We’re back with more tips for refreshing the exterior areas of your home! If you missed the previous articles in this series, check out info on painting your home’s exterior brick and tips for a timely and effective spring power washing session.
Spring is a very important time of year for your landscaping maintenance. Helping your landscaping transition from winter to summer will enable you to keep your lawn and home looking their best.
Good old-fashioned tidying
It isn’t glamorous, but it’s the little things that can make a huge difference in the way your landscape looks and feels. Sprucing up your outdoor space starts with picking up around your yard; just a few simple tasks will make a big impact.
Clean up fallen branches, forgotten toys, and anything else out of place. Then check on hardscaping elements and water features. You can use a pressure washer to remove dirt and mildew on your driveway, sidewalks and other landscape items.
Look for any plants with problems that may have been exacerbated by the cold, dry winter. Remove dead or diseased branches, check for rot or fungus, and repair patches of grass as needed. You should also trim the overgrowth of hedges and ground-cover plants in beds (see more below). These simple fixes are the best way to protect the investment you’ve made in your professional landscaping.
Maintaining your beds
Plant beds are one of the most attractive elements of your landscape design; keep them growing well and looking great by caring for them in the spring.
First, check the health of all your bedding plants; trim and prune depending on the needs of your specific plants. Next, check the mulch. Pick up a piece and observe its deterioration; if it falls apart easily in your hands, it’s mostly decomposed and will require a fresh layer. If it held its shape and there’s no sign of mildew or fungus, then it’s okay to use for another season.
Once you’ve determined that your existing plants are in good shape, it’s time to consider whether you’d like to add or remove any plants. A professional landscape designer can help you maximize the space in your beds and select the appropriate plants for your yard so that you can have blooms throughout the year, but there are also great DIY books and blogs with recommendations and tips for your hardiness zone.
Weeding is a tiresome chore that starts in early spring and continues right up until late fall. Here are some tips to help make the job of weeding a little less difficult:
- Weeds germinate under the soil, so try and move as little soil as possible when removing them so as not to encourage more weed growth.
- Fresh mulch helps plants grow while making it difficult for weeds to get the nutrients they need.
- Weeds come out much better after a fresh rain, making it easier to get to the entire root.
- Keep your plants close together. Not allowing the soil much sun exposure will help reduce weed growth.
Maintaining your lawn and shrubs
A beautiful landscape always includes a well-manicured lawn, which requires the same fertilization and maintenance as your garden. Aeration of your grass is important – it involves placing small holes in the lawn to allow air, water, and soil to reach previously compacted areas. After aeration, re-seed your lawn if needed, and then water, fertilize and mow as required. The pros recommended you fertilize your lawn every 8 weeks.
Shrubs are a great way to add greenery all around the exterior of your home. When planting shrubs, consider choosing varieties local to your area – this helps improve the likelihood that they’ll survive and mature. Shrubbery requires pruning, watering, and feeding from early spring until late summer; this is especially important for shrubs with blooms!
Pruning shrubs is the most common way to help a garden remain fresh-looking and well-manicured. Shape and prune your shrubs to keep them maintained in the shape and style of your garden; don’t worry about over-pruning shrubs that are well established but do limit pruning of shrubs that have just been planted or recently moved. Once a shrub has had time to grow strong roots you can begin to prune it more regularly.
Bring on the butterflies, birds & bees
If you want to enjoy the benefits of pollinators in your yard this spring, then think about how you can make your yard more hospitable to them.
- Using native plants in your landscape will ensure that you’re a great host to pollinators of all kinds.
- Flowers clustered into clumps of one species will attract more pollinators than individual plants scattered through the habitat patch. Where space allows, make the clumps four feet or more in diameter.
- Most pesticides are not selective. You are killing off the beneficial bugs along with the pests. If you must use a pesticide, start with the least toxic one and follow the label instructions to the letter.
- Plants like lantana, rudbeckia, and daylilies will attract butterflies. See a huge list of the plants pollinators love here.
- Hummingbirds also love water; consider adding a pond or other water feature to provide them with a cool spot in the spring and summer.
- Choose several colors of flowers. Bees have good color vision to help them find flowers and the nectar and pollen they offer. Flower colors that particularly attract bees are blue, purple, violet, white, and yellow.
Add or repair hardscaping
If you have existing hardscaping, inspect those elements for pieces that are broken or out of place. Paths, walkways, and bed borders should be clean and in good repair. In addition to being unsightly, loose or broken hardscaping can be a safety hazard.
Look for places in your landscape that are bare due to traffic or shade, and consider adding hardscaping to these areas. Here are just a few ideas:
- Gravel, landscape block, stone, or mulch can be used to create a nice path through your yard.
- Installing a new Pond.
- Creating a Zen garden or garden focal point.
- Shrubs that can tolerate shade.
Shrubs are usually a low-maintenance option and can be used to line a garden, create fencing, or enhance the visuals of your landscaped areas.
Evergreen shrubs are available in many styles and sizes to enhance the design of an outdoor landscape, giving the space a naturally fresh and lush feel. Many shrubs provide beautiful blooms as well! These include popular varieties like azaleas, roses, hydrangeas, peonies, and camellias. You can find beautiful flowering shrubs in almost any color and size to enhance your landscapes.
Larger landscape edits
There are many great ways to improve the look and design of your backyard this spring. Pro landscapers suggest you start by choosing a focal point for your yard and then designing your landscape around it. Some focal point ideas include:
A landscape redesign often means moving large objects around, especially large trees. Tree removal is a great way to open up space in your yard or remove unwanted leaves in the fall. Some of the best landscape design ideas include lots of open space and clean lines. Removing a tree can certainly be difficult but is possible with a chainsaw – as well as a serious focus on safety. When removing a large tree yourself, it’s important to do so in pieces, as cutting the tree at the base is likely to cause damage to a home or nearby structure. Remove the tree branch by branch to control its fall. If you have any concerns, we recommend hiring a reputable tree removal service in your area – be sure to read their online reviews or talk with someone who has used their services in the past. Neighbors are always a great resource!
After you’ve refreshed your landscaped areas, it’s time to enjoy it; go pour yourself a lemonade, grab a blanket or lawn chair, and admire that gorgeous yard.
Look for more home exterior articles coming in the next several weeks, and please let us know if there are any topics you’d like us to cover and share!