Spring Cleaning Our Yards and Gardens, Part One
by Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton
How to Get it Done
Winter can wreak havoc on a yard. As spring arrives and our thoughts turn to spending more and more time outside, so do our concerns about how to make our yards and gardens as beautiful as possible. We try to make them less cluttered, cleaner, better organized, more able to reflect our own unique personalities and styles.
Since we all have different tastes and styles, this guide is less about what we do and more about how to get it done. Sometimes, we just need someone to point the way!
Collect the leaves, fallen branches, sticks, spent annuals, old mulch, and any other debris from all natural surfaces. This includes lawns, gardens, around trees, dirt and gravel walkways, etc. If you want to compost, separate what you can compost from what you cannot. Organize and bag what will be removed according to how you will dispose of it. (Note: Using a wood-chipper is a good option if you want to make your own mulch.)
While the debris removal process probably will include some raking, this is a separate and distinct step in the overall process. Once the debris has been removed, go back over your yard and garden bed with a rake. Thoroughly rake all surfaces, even if you are confident you have removed all debris. Raking as a way to return the ground to its natural capacity to absorb sunlight is an element of “pre-prepping” that helps prior to the formal prepping that follows.
Plan your new look before doing anything more. If you want to change your current landscaping, no matter how minor, make a simple sketch. It should include as much detail as you are comfortable with. Do more than just creating a list of elements you want to plant. Map out the entire look, with as much detail and to as close an actual scale as possible. Even if you are confident in your decision, consult with a gardener or landscaper prior to starting to implement your plan.
Now it’s time to create not only a new look for your yard and garden but a plan that will keep it looking nice all season long. We’ll dig deeper into organizing your yard and garden next week.