Just as you “spring clean” the inside of your house, you should also freshen up the outside. The temperatures are finally warm enough to enjoy the outdoors so it’s the perfect time to do it. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the best looking yard in the neighborhood this summer.
The first step is to clean up after the cold winter. Work on removing the pine cones, acorns, twigs and branches that have fallen, and especially any litter that’s been deposited in the yard over the course of winter. After you’ve picked all that up, bring out the rake and remove all the fallen leaves in your yard and flower beds. Spring cleaning outdoors can be fun once you get through the nitty gritty part of readying your lawn.
Starting from the ground up, you want to test your soil and fertilize your lawn. You can get your soil tested by the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) for only $10 and receive your results within a week of submission. It will tell you if your soil has the proper pH balance and mix of nutrients. Slow-release lawn fertilizers are the best to apply on your grass because they aren’t as harsh. Make sure you read the label on the fertilizer bag to know how much fertilizer to use for optimal results, and always check the local agricultural extension office for limits on when, what kind, and how much fertilizer you can apply.
The next step is weed control. There are two categories of weeds: annuals and perennials. Annual means they sprout anew each year, and perennial means they come back year after year and don’t die out with the season. Spring is the perfect time to apply weed-control products. Try to apply weed-control two weeks before the top of the soil reaches about 55 degrees. A small hint is to look for Forsythia bushes—when they start blooming is the ideal time to apply it.
If you already have a planting bed in place, you want to start by tidying up. Rake the leaves out and remove the weeds as you encounter them. Edging your lawn and cutting your flower beds will help ensure that weeds don’t kill your flowers and plans. It also makes it a lot easier to mow and trim the grass without ruining your beds. If you’re creating a new planting bed you can start by using a tiller to break new ground or building raised beds. Early spring is a good time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennial flowers.
One of the easiest ways to make a yard look put together is by having about an inch-thick layer of fresh mulch around trees and in plant beds. It not only looks great, but it helps the soil retain its moisture and keeps the roots cool in the hot summer. Over time, the mulch will decompose and create organic materials that increase your soil’s fertility. So, don’t hesitate on adding mulch to your yard’s trees and bushes.
Now that you have some tips for your landscaping projects, it’s time to get busy! You’ll be surprised how much you enjoy your landscaping once you plan it in advance. Call your friends and family and enjoy the outdoors together because before you know it, summer will be here.