Top 10 Things to Get Your Backyard Haven Ready for Spring

It’s hard to believe with the winter we’ve been having in much of the country, but Spring is right around the corner so I thought I’d resurrect this post to get us thinking about it.

Here’s a list of a few things to prepare your outdoor, at-home sanctuary.

photo courtesy of poolandpatio.about.com

photo courtesy of poolandpatio.about.com

1.  Survey the damge.

  • Inspect the property.
  • Check the integrity and condition of things.
  • Is there mold on your wooden deck?
  • Are there cracks in the swimming pool?
  • Are there dead plants or trees that need to be replaced?
  • Is there anything else that doesn’t look right?
  • Devise a plan to address any issues.

2.  Lawn – generally doesn’t start growing until about one month into Spring.

  • Once the lawn is dry use a rake or thatcher to remove any dead patches. If the lawn is thick and spongy an overall thatching may be in order. Seed the dead spots.
  • Apply fertilizer to activate growth and crabgrass control. Check online for organic lawn care options.
  • Timing will depend on the zone you live in. Need help finding your zone? Click here.

3.  Prune perennial plants.

photo courtesy of installitdirect.com

photo courtesy of installitdirect.com

  • Perennial plants survive the cold weather because of their underground root system. As they return to life trim them back if you haven’t already done so in the fall, to promote healthy growth.
  • Ornamental grasses, Russian Sage, Black-Eyed Susans, and Butterfly Bushes should be pruned in Spring. Timing is crucial.
  • Woody ornamentals like Lavendar should be pruned in late Spring.
  • Improper pruning is a common mistakes among first-time gardeners. Research the timing and exactly how to trim your particular species online.

4.  Fertilize plants.

  • Nourish plants.
  • Composting – there’s an increase in composting with the green movement – a great option for natural fertilizing.
  • Animal manure is good fertilizer and is in ready-to-use form at your local nursery. Talk to them about the right fertilizer for your goal. I use a 10-10-10 formulation in my garden, which is a fertilizer with an equal balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • Osmocote helps balance the soil, Plantone is good for perennials, while Perlite prevents the reduction of the soil and promotes pore space and root expansion.

5.  Plant and transplant.

photo courtesy of landscape.com

photo courtesy of landscape.com

  • Add some color during Spring clean-up with cool-temp-tolerant annuals like pansies, violas, and primroses.
  • Spring is the window to move or to split perennials and add to other areas or share with friends.
  • Defend against bugs.
  • Now’s the time to pro-actively prevent the pests from ruining your barbeque.
  • There are lots of pesticide options from spraying fine dust to adding lady bugs to control other insects.
  • Environmentally friendly options are also available including insecticidal soap and hot pepper wax spray – check online for the best options for you.

6.  Check sprinklers.

  • Starting first week of May, water garden/lawn 30 minutes each day in the morning or evening. Increase it to two times per day in June.
  • Set timers and make sure they are working properly. Some timers/clocks adjust the level of watering according to the weather.
  • Switching to low volume sprinkler heads will help save money and conserve water.

7.  Gutter check.

  • wait until about the third week in May to clean or after the pollen has fallen, which can clog gutters
  • clean debris out and wash the gutters.

    photo courtesy of 1stoplighting.com

    photo courtesy of 1stoplighting.com

8.  Improve lighting, decks, pathways.

  • Lighting pathways has never been easier with all the options on the market now – some very affordable. The solar pathway lights I bought a two seasons ago are still going strong and look great.
  • Replace spotlights with fiber optic spotlights. They come in a variety of colors and some can be placed in water features to add interest.
  • Re-stain wood decks.

9.  Prep pool.

  • It may be too soon to swim, but some open the pool now just for looks and to beat the crowd for service and toavoid long lines at the pool supply store.
  • photo courtesy of atlantispoolsandspas.com

    photo courtesy of atlantispoolsandspas.com

    Assess the water. Anything in it? Any algae growing? I just read a story of a gentleman on the east coast in the hurricane zone that found fish in his pool that survived the winter!

  • Make sure the filter and pump are in working order. Start with clean cartridges or grids. Replace filters if they show signs of wear. Don’t know what filter you have? Use the Filter Finder.

10.  Test pH levels and use the hot tub.

  • Have special features such as waterfalls, fountains, infinity edges, drain covers, lighting, and tile surfaces inspected annually by a pool pro so small issues can be resolved before they become big issues and interrupt your pool time during the season

Do these things early and when that warm air finally blows in you’ll be set to recline in your favorite lounger and enjoy your oasis. Here’s to better weather ahead!

 

 

 

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