Spending a weekend cleaning and decluttering the home is a common ritual in spring. Something about tossing old junk and clearing out open space feels so rejuvenating. While we often get caught up in tidying the insides of our homes, we may sometimes forget to pay attention to our backyards. Spring is the perfect time to clear out debris and freshen up our gardens in preparation for the growing season, so once things start to warm up outside, we can set ourselves up for a beautiful summer by setting aside some time to tackle our spring yard clean up.
A good outdoor spring clean up has two main goals: cleaning and restoration. To keep our lawn healthy and make sure each blade of grass is getting enough sunlight, it’s important to thoroughly clean out any leftover debris from the previous year that has been sitting under the snow all winter. Any bare patches or yellow spots that appear in the grass should be treated, so our lawns will be lush and green by summertime.
We can begin our yard cleanups by raking all the old autumn leaves. We can either dispose of them or use them as mulch for your garden soil. Toss out any sticks lying around, and make sure nothing is blocking your grass from getting good sun and air circulation. Raking also helps to loosen up the soil a bit, so it’s good preparation for the second step: reseeding the lawn.
Add grass seed to all the yellow or bare patches in the lawn. If there are several patches, or if the whole lawn is looking kind of sparse, just apply a layer of seed to the entire yard. Don’t cut it for a while, because you want to make sure it’s well rooted before going at it with the lawnmower. Once the new growth reaches 2 inches in height, we should be good to go. Try not to cut it too short— no more than 1/3 of the grass blades should get cut at a time.
Winter can be harsh on our gardens, and oftentimes soil amendments and nutrients get depleted. To give your garden bed a fresh start, begin by mixing in some compost or fertilizer into the soil to achieve a healthy balance of good bacteria for your plants. Help seal in moisture and protect your soil from pests by applying a fresh layer of mulch around the base of your flowers and plants, being careful not to pile it up around the stems in a mound.
For those of us who have shrubs or flowering trees, pruning is definitely something you should consider in the spring to promote new healthy growth and keep them looking tidy. Trees and shrubs that bloom in the summer should be pruned in the early spring. This way, the fresh blooms in summer can grow on new wood. Spring-blooming trees and shrubs naturally blossom on old wood, so it’s counter-productive to prune them in early spring because we could end up nipping away at undeveloped flowers and it won’t lead to any new growth.
While perennials in our garden come back every year without having to replant them, it’s a good idea to dig some of them back up and divide them by the roots. If our perennials start to expand and bloom quite a lot, some of the older growth in the middle can get weaker over time. To fix this, delicately splitting the flowers from the base of the root ball and replanting them will ensure lots of new growth appears on each cut side. Plus, we’re left with two plants instead of one!
- If the cold temperatures and wind have worn away at anything in our backyards over the winter, we’ll want to take on those repairs sooner rather than later.
- Wipe down outdoor furniture so it’s ready to use .
- Spruce up the patio by adding accents like hanging lights.
- While it takes some time, re-staining the deck can really brighten up the space.
- Consider moving potted plants back outside so they can soak up some sun.
Getting back into the swing of gardening is one of the most fun parts of spring, but taking the time to get prepared and clean up our yards first is important. Not only does it ensure our outdoor living areas look great, but it makes it a safer space for us and our families to spend time in.