General, Lawn, Maintenance

Low-Budget Backyard Fix

Part One: Ants, Weeds and Something Pretty

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Spring is HERE, y’all. It’s been here for a minute, right? It’s our first spring in our current rent house, and my yard is a great size. The only problem is, it’s overrun by ants. They are everywhere. And where there aren’t ants, there are clovers. Some people like clovers, and I do too, but not an entire yard of them.  Something’s got to change.

Related Post: Creating a Backyard Your Kids Will Enjoy

I decided to start a new series: Low-Budget Backyard Fix. If you’re reading this, welcome to part one: Ants, Weeds, and something pretty.

Low-Budget Backyard Fix - The Southern Smiths:

Today, my lawn guy came. He comes every other week and does amazing work. He edges the sidewalks and weed eats around the swing set. He’ll even clear the yard himself if I forget, moving the kids playhouse and toys to the patio. As I was checking the work today and offering him water, I decided today was the day. I was finally going to take care of my yard. With that declaration, I loaded up the kids and headed to the store.

Dollar General Backyard Fix - The Southern Smiths

What I Got

I had to start completely over with my lawn supplies, so I picked up:

Hand Tools:
A trowel
A spade
A hand rake
Garden Hose Nozzle
Gardening Gloves (1 Pair)

Then, for the yard, I grabbed
7lbs of Mound Destroyer (Cheaper at my local Dollar General, $5 for a 3.5lb bag)
2 bottles of Weed Stop For Lawns (Cheaper at my local Walmart, $5 a bottle)

Something pretty (revealed at the end!) for my hard work

Total Spent: $38.98

Where to start: Ants

Ant Problem? Get rid of the once and for all!

Mainly because they’ve become the bane of my existence, I started with the ant killer. It doesn’t require wearing gloves, but I’m a baby so I decided to. According to this specific type, the steps are:

Ant Killer The Southern SmithsStep One: Measure

For this brand, you measure 1/2 cup per fire ant mound, or 1 to 1 1/2tsp for regular ant mounds. I’m not sure what I have, so I used 1/2cup on everything I saw. Like please go away!

Ant Killer - The Southern SmithsStep Two: Spread

Sprinkle the granules on the mound and around by two feet.


Step Three: Water

Water in granules immediately after applying, you want to use at least a gallon of water for each mound. Don’t apply within 24 hours of rain, and don’t let the granules run off from the target site.

According to the package, the best times for use are early morning or evening hours. Gently applying the water is super important, you don’t want to cause migration.

I did areas in both my back and front yards, and the activity difference is immediate. I’ll be back next week to compare if they’re still gone.



Lawn-Safe Weed KillerI know, I’m a horrible person for wanting the clovers gone. Yes, I know they’re bee food. Yes, I know the bees are dying. But so is my family if stung by one. My Aunt literally has an epipen on her at all times. My best friend is allergic. Plus, the giant ones scare the kids. I cannot keep the clovers and enjoy my backyard. I do intend to make a back flower bed along the fence with a bee house behind the shed. Where they can stay far away from the active side of the yard.

Related Post: How to Keep Weeds Off Your Lawn

Since that’s out of the way, the number one thing I was searching for was a lawn-safe weed killer. I didn’t want the ones for sidewalks and driveways, I wanted a full lawn application that wouldn’t kill my grass (or break the bank because, hello I’m broke). I found Weed Stop For Lawns in a quick google search, and my local Walmart happened to have it in stock. So, for this stuff:

Step One: Attach the Water Hose

I’ve never used a weed killer, so I thought this was pretty cool. You just screw it on like any hose attachment.  Getting it started is a little difficult, but the seal worked well and didn’t leak before I started spraying!

Step Two: Spray

Once you figure out the safety catch on yours, this sucker goes nuts. The pressure from this was better than the pressure on my regular attachment! Spray in an even sweeping motion, starting from the far side of your yard and working backwards. Word to the wise: check the direction of the wind first.

According to reviews, this stuff will take a day or two to start seeing results. I’ll be sure to include updates with next weeks post as well. It’s not pet safe or kid safe, and it also says to make sure not to use it within 24 hours of rain or if it will be raining soon.


Something Pretty: Hummingbird Feeders!

Who doesn’t want to sit and watch hummingbird outside the window? My grandmother’s house is surrounded with feeders, and there are always so many birds. They’re so comfortable, you’ll see one right next to you on the porch! I want that for my kids, so I decided to start with these window-suctioned hummingbird feeders.

What I Got:

3 window mounted hummingbird feeders

1 bag of hummingbird nectar mix

And then I got to work!

Step One: Mix the Nectar

The nectar I got is to be mixed at a 1:4 ratio. Each feeder I bought holds 2oz, so I rounded to 8oz and made a cup of nectar. That was 1/4 cup mix, and 1 cup water. I then filled the feeders and headed out side.

Step Two: Hang the Feeders!

My favorite part, a reward for my hard work done today. Pick your location. Don’t forget to clean the window first! Then, I wet the suction cups and stuck them to the window! Simple and done. Now is the hard part, waiting for the hummingbirds to find them. So far, nothing. But I know they’re around, I saw a few in the trees on the other side of the fence.

Come back next week for:

An update on the ants, weeds, and hummingbirds!

Plus: What are my plans for the yard? What projects do I have in mind? If the ant and weed killer worked, have I already added projects?


Your turn! Have you used any of the products I tried today? Do you have any tips for battling ants? Let me know in the comments below!


Low-Budget Backyard Fix - The Southern Smiths



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