April showers bring May flowers, right? Well, yes…if the seeds have already been planted! If not, this is the ideal time to give your outdoor space a little TLC. Fixing up your yard can foster a pride in ownership, give the neighbors something beautiful to look at and, best of all, even increase the selling value of your home!
These lawn and garden projects don’t have to be difficult, time consuming or expensive to provide a little extra pop to your property. Most can be accomplished in less than an hour with the tools and resources you already have on hand. Plus, a little time spent in the garden has been known to be therapeutic – something we can all use nowadays.
Grab your green thumb, gardening gloves and sun hat, and let’s hit the yard!
Early spring is a great time to rid your lawn of all debris and dead grass that can attract pests and their diseases. The best time to do this is when your lawn is newly mowed and short. Make sure your rake gets deep into the lawn to penetrate thatch and loosen it up. Bag your debris for the trash, or work it into your compost pile if you have one. Give your lawn a little H2O love right after to nurture new growth.
If possible, it’s advisable to aerate your lawn after dethatching. This can be done with a spike, slicing, core or plug aerator. Don’t have any of these devices? Not a problem! Most can be rented from home or garden stores, or you can hire a professional who doesn’t need to come inside your home to get the job done.
Bring your lawn back to life by overseeding. Order your appropriate blend online or grab your bag from the garage. Follow the directions on the bag and sprinkle the appropriate amount evenly throughout your lawn. Keep your lawn consistently moist until the seedlings are as tall as the rest of your grass, and be sure to tackle any bare spots.
Unless you have an exceptionally large yard (or an exceptionally robust weed problem!), you can likely tackle most weeds by hand. This can be a good alternative to chemical weed killers, and you might even be able to get the kids in on the action. Just be sure they know what is a weed and what isn’t!
Speaking of chemicals, many people like to avoid these harsh additions to their lawns by creating their own compost. This consists of outdoor items like leaves, stems, wood bits, branches and lawn clippings, as well as food scraps like egg shells, coffee grounds, fruits, vegetables, corn stalks and tea leaves. You can even include paper products like newspapers, cardboard and brown paper bags.
Just make sure you strike a relative balance between the amount of “green” waste (fruits, veggies, etc.) and “brown” waste (newspapers, wood chips, dried leaves, etc.) that goes into your pile. For the sake of smells and appearances, it’s best to keep your compost pile in a bin that has a secure lid.
Hedges and lawns need trimming from time to time, and now is as good a time as any! A string or lawn trimmer works for your yard, while a hedge trimmer will do the trick on your bushes and shrubs. Always wear the proper safety equipment, including goggles, gloves and close-toed shoes, and follow directions at all times. If in doubt, save this one for the experts.
Edging can add some variety and sleekness to your outdoor aesthetic. It also prevents grasses from entering flowerbeds and keeps mulch in its place. The type of edging you use depends on your personal taste and the look you’re trying to achieve. Popular edgings include stone, brick, concrete or wood for a natural look, or metal or plastic for a more commercial appearance.
Snow blowers and leaf blowers are great at quickly removing unwanted items from driveways, walkways and patios. However, that doesn’t mean those items are gone for good. They’re typically blown right onto your lawn, the street or into your neighbor’s yard, which is why sweeping or shoveling is often more effective, especially for small jobs.
New flowers and plants are a great way to give your home a facelift while barely lifting a finger. You can order seeds online, or pick up a few planters from your local garden center (check to make sure they’re open first). A backyard vegetable garden is also a great project for kids. You can even use some of your table scraps to start a scratch garden. Garlic, lettuce, celery, green onions, tomatoes and peppers are a few of the household foods that can easily be planted and regrow.
Sure, you want your pathways to be well lit, but you also want your yard to be beautiful! Do a quick check around the exterior and replace any missing or burnt-out lightbulbs. Think about adding a lantern to patio furniture or bare corners. Up-lighting is a great technique for long or curved driveways, particularly if you have trees. In-ground LEDs can also add a nice touch to smaller plants along the house.
Plants, lawns, flowers and clean walkways can get you most of the way there, but a few well-placed accessories and decorations can help you achieve full outdoor perfection. Lawn furniture, such as a table and chairs, can make the space feel inviting and functional. Give yours a once-over or even a new coat of paint for a refreshed look. A brightly colored vase with flowers or a few statement cushions can also add some life to these spaces. The same can be said of lawn ornaments, festive signs or flags. Feeling ambitious? Everyone loves a good porch swing!
Though some of the bigger projects, such as tree trimming, the addition of water features or concrete work, should be left to the professionals, there are still many small outdoor projects that enhance your home’s feel and curb appeal. Plus, they’re a great way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D from the safety of your home.