A Step-by-Step Guide to Spring Yard Maintenance

There is a lot of outdoor maintenance to stay on top of in the springtime. Our detailed guide will keep you on-task and help you prepare your yard for the summer ahead.

Perform a Thorough Yard Clean-Up

After winter, every yard could use a good cleaning.

  • Go through your irrigation system to check for loose lines caused by repeated freezing and thawing.
  • Use a leaf blower to gather any leaves and other yard debris, and collect it in large yard waste bags.
  • Remove burlap added in the fall from around any trees or shrubs.
  • Clean your home’s exterior with a pressure washer, using a recommended PSI of 1200-3000.
  • Test the pressure on a corner of the siding first to ensure that it is not too high.
  • Avoid power washing window screens.
  • Check that your garden hose is in good condition before using it with your pressure washer.
Tree, Hedge, and Perennial Pruning
Trees, Hedges, and Bushes

Early spring is the time to prune any tree branches, bushes, or hedges that dried up during winter.

  • Hedges should be trimmed yearly with a hedge trimmer. Make sure to be gentle on smaller hedges.
  • Use a pruning saw for large shrubs or small trees.
  • Chainsaws allow for quick tree trimming but should not be used past shoulder height.
  • Use a telescopic pole saw to cut small branches that are out of your reach.
  • For branches over half an inch in diameter, use a bow saw.
  • Cut away unwanted shoots at branch intersections.
  • Prune evergreen trees to their lateral branches.
  • Blooming shrubs like forsythia should be pruned after they begin to flower.
  • Provide deep root feeding for tree roots, particularly those that are not yet established.
  • Do not trim away more than one-third of a tree.
  • For large trees and branches, hire a licensed and insured arborist.
Perennial Plants

Get ready for the new growth season by trimming your perennials to encourage a beautiful bloom.

  • Prepare for pruning by making sure you have gloves, a lopper trimmer, a bypass hand pruner, a tool bag, a wastebasket, plant ties, and knee pads.
  • Perennials should be trimmed to a height of 4"-5".
  • If you have ornamental grasses, trim them to about 2"-3".
  • Transplant any hostas or daylilies, leaving three stems per clump at minimum.
  • Remove older woody canes from climbing plants and use textile fasteners or jute twine for reshaping.
  • Avoid spreading shrub disease with a homemade solution of equal parts rubbing alcohol and water. Put the solution in a spray bottle and apply it to your pruners after each cut.
Rose Bushes

If you have rose bushes planted in your yard, a good pruning will ensure healthy growth when temperatures increase.

  • Trim rose canes down to 1" past blackened areas.
  • Repeat-blooming rose bush varieties are best trimmed in early spring.
  • Deter insects by applying a dab of wood glue to pruned cane ends.
Start Lawn Care Maintenance Early

By getting an early start on your lawn care routine, you can ensure a green and healthy lawn all through the growing season.

  • Remove any turf damaged by disease, plows, or salt over the winter. Plant new grass seed in bare spots.
  • Grass seeding can start once the temperature is warm and there is no more chance of frost.
  • Crabgrass treatment can also be applied in early spring once it starts getting warm.
  • Check your soil’s pH level to determine if you should add any amendments.
  • Add lawn fertilizers using a spreader once temperatures start to remain regularly warm.
  • If you need to seed new grass and treat weeds, plant the grass seed first and treat your lawn for weeds a couple weeks later. Remember that seeding can be done in the fall as well.
  • Prep your lawn mower and start mowing when the grass is at least 2" tall. Be sure not to cut more than one-third of the length of the blades.
Remove Any Weeds You Find

Getting rid of weeds early will stop them from spreading across your lawn.

  • Make sure to pull up any noticeable dandelions using a weeder to prevent them from seeding.
  • Avoid putting weeds in your compost pile. They may be able to sprout and cause reseeding.
Inspect Your Outdoor Spigots

Outdoor spigots can sustain freeze damage over the winter and should be checked before use.

  • Hold your thumb over the spigot and turn on the water. If your thumb can stop the flow, then there is likely damage.
  • Make sure to also inspect your garden hose for damage and holes, and replace it if necessary.
Prepare Flower Beds and Borders

Get your soil ready for fresh plantings by cleaning the flower beds and flower borders.

  • Pull up annuals if you did not do so in the fall.
  • Remove leaves and dead foliage with a rake.
  • Remove old mulch and add in new mulch.
  • If any plants were frost-heaved, push down their roots.
  • Apply fertilizer specific to the flowers in the bed and 5-10-10 fertilizer for bulbs.
  • Give your flower beds a clean-edged finish using a square-head shovel.
  • Consider choosing a wheelbarrow to help carry your gardening tools and supplies.
Gather Your Lawn and Landscaping Tools

Get your tools out of winter storage so that they are easily accessible whenever you need them.

  • Make sure you have all the right tools to get your lawn ready for spring.
  • Examine your tools to see if any of them need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Have your tools properly repaired or maintained.
  • Give your tools a careful and thorough cleaning.
  • Start up your power tools to make sure they work
Prepare Your Lawn Mower

Get your soil ready for fresh plantings by cleaning the flower beds and flower borders.

  • Pull up annuals if you did not do so in the fall.
  • Remove leaves and dead foliage with a rake.
  • Remove old mulch and add in new mulch.
  • If any plants were frost-heaved, push down their roots.
  • Apply fertilizer specific to the flowers in the bed and 5-10-10 fertilizer for bulbs.
  • Give your flower beds a clean-edged finish using a square-head shovel.
  • Consider choosing a wheelbarrow to help carry your gardening tools and supplies.
Ensure Your Retaining Walls are Stable

Bulges or loose areas on retaining walls signify the need for structural repair.

  • Clear weep holes so that water backed up behind the retaining wall has a path to drain.
  • Consult a professional for persistent retaining wall issues.
Give Your Patio Furniture a Cleaning

Use cold and soapy water to get your patio furniture ready for the season. Finish with a thorough rinse.

  • Clean any cushions and fabrics according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Tighten fasteners and oil any aluminum glides, swivels, joints, and hinges.
  • Go over rusted areas with sandpaper.
  • Use rust-inhibiting primer and paint to refresh metal furniture.
  • Treat unpainted metal surfaces yearly with paste or liquid wax.
  • Use epoxy resin or wood filler to fill cracks in wood furniture frames. Let the filler dry before sanding and sealing it.
Keep Outdoor Wood Structures Maintained

Regular maintenance will ensure that your deck and other wood structures remain stable and safe.

  • Scrub wood structures and get them looking fresh and clean with a mix of 2 quarts of bleach, 1 cup of liquid soap, and 2 gallons of water.
  • When you need to repaint, start by sanding off the old paint with 60-grit paper. Only begin painting when temperatures are expected to stay above 10 degrees C (50 degrees F).
  • If structural supports like pickets, porch supports, siding, lattice, and soffit boards are rotted or damaged, they should be removed.
  • Install new wood in areas that require it.
  • Check for loose fence posts and secure those that are unstable.
  • Patch rotted areas using wood epoxy.
  • Use automobile body filler to fix water damage on shutters, trim, and other non-structural items. After filling in the damage, simply sand and repaint it.
Replenish Your Footpaths

Tidy footpaths are safer to walk on and have a more appealing look.

  • Rake scattered aggregate back into patios and walkways.
  • If certain areas are getting sparse, add more gravel.
  • Add more sand or stone dust between your flagstones.
  • Pavers can move out of place over time. Remove the paver, fill the base material, and reset the stone.
  • If the stones are damaged, choose new paving stones to upgrade your footpath.
  • Leaf stains and algae spots can be removed using a power washer fitted with a low-pressure tip.
Carry out Regular Grill Maintenance

Get ready for outdoor cooking with some basic grill maintenance.

  • Prepare your gas grill by securing the hoses and connections; cleaning out the burner jets to prevent clogging; and replacing a low propane tank.
  • Prepare your charcoal grill by giving it a thorough cleaning with quality barbecue cleaning tools. Make sure you remove any grease residue and last year’s grilling remnants.
  • Prepare your pellet grill by removing ash, scraping away any grease, and giving the surface a good wash.
  • When you need a new barbecue, take the time to consider your options and choose the best one for you.

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