Quick landscaping fixes

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Quick landscaping fixes that keep you out of trouble and save you money

Q: I noticed your article on annual landscape maintenance (Jan/Feb 2013). This is timely as I just added some new plants to my landscape this past weekend and made my first cut this morning!

Where I live, in the Pacific Northwest, it rarely rains. I don’t know how long it’s going to be sunny out, and I don’t know how many more times I’ll need to mulch or add a shovel of fertilizer. What I do know is that the “groundhog part” of the year will be coming to an end soon.

My yard is in need of some TLC, and now is the perfect time to do some landscaping fixes for 2014! I’ve been reading your site for a couple of years now, and love the practical information and advice you give. I can’t wait to hear your input on this one, and all the comments I read on it are so helpful.

With that in mind, here’s the question I have. I’m an avid reader, and usually pull some recipes out of your site and make them right after I read about them. I have a brand new Xcelsior 1820 vacuum that’s getting a bit weary in my spare time, but I don’t have the money to purchase a new one. A good friend of mine has told me that his dad cleans his hot tub filters with a vacuum cleaner. He keeps it out in the garage, and says it works great.

Could I possibly put a 1/2 gallon receptacle on my end of the hose, and push it through the door to the hot tub? My husband would love this idea, and the other rooms in the house, as it gets terrible grime out of the air. He wouldn’t be too shocked to see me doing this either, so it won’t be weird.

Just to give you an idea of what he’s doing now, his hot tub filters are filthy. He’s just moving the hose from a gas pump into the hot tub. It will take at least four people’s effort to get this going, and if it takes that long, it means something must be plugged. That means chemicals and fertilizer residue, so an old vacuum wouldn’t work. He was thinking the 4in. hose would work fine, but I told him he’s not going to make it through the door. He’s thinking about picking up a 20 or 24 inch hose and getting a pump. I think it would be a great idea for me. I have a double layered hose that runs from the pump, into my bathtub, and then out of the bathtub. It works great! It’s 8 feet long, with an 8 ft. hose. I even have to fix the hose occasionally when it gets messed up. The bathroom door doesn’t even come close to the tub, so it’s not an issue there. He also doesn’t have the money for a new one, so this will work great!

Does this make sense? I have read all of the comments and the blog, and I’m very glad I did. I plan to experiment this weekend. I’m already planning to save a ton of money with these fixes.

Thanks for your time, and for writing such a practical site. We love it!

A: I’ll be your guinea pig for this one, and since it involves a hose connected to a hot tub, I’m going to call it Guerrilla Herb and Grime Control!

The beauty of hot tubs is that they’re typically much easier to clean. The filters are much simpler than a typical landscape, and are a whole lot easier to clean. Often, the hot tub will come with a vacuum hose, and some filter cleaning solution (like water and a scouring pad), or a manual that will help you clean it.

Here’s what my dad does when he needs to clean his hot tub filters. He just connects the hose to the bottom of the tub, and then goes to his garage and gets an old vac. He’ll pick up the hose, and run it to the base of the tub. He then turns on the vac, and makes a vacuum by blowing into the hose. The way this works is that when the hose gets filled with air (when he sucks, for example), it makes a vacuum. He usually pulls the air back into the tank when he’s done. I use my standing vac (mentioned above) when I get the hose hooked up, but I’m guessing you could easily find an upright vacuum that would be a more appropriate tool for the job.

It’s hard to say for certain whether an upright or canister would be better for the job, since my dad just runs the hose, but I think a canister would be much more suited for it, since you wouldn’t have the hose itself to worry about (since you’re emptying the hose). That being said, since you mentioned that the hose is pretty long, I’d imagine an upright might actually be more suitable for the job than a canister. It would be nice to be able to hook it up, but it’s just the hose you’re dealing with, right?

Since the hose gets filled with water, any particles would get sucked in. I know you said there are other ways to clean your hot tub filters, but the hose with a vacuum in it makes it way easier.

I imagine your husband will be really happy with this method. He’ll save a ton of money on fertilizers and chemicals, since he’ll be getting the filters super clean.

I hope that helps, and don’t hesitate to contact me if I can answer any more questions. Good luck!

Q: I just inherited an artificial herb garden, and I don’t have

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