrass starts to germinate when the soil reaches 55 degrees, so it’s a good idea to get out there in April to ensure that your hard work is worth the effort.

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to info@odonnellbros.com with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.


Rent a Pressure Washer for the Day and Clean All Around the House

Chelsea O'Donnell

I think we can all agree that no one likes chores, especially cleaning. This time of year is especially tough since we want our yard and garden to look its best despite the pollen that just keeps on coming. Luckily, I have a trick that will help you make light of all the hard work around the house - heck you might even have a little fun.

The secret, my friends, is the pressure washer! I am lucky enough to own one of these handy machines but you can grab one for yourself for between $30-40 for the day and say goodbye to dirt, mold, and caked on debris. Here are just a few of my favorite ways to use it.

The Patio. The winter can be tough on stone or concrete patios and wood decks, but months worth of dirt is no match for a pressure washer. Forget the sweeping and scrubbing - a once over with a 2,000 pounds per square inch machine will have your backyard looking as good as new. If you’re thinking about refinishing your surfaces, make this your first step to get everything as clean as possible. Just leave plenty of drying time.

The Patio Furniture. Once the deck is done, the patio furniture is next. I store mine in the shed over the winter, but even in storage, everything tends to get a bit grimy and moldy with the moisture in the air. I love pulling everything out, wetting it down, and giving it a good scrub with some Spray Nine. Because it doesn’t contain any corrosive chemicals, you can use it right in the grass without having to worry about killing your lawn. Rinse with the pressure washer and your furniture will sparkle.

The Car. A car wash is convenient but they never quite get into the nooks and crannies like you can if you’re doing it yourself. Of course, a manual wash is time-consuming and with the pollen in the air, it’s nearly impossible to keep the car clean for longer than a few days. This is another reason why I love the pressure washer! It gets grease and gunk right off the tires and tough to reach places and it’s so easy and fast! Just be sure to use a lighter setting such as 1,400 PSI so you don’t dent the exterior.

The House. I love vinyl siding because it’s so low maintenance, but it’s not a bad idea to give the house a good spray down every once in a while. A pressure washer can be used everywhere from the roof to the shutters and will make your siding looks like it’s brand new again. It’s just as easy as using a hose, but so much more effective. You can use it on brick or stone exteriors too - and don’t forget the windows!

The Gutters. If you’re getting up on the roof, you mind as well get the gunk out of those gutters. A pressure washer makes this job easy but the clean-up from the ground can be a bit of a mess so make sure that you look for an angled attachment that will help you control the debris. If you can get it all towards the downspout, you can either run it through and down or pull everything out in easier to manage sections.

One thing to remember before renting your pressure washer is that they do come in either electric or gas models. Electric machines are generally reserved for lighter jobs around the house while gas models have a bit more oomph. Before you choose your machine, make sure to chat with an expert at the store about what kind of jobs you have in mind. Too much power might damage your goods; too little will make you wish you stuck to the hose and saved yourself a few bucks.

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to info@odonnellbros.com with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.

Beautify Your Yard with These Alternative Landscaping Trends

Chelsea O'Donnell

While beautiful grass is often considered to be a homeowners pride and joy, today we’re seeing lots of alternatives in landscape design that offer more dimension, better mixed-use opportunities, and less maintenance than the traditional green that we’ve come to know and love. With so many planting options and warmer weather stretching well into the later months of the year, now might be a great time to start planning a few refurbishments to give you a new look and better use of your outdoor space. Here are some ideas:

No More Mowing: For people who love the look of grass but can’t stand the maintenance, no mow “smart lawns” have begun cropping up as an option for residential spaces. Products such as Eco Lawn and No Mow Lawn Mix offer fast establishing grass that then grows slow, requiring only a few mows per year if any at all. Many of these products also thrive with minimal water and their deep seeded roots are able to grab nutrients, meaning less fertilization and chemical treatments.

Play Space: The rec room has always been a popular option for young families, but why not designate a place in the yard for fun too? For people who don’t like weeding, creating a designated area to enjoy games is a great way to entertain guests and keep kids occupied for hours. Popular choices include long sand or stone pits which can be used for horseshoes or cornhole, or paved areas that can double as a croquet or bocce court.

“Hygge” Time: One of the big trends of the year is creating a space dedicated to comfort, coziness, and mindfulness. “Hygge” (pronounced hue-gah) is a Scandinavian term that’s used to describe the feeling of comfort and coziness, which has become popular indoors in the form of meditation rooms and dedicated reading nooks. That concept is now making its way outside, with homeowners embracing the longer seasons of comfortable weather by building cozy fire pits and stone wall enclosed zen gardens for quiet contemplation.

Contained Gardens: Everyone loves the idea of homegrown fruits, vegetables, and herbs, but few of us have the time to prepare and look after a large garden. For a lower maintenance approach, try potting your favorites in large planters that you can place closer to the house. Tomatoes, herbs, peppers, and beans are all space savers that can survive and thrive in smaller containers.

Outdoor Living: Probably the biggest - and most expensive - ongoing trend is creating an additional living space outside of the house. From synthetic decking to full blown outdoor kitchens, more and more people want to come home and relax outside after a long day in the office. Pizza ovens, barbecue courtyards, and the ever famous outdoor bar are just some of the options that homeowners are continuing to invest in to enjoy now and add value potential to their home when it comes time to sell.

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to info@odonnellbros.com with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only