I don’t know what this past winter has been like where you live, but I’m pretty sure ours has lasted approximately three years. That’s what it feels like, anyway, and I for one am ready for spring to just get here already.
Working from home is great during the winter because you don’t have to get out in nasty weather, but it’s also terrible for the same reason. I hate the cold, so I’ve hardly left my house since Christmas.
The good news, friends, is that warmer weather will be here before we know it. Now is the perfect time to make a plan for tackling that sad, winter-ravaged lawn of yours and getting your yard ready for spring.
Get your yard ready for spring
If you’re anything like me, you tend to get so caught up in the “Yay it’s warm, let’s plant all the plants!” of it all once spring hits that you tend to skimp on the less fun maintenance jobs a bit.
It’s time to get your yard ready for spring. I’ve compiled some early spring tasks that will help us both get our yards into tip-top shape before we buy a single plant or set out that cute garden gnome.
1) Out with the old
The first step in getting your yard ready for spring is to get rid of all that dead, brown, ugly stuff to make room for the pretty, vibrant, green stuff you’ll plant later:
- Start by raking leaves and picking up any fallen branches or sticks that have accumulated over the winter. Pull up any weeds or dead plants from last year, too.
- Generally speaking, the best time to trim plants is when they’re dormant, so late winter is the opportune time.
- Tackle rose bushes first. They can be pruned even when temperatures are still below freezing, though you may want to wrap or cover them until it warms up a bit. I like this video for a quick tutorial on pruning a rose bush. The guy in the video’s job title is Master Rosarian, so he definitely knows what he’s doing.
- Next, trim any established trees and shrubs, including evergreens. Remove dead branches and trim back any recent growth that’s throwing off your desired shape. Use manual tools as much as possible to avoid stressing the plant.
- Go ahead and prune summer-blooming plants, like butterfly bushes, but wait to prune spring bloomers, like lilac, as they are already or soon to be in an active growing stage. Prune those just after their blooms have died off.
- Next, trim flowering perennials to about 5 inches from the ground and ornamental grass to about 3 inches from the ground.
2) Make sure your tools are ship-shape
- Look over all your outdoor tools. Clean, sharpen, and oil those that need it. Repair or replace any broken items.
- Ensure that your lawnmower is in good working condition now, before it becomes a real problem later. If you’re not mechanically inclined, take your mower and any other motorized equipment to a professional for a tune up and blade sharpening. Doing this early also means you’ll beat the crowd, as these places are usually slammed in late spring.
- If you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, there are tons of online tutorials to help you get your mower ready for spring.
3) Check structures for problem areas
Inspect any fences, decks, sheds, arbors, gazebos, etc. Is anything broken or rotted? Are any boards so warped that they present a trip hazard? Get those repairs made now.
What about patios and walkways? Spray or sweep away debris and look for damage. Reset pavers that have been displaced during the freeze-thaw cycle. Patch cracks, and if you have any bare patches of gravel in your driveway, go ahead and order that now too.
4) Look for the squeaky wheel
We all have those problem areas in our yard that we just really don’t want to deal with, but now, while everything is still dormant, is the perfect time to finally take it on. Assess your yard: do you have drainage issues in one or more spots? Is there a bed or structure that needs to be removed or redone? Are branches from one of your trees getting a little too friendly with the roof of the garage?
You don’t have to solve every problem now, but you should start getting a plan in place. Research possible solutions, figure up a budget if you plan to do it yourself, or get some estimates if you plan to hire a professional.
5) Tell your money where to go
Now that you’ve been over your lawn with a fine-tooth comb, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’ll need once planting season starts. Start budgeting for that now.
Don’t do what I usually do, which is buy a bunch of stuff because it’s on sale and I think I’ll need it, then let it sit in my garage for three years before throwing it out.
Really take the time to assess your needs. Divide your list into absolutely-must-have items and maybe-if-there’s-room-in-the-budget items. Keep an eye out for sales and compare prices before making a purchase.
Once you’ve checked everything off this list, you can feel confident that you’re ready to make your yard the envy of the neighborhood once warmer weather is really under way.
What are your plans for your lawn or garden this year? Tell me in the comments!