By Mike Lessard
It’s May. Ever wonder why they call it May? This year we're starting to think it’s because summer may or may not come!
After a long cold winter, it’s been a really long spring. It’s hard to think about enjoying a cold drink on your patio, relaxing in your hammock, or entertaining your friends around the pool when it’s still cold, wet, and messy outside.
Last month, we encouraged you to take a walk around your property and start thinking about the work that needs to be done in the upcoming season. But now the daydream stage is over. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and really get to work!
Here are our top 10 pro tips for preparing your outdoors for another enjoyable season!
- Tackle the worst stuff first.
Get out there with a wheelbarrow and some yard waste bags. Always start by cleaning up the dog waste. Let me repeat that. Always start by cleaning up the dog waste. Like bad news, it spreads quickly!
- Branch out.
Now clean up the largest and most obvious debris. Have any branches fallen? Gather up the largest branches and twigs, bundle them up, and haul them away. While you're at it, take a look up. Are there any dead branches that need to come down. How about any trees or shrubs that need pruning? (Check online, or call our office to find out whether a spring pruning is appropriate!)
- Rake those leaves.
It’s really a fall job, but sometimes we have better things to do in November. If last year’s leaves are still on your lawn, get out the leaf rake and clean them up. Thick clumps of wet leaves can kill a lawn in a short time.
Now that your joints are all loosened up with raking, it’s time to dig a little deeper and dethatch your lawn. Too much thatch (dead grass) can really hinder your lawn’s new growth and leave you with dead patches. Renting a dethatching machine, or hiring a lawn service can make this job a lot easier (check out our landscape maintenance and mowing plans).
We could all benefit from breathing a little deeper. So can our lawns. Aerating is a great way to kickstart the growth of a healthy lawn, allowing air, water, and nutrients to get to the roots and encourage new growth. Don't be intimidated; the average lawn can be mechanically aerated in 30 minutes or less!
- Clean up your garden beds.
Remove last year’s annuals and cut away any dead leaves and stalks from your perennials with a pair of garden shears. Add some compost to get your perennials off to a strong start. And don’t forget to add mulch! A 2-inch layer of mulch will help your garden retain moisture and combat weeds.
- Clean your patio and decking.
Now that your greenery is shaping up, it’s time to turn your attention to your patio and stonework. Get out the power washer and start spraying! While you’re at it, be sure to Inspect any decks, fencing and sheds and take care of any repairs that need to be done. (Bonus Tip: Don’t hold the nozzle too close to the dirty surface. You can damage or remove protective surfaces from your things in a flash!)
- Prune your shrubs and trees.
Do any of your trees and shrubs need springtime pruning? Do a search online to learn more! Look up pruning guidelines for your perennial plants, shrubs, and trees. Prune the ones that should be tackled in the spring and make a note of which shrubs should wait. (Bonus Tip: Be careful not to start trimming and shaping live branches on flowering shrubs and trees, as they won’t bloom nicely in the spring if you cut off the living buds!)
- Inspect your waterworks.
Have a pond, fountain, pool or spa? Check that all of your pumps, filters and liners are all in good working condition. And while we’re thinking about water. Make sure all of your downspouts and rain barrels are set up to collect and divert water away from your foundation.
- Tune up those tools.
Now that you’ve had to root around in your garage or shed for your rakes and pruning shears, you may have noticed some other tools you’ll need to start using in a few weeks. Is your lawnmower in good working order? How about your weed trimmer? Take note of anything that needs repair or replacing. Then make plans to head out to the hardware store (and coffee shop) during the next rain shower.