Take Spring Cleaning Outdoors!
Have you seen the signs? Tiny flowers have already started poking their way through the soil to test those above-ground temperatures. Have you heard any chirps? It won’t be long until a stroll outside produces the sweetest peeps from sweet baby birds. When spring returns to North Carolina, it happens quickly and gloriously. Prepping outdoor space for the coming warm weather is the first step in enjoying this change of season.
As winter months are often spent inside, it is easy for debris to pile up in the yard. If you’ve ever looked out a window with a sigh of, “Wow, windy out there!” then you know that clean-up is just around the corner. But before starting that big cleanup, make sure you’ve got the right tools and a streamlined approach.
Tweak your Toolbox:
- Make sure all gardening tools are in working order before you begin prepping your yard for spring to avoid frustration midway through the project.
- Sharpen pruning shears, have the lawnmower serviced, and spray off all tools of any grime left from last season.
- If you do require a trip to the hardware store, splurge! Spend a little more on your tools for both comfort and lifespan. A sturdy, metal rake with a foam handle is much more reliable than plastic models that throw splinters and tend to break.
- Check hoses for leaks and pick up a new one, if necessary. If leaks are at the faucet, you may be able to simply replace the washer.
- Fashion-forward? Yes! Pick up some whimsical, thick gloves and waterproof ankle-height gardening boots to keep with your tools.
Clear out gardens and flower beds:
- Before collecting the winter wind’s deposits, create some of your own debris.
- Remove dead plants that did not survive the chilly months.
- Rake out any leaves that made flower beds their home winter resting spot.
- Think sunshine! As plants begin looking to the skies for nourishment, do they have a clear view? Trim back anything creating daylong shadows.
Add a fresh blanket:
- Now that your garden beds are feeling a bit exposed, cover them up again with a fresh layer of mulch or compost. This will improve help soil health, suppress weeds, and retain moisture through the hot summer months.
- If you have trees or bushes, such as azaleas or crepe myrtles, add some mulch around their bases (but without touching the trunk) to give them a jumpstart on new growth and beautiful blooms.
Prune trees and shrubs:
- It’s fairly easy to scout the dead branches scattered in the yard, but don’t forget to look up! Dead branches often get caught in trees and never make it to the ground. Pull down any stragglers that can be safely reached.
- Prune branches that are broken, don’t show signs of new growth or do show signs of disease.
- Thin out crowded areas among trees and shrubs to let the sunshine in! It does seem counterproductive to prune to promote growth, but the increase in air circulation is a great way to guarantee a healthy growing season.
- If you aren’t sure where to begin, start online! Plant-specific pruning techniques can be found with a quick internet search.
Clean up debris:
- This job is typically tackled first and then repeated multiple times as the above task are completed. Save your cleanup for last and get it done in one fell swoop!
- Collect leaf piles and branches to add to a compost bin or donate to your recycling container. Yes! Yard waste is considered recyclable!
- Lean into getting dirty. While a rake is most commonly used, shovels, buckets, wagons, and even armfuls of debris will speed up the process. Put on some old clothes and thick gloves then grab and go for the quickest cleanup.
Plan and plant your gardens:
- Before you plant anything, test your soil. There is nothing more frustrating than a failed garden and understanding your soil makeup can help prevent that. A simple test can reveal PH levels and nutrient content, offering hints of which plants will be most successful.
- Before buying plants, decide on a color and height scheme. Will you have flowers all in one hue? Will you stagger plants, short to tall, from the front of the garden to the back?
- Check the weather: it is best to plant when rain is coming to let Mother Nature handle the heavy lifting. Otherwise, plan on watering new plants daily for two weeks before turning them over to the local climate.
- Engage your garden center if you still aren’t feeling confident. This quick stop will ensure magnificent results in the months and years to follow!
The first signs of spring often send Raleigh and Fayetteville area homeowners outdoors, excited to feel the warmth of the sun. JSJ Builders’ homeowners are no exception. And, with covered porches on these newly built homes, the reward will be in the rest afterward. Prep your yard for spring and then settle into a rocking chair to enjoy your work!