Most of us plan on spring cleaning our homes when the weather warms up, but do you have a plan for spring cleaning in the yard? The problem with spring cleaning outdoors is the one big variable: the weather. This is when a detailed plan can be helpful. You may have planned to work in the garden, but if it is raining, that can’t be done. If you are organized, you will be able to check your list for another spring cleaning job that won’t be affected by the rain. Put all the jobs on the list–from applying plant fertilizer to pressure washing the deck. Add small jobs that only take a few minutes to your list, too.
Here’s a task list to help you get started that’s specific to areas everyone has in their yard.
- Start with the lawn. Sometimes, the ground will heave in spots due to uneven freezing and thawing. Rolling your lawn can usually bring it back to an even surface. The roller can be rented and filled with water to give it weight.
- Another task for lawns is dethatching. Basically, this is removing small plugs of grass to aerate your lawn and give space for new root growth.
- While you are completing these tasks, check for any areas of the lawn that are damaged. Spring is the perfect time to repair and reseed these areas.
- Finally, give your lawn a spring fertilizing to get it off to a great start.
- Remove winter plant protection. If you live in the North, this may be a two-part task. Remove about half of the mulch from your tender perennials and roses. Give your plants a chance to harden off and then remove the rest of the winter mulch.
- Check trees, shrubs and roses for winter damage. Remove any dead or broken branches.
- Prepare vegetable beds for planting when the soil is dry and workable. Have soil tested for pH and nutrient levels. This can be done at your local county Extension office or you can use a home test kit. Amend your soil based on the test results. Add compost to the garden.
- If you don’t already have one, build or purchase a compost bin. This one change will nourish your plants and keep food and garden waste out of landfills. Any organic material can be added to the compost bin, and in a few weeks, you will have nutrient-rich compost.
- Plant cool weather tolerant plants like peas, spinach and lettuce.
- Patio or deck
- Power wash your deck or patio. A power washer can be rented, or home use washers are available for purchase. A power washer makes a big job easy. Use the washer for the cement or pavers and the deck surface. The power washer will make short work of the porch ceiling also.
- Clean your patio furniture. If you have metal furniture, you may be able to use the power washer to clean this furniture also. If your metal furniture is showing signs of oxidation, try a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water. Apply with a cloth and rinse well after cleaning. If you have wood furniture, use a soap made for wood like Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean the wood. Rinse with plain water when finished. If you notice any rough spots as you are cleaning, use a fine grit sandpaper to smooth the surface. You can also add a protective coating on the wood to extend the life of your furniture.
If your furniture is plastic, try cleaning it with baking soda on a wet sponge.
Rinse with water after cleaning. If you have white furniture that has lost its white dazzle, try wiping the furniture with a bleach solution.
- Clean all cushions and pillows. If the cushions and pillows have removable covers, wash the covers in the washer on the gentle cycle. If the covers are not removable, start by vacuuming the surface. Follow with a mild detergent mixed in water. Apply with a soft brush and gently scrub the pillows and cushions. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes for the detergent to work on any soil. Rinse with water. Squeeze out as much water as possible and then stand the cushion or pillow upright to allow it to dry.
- Set up lawn sculptures and ornaments
- Bring out bird baths. Clean and fill with fresh water.
- Set up water features like fountains and recirculating pumps.
- Set up pots and window boxes for planting. Clean the surface area of the pot and replace or amend the soil you will plant with. Plant spring cold tolerant flowers like pansies in containers.
- Clean the outdoor grill
- Disconnect the gas tank before you begin cleaning.
- Clean the inside of the hood and the sides of the grill.
- If your grill has an enclosed storage area for the propane tank, remove the tank and clean this area with soapy water.
- Clean the outside of the grill.
- Refill or replace the propane tank. Consider purchasing a second backup tank. The only time you will run out of propane is in the middle of grilling dinner.
- Clean the outside of your home
- Use the power washer to clean any debris off the siding. Take additional care around any outdoor lighting areas where there are often dead bugs left behind.
- Wash the windows and screens.
Now that you have finished all the tasks of early spring, you will be able to enjoy your outdoor space more fully. You can relax or entertain friends and family knowing your yard and patio look their very best.