“Springtime” conjures up ideas of rejuvenation, renewal, and regrowth. It is a time where the pace seems to quicken and life springs anew from its dormant state of hibernation. There is a sense of activity and urgency in the air while nature fights to break through the layers of debris and brush off the winter wear. All of this nervous energy swirling about has me itching like a kid with pollen allergies to get outside and do some spring cleaning! Here are a few tips for getting your outdoor space primed in time for spring.

  1. Remove All Signs of Winter

Conduct a thorough clean up of leaves, twigs and debris in your garden beds, lawn and on hardscapes and compost all the organic material you pick up. A clean slate gives plants room to put out new growth. Tie up vines that winter winds tore loose.

  1. Prune and Shape

Early spring is a great time for pruning and shaping many trees, hedges and shrubs because it is easier to inspect branches while they are bare and cold weather keeps insects and diseases from invading the fresh cuts. It’s an especially good time to prune roses. If trees or shrubs are storm-damaged, too tall to manage or otherwise require more extensive pruning, book an appointment with an arborist before the season is in full swing and they get busy.

  1. Tend to Your Tools

It’s a good idea to take inventory of your tools, make any needed repairs or replacements and give everything a good cleaning. Oil and condition the wood handles of hand tools to keep them from splintering. Clean working parts with dish soap and water and dry thoroughly to prevent rust. Oil the moving parts of pruners and loppers. Now is also prime time to sharpen pruners, loppers, shovels and mower blades. Most local hardware stores offer sharpening services. Once temperatures warm, turn your outdoor faucets back on and inspect nozzles and hoses for leaks. Give electric or gas-powered tools a start and tune up as needed. Stock up on fresh gas, oil, and any other needed supplies.

  1. Inspect Your Structures

Wood rot, mold and deterioration can run rampant in the harsh conditions of winter, so inspect the footings and foundations of decking and other structures and make any needed repairs. Check stairs for loose treads and make sure railings are secure. Clean mold from wood using deck cleaner and a stiff brush. Also keep your gutters in mind and carefully clean or set up a service to clear them out before those spring showers really set in. 

  1. Love Your Dirt

Prep new garden beds by turning over the soil, but don’t work in them when they are wet. That can compact the soil, eliminating the tiny air spaces plants need. Add compost, leaf mold and other soil amendments now, then give the soil a few weeks to settle. Wait to plant until soil temperatures are warmer.

  1. Plan For Planting

Whether you’re laying out a robust garden or just adding a few ornamental plants, proper planning will ensure that your hard work and investment pay off. Research what types of plants grow best in your particular zone and come up with a layout that includes space, light, and water considerations. Decide in advance how much time and attention you truly have to tend to your landscape and work within those parameters, so you don’t find yourself overwhelmed mid-season. If you love to garden and have time to tend to it, go all in, but if you have less time to oversee your outdoors, sticking with native plants is a great way to create a low-pressure space that still has some interest.

  1. Clean and Inspect Your Furniture

The winter months can be brutal on outdoor furniture, but if you have invested in quality pieces, a little soap and water is all it should take to get you ready for the first days of outdoor lounging and entertaining. Here is a great article that refers to proper cleaning and maintenance for outdoor pieces. Maybe you are just starting your collection or find that it is time to expand or upgrade your outdoor décor and furnishings; now is a good time to start thinking about your budget, layout and needs. And if you need extra help and guidance let the pros at Blue Oak Outdoor help.

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