The weather is finally starting to warm up here in the northern hemisphere, and now is a great time to start cleaning up your home’s exterior spaces. This winter was hard on many landscapes, and there may be more work than usual for you this spring. Try to keep an organized approach to the work ahead of you to keep from feeling overwhelmed.
- Make a plan. You don’t have to tackle all of your yard’s to-do items in one weekend. You can draw a map of your yard and section it into pieces, like a puzzle. Then, on your calendar, schedule three or four hour blocks of time for when you can focus on each section. Or, make a to-do list of all the work that needs to be completed and schedule the tasks on your calendar.
- Talk with your neighbors. See what everyone has on deck this year and see if you can collaborate on any projects. Our old neighborhood would go in together each spring to pay for the rental of a wood chipper. We’d then use the wood chips for mulch and save money a second time.
- Start with sticks and leaves. Simply clearing sticks and dead leaves from your yard can make a huge difference in its appearance. Once these items are gone, you can get a good look at all the work you’ll want to do.
- If you plan to pay a service or neighborhood kid to mow your lawn, make this reservation now (if you haven’t already). Schedules will fill up quickly the warmer it gets. If you plan to mow your lawn yourself, block this weekly time commitment on your calendar now.
- Kill unwanted plants now, plant new ones in the fall. A layer of newspaper covered with mulch over the top of unwanted plants will kill the plants and keep you from having to weed and water this section of your yard this summer. In the fall, plant new foliage in this area so it will all be ready to go next spring.
- As plants, trees, and shrubs begin to bud, you’ll be able to tell which ones survived the winter and which ones didn’t. You may wish to hire a professional tree removal service for large trees and bushes. Smaller plants can often just be removed by hand and thrown in the compost bin or trash.
- Make a date to weed once a week. Block off 15 to 30 minutes each week to attend to weeding your yard. The pesky blokes poke up in sidewalk cracks, the middle of your garden, and even the center of your lawn without any previous indication. Giving yourself time each week to address the weeds will keep them from overwhelming your yard.
- Know your limits. If you aren’t into yard work, hire someone else to tend to it. If you have a green thumb and love to spend time outdoors, be realistic about what you can tend to with your other responsibilities. Although I would love a beautiful English or Japanese style garden, I know I wouldn’t be able to give a garden like that the attention it deserves. So, I visit the arboretum and keep things low-key at home.
What is your plan for your yard this summer? Share your ideas in the comments.