Spring is in the air, and it's time to get your garden back in action. It can be hard to get motivated after a long winter, but when you think about the benefits of landscaping in the spring, when your plants are just starting to sprout and grow, it becomes something to look forward to. A little hard work and ingenuity now means soaking up the sun, relaxing and enjoying the fruits of your labour all summer long! Follow these 6 easy spring landscape ideas and you’ll be thanking yourself when the hot weather approaches.
Your home is an extension of you so make sure that everything from your lawn to your mailbox is communicating what you want it to. A good spring clean is the perfect place to start. Pick it up whatever debris the winter blew in, collect any fallen branches and yes it has to be said, scoop the poop that got buried in the snow and is now a lingering reminder of your cold days procrastination. Pull out the pressure washer that’s been hibernating in the garage all winter and give everything a good clean. Start with the siding of the house and garage, making sure not to forget the windows as they get grimy throughout the damp weather. Then move to the driveway, deck, walkways & patios. No doubt they have also seen better days and could use a good pick-me-up.
When you are confident the snow has stopped for good and sunny days are beginning to outweigh the gloomy ones, this is the time to tackle the lawn. Raking is the first thing you need to do to prepare your lawn for new growth. You may still have a few fallen leaves on the ground, however early spring raking is done primarily to remove thatch that is deeper than 1/2 inch. Thatch is dead grass that is left over from the previous year and can be bad for your lawn. A thin layer, however, can help protect the soil by preserving moisture, so be sure to leave a little. Now is the perfect time to roll your lawn as the soil is still soft and moist from the winter thaw and will smooth out much quicker than if you wait until summer when the ground has hardened.
Spring is not the ideal time to aerate the lawn, but circumstances may require it, especially if you’ve rolled. If soil is compacted to the point that existing grass can't grow, it may be necessary to aerate in the spring. Generally, though, spring aerating is discouraged because the aeration holes provide a perfect spot for weed seeds to germinate. Lawn weeds (especially crabgrass) are the first seeds to germinate in the spring, and aerating the lawn stirs them up and gives them an ideal home, so consider doing it around Victoria Day, after weeds have started growing but before they go to seed.
The final touches to having a beautiful, green, lush grass all summer long is to overseed and fertilize. Apply a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer when you overseed. Keep the new seed moist until it has sprouted and is actively growing. Five weeks after the grass germinates and sprouts, you can begin a normal fertilization routine using quick-release nitrogen fertilizer. This can also be a great way to introduce new varieties of grass seed into your lawn.
Pruning in early spring offers many advantages. Pruning during cool days also reduces the stress a plant experiences. Another advantage is that pruned plants hit the growing season with a bonus reservoir of stored food in roots, courtesy of all the growth you remove and also permits you to see plant form and structure clearly, a benefit when you’re shaping trees and shrubs. The best plants to start with are the evergreens with needles, like pine, juniper, or yew. Also prune broadleaf evergreens grown for foliage, including boxwood, privet, hollies, and euonymus. For these plants, focus on fixing plant shape, removing wayward branches or thinning unwanted branches. Avoid cutting into old wood; it may not resprout. When the danger of frost has passed, prune shrubs that don’t flower in the spring like, rose of Sharon, hibiscus, butterfly bushes & hydrangeas. A mistake many people make is pruning spring bloomers like lilac, forsythia, mock orange and weigela. These blooming shrubs should only be attended to after their flowers have faded.
Adding a good layer of mulch is essential to every garden and will pay off in many ways. Mulch includes a variety of materials that you use to cover the bare soil in your gardens. Most often you think of it as organic materials such as wood chips, cedar bark mulch, and compost, but it also includes materials like stone, gravel and even rubber! Choosing the right mulch for your gardens depends on your personal preference, colour, and the job you need it to do. Organic mulch will protect your soil and give it the extra nutrients it needs for growing healthy plants while inorganic mulch will protect your soil from erosion and weed growth. Both will retain moisture, so you don’t have to water as often. Organic mulch tends to break down over time and need a good fresh layer every season. Inorganic mulch lasts much longer but may also need a good top up in the spring to help spruce things up a bit. Whatever mulch you choose, the beneficial effects will last all summer and have your gardens looking their best!
You’ve waited all winter long and now is the time to finally bring some life back to your outdoor living spaces! These common living areas are an extension of your home and likely where you’ll be doing most of your relaxing and entertaining for the next several months, so putting in the extra effort into these areas will pay off all season long. Pull your outdoor furniture out of storage and give them a good wipe down before putting them into place. Toss your outdoor cushions in the dryer to remove any moisture that may be lingering from being stored all winter. If they smell moldy, read the care instructions, and go to town! Don’t forget the urns and planters. Hose them down and place them in their usual spots of honour around your property. Fill them with soil so they don’t blow over in a spring storm and the added bonus is that they are ready to add this year’s plants and flowers of choice whenever you’re ready to plant them.
Now that you’ve done the very best you can to have your property’s landscape looking fresh and ready for a season of fun and relaxation, it’s time to plan for the larger projects you’ve been putting off. Is your driveway still gravel and you’ve been dreaming of a new one? Are your pavers old, lifted, and uneven? Is your walkway an eyesore and an accident waiting to happen? Have you been picturing the perfect pergola or outdoor kitchen for months or maybe even years? Now’s the time to knock one or all of them off your list! Tree Amigos can help create the outdoor spaces you’ve been dreaming about. From patios to pool decks, driveways to landscaping, outdoor kitchens to planter walls, let us make your outdoor spaces a place you want to call home for years to come.