10 Steps for Cleaning Up Your Yard After Winter

Winter can leave a pretty ugly mess in even the best-kept yards. There are many actions that you can take to beautify your outdoor space once spring finally makes its welcome appearance. Cleaning up the yard, taking care of your trees and plants and placing patio furniture outside are some of the most exciting events of the season even if it takes a lot of work!


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1.  Remove Debris

Unfortunately, some homeowners and renters have to worry about litterbugs, and dog or cat feces in their yards. If that’s the case, your first cleanup job should be removing and bagging up the dog or cat feces and garbage that was tossed into your lot over the winter. Next, pick up the fallen tree branches, larger sticks, pinecones and any other larger debris.

Once you have the larger items picked up it will be easier for you to see the smaller debris that needs attention. However, your yard will also start to look cleaner. Plus, you can use the sticks you pick up from your yard as kindling for your fire pit.


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 2.  Rake Small Debris for Compost

Take a small rake to clean up smaller debris such as small sticks, leaves and dead grasses. Optionally, you can place this in your compost pile. If not, you can bag it and take it to your local recycling center. Getting the small debris cleaned up will make your yard cleaner and easier to mow. It will also make it easier to start new landscaping projects.

 If you need to get a compost pile started, simply place some chain-link fencing in your compost spot so that it makes a 3-foot-by-3-foot area. From there you can begin your compost pile. You can compost things like vegetable peelings, grass cuttings, plant pruning debris, cardboard egg boxes, scrunched paper, small twigs, tea bags and fruit waste.


 

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3.  Trim and Prune

Trimming and pruning your worn bushes, trees, shrubbery, and plants that were left standing in the fall, as well as other winter-worn plants that need it will keep your landscape healthy and thriving for the warmer seasons.

 Please note that while you are pruning you should avoid topping trees or removing large healthy branches because that can cause health problems for the tree and hurt the plant’s natural shape. You should only remove dead branches, branches that rub together, branches that have diseases or branches that were damaged via storms, animals or insects.


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4.  Remove Old Mulch and Plant

If your mulch seems a bit stale and used after a winter of protecting your plants, it’s a good idea to remove it before planting your new shrubbery, flowers or plants. Next is the fun part, you can go ahead and put the new plants in.

 However, if you are further north, you may need to wait a bit longer to start your plants. Instead you can start your seedling plants indoors so they are ready to plant when the weather is more consistently warm.


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5.  Replace Mulch

Once you have your new plants in, go ahead and put down the new mulch. This should really freshen up your landscape. For mulch you can use chipped wood like cedar, cypress or redwood.

Also, do some digging around (pun not intended) and find out if your city offers bags of chipped recycled wood for free. Many cities offer this so you can easily get the mulch you need to freshen up your garden beds.


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6.  Repair the Lawn

While most overseeding should be done in the fall, you can do thinner areas in the spring if you notice any rough spots in your lawn. This way your lawn should be lush and green when you are ready to enjoy the warmer season.

 Next, wait until the grass is at least 4 to 5 inches tall before you resume regular mowing. The first time you mow, make sure that you only trim the lawn. If you over-cut the lawn the first time for the season it may leave your grass susceptible to damage and less able to withstand longer periods of dry, warm weather.


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7. Cover Utility Boxes

Decorative rock enclosure covers are the perfect options for covering ugly posts, utility boxes, septic covers, pipes, wells and more. You can even use them as an accent piece for existing landscaping. Plus, the material that the rock enclosures are made from is weather-resistant to keep it from cracking and fading in the sun or cold weather.

These rock enclosures look realistic and are much easier on the eyes when you are dining al fresco or spending time in the hammock. The assortment of sizes available and the natural color options makes them a great choice for covering up any ugly spots in your yard.


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8.Take Patio Furniture Out of Storage

This is perhaps the most exciting part of spring—taking the patio furniture out of hibernation and placing it in the best location in your yard. This means that spring is officially here, and it’s time to come outside and enjoy all of the hard work you put into cleaning up your outdoor space.


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9.  Place Lawn Decor

Whether you have a water fountain that you are ready to get running for the spring/summer, whimsical wind spinners, or any other garden decor, finding the perfect spot for them in your garden or on the patio is the next step to achieving your outdoor oasis for the season.


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10.  Clean Patio Furniture Cushions, Pillows, and Covers

If your patio furniture has cushion covers or pillows that were not washed or cleaned in the fall before putting them in storage, now is a great time to clean them so they are fresh for the summer. Also, if you have patio furniture covers, cleaning them now is another great idea so they are ready to use when you need to put your furniture away again in the fall.

Typically covers for cushions and furniture covers can be washed in a machine or hand-washed with a mild detergent. Be sure to check the tags or check with the manufacturer for cleaning instructions if you are not sure. Taking the time to usher in the warmer seasons will make them that much more enjoyable after a long and cold winter. So set aside a weekend and get this cleaning list finished so that you can spend the rest of the summer lounging outdoors and taking advantage of the warm weather.