With summer right around the corner, we’re looking forward to warm weather, backyard BBQs, and afternoons spent relaxing on the patio with a great book. But it’s hard to relax if your outdoor space isn’t properly prepared. You may have gotten away with neglecting your yard all winter, but with sunny days ahead of us, it’s time to get on your spring yard prep and give it the attention it deserves.
From lawn care basics to landscaping and aesthetics, there’s a lot that goes into creating a beautiful outdoor space for you and your guests to enjoy this summer. To better understand what you actually need to do this spring to prepare your yard, we asked lawn experts and landscapers for their best tips, tricks, and advice on maintaining a beautiful and healthy yard.
You should be raking your lawn in the spring
It’s just as important to rake your lawn in the spring as it is in the fall. Bolton Lawn Care says, “If you didn’t clean up leaves from your lawn in the fall, it’s imperative to clean them up in the spring. Leaves, if left on the lawn, will kill any grass you try to grow and are a breeding ground for pests and lawn funguses.”
Since “grass is king for summertime gatherings,” as Green Team says, you’ll want to begin your spring yard prep by raking thoroughly to remove any thatch build-up and to identify any potential areas of your lawn that may need special attention or treatments, such as overseeding.
Lawn mowing tips: mowing your lawn just right
Mowing is a lawn care basic that we’re all aware of, but did you know that cutting your grass too short or too frequently can actually harm your yard? When cut too short, your lawn’s root health is weakened which makes it harder for the grass to absorb sunlight. As a result, it becomes difficult for your grass to grow, leaving your lawn more vulnerable to weeds.
So, what is the best height to cut your grass?
- Blades of Green recommends “cutting grass high (3.5-4.5 inches) as it will help prevent weeds, drought stress, disease, and bare spots.”
And how often should you be mowing your lawn?
- “A simple rule to follow for a healthy lawn is the ‘one-third rule.’ Never cut off more than one-third of the length of your lawn. During the spring this means most lawns should be cut at least once a week,” suggests The Lawn Guru.
What other lawn mowing tips are important to know for preserving your lawn’s health?
- Delaware Valley Turf tells us, “spring lawn care should focus on building healthy turfgrass roots by mowing at 3.5 inches or higher, and following an agronomic plan for feeding turf and controlling pests.”
- Blades of Green’s best tip for getting your lawn ready for summer is to “maintain sharp mower blades to avoid shredding or pulling out your grass, instead of cutting it.”
- Ideally, you should only mow your lawn when the grass is dry. Mowing wet grass will shred or tear the blades, and the build of up wet clippings invites fungal diseases that can have damaging effects to your lawn’s health.
A key part in your spring yard prep is knowing your lawn type
Understanding the type of grass, or mixture of grass, that makes up your lawn is an important step in getting your yard prepared for the summer. If you live in a region where cool season grasses are necessary for the cooler temperatures and fluctuating weather, like Seattle, then your lawn will need more irrigation throughout the year and fertilization in the spring and fall.
However, if you live in a region where warm season grass flourishes, then your lawn care will look a bit different. For example, two popular lawn types in Dallas are St. Augustine lawns and Bermuda lawns, and even these require different types of care. Granulawn says “With St. Augustine Lawns, you should spread landscapers mix 1/2 inch thick to prevent and recover from fungus and disease in the spring or fall every other year, which helps with color too,” while with Bermuda lawns, “to never mow bi-weekly as this cuts off more than 1/3 of the leaves and will yellow and thin your lawn!”
If you’re living in a transition zone, like Charlotte, you’ll need to pay even closer attention to your lawn type and the care it needs as neither cool or warm season grasses are perfectly adapted to all weather conditions within this region. In fact, your lawn may be a mixture of both cool season and warm season grasses, making it even more important that you understand which type of grass you have and the care needed for each of these.
The devil is in the details: landscaping and yard aesthetics
When it comes to creating a welcoming and appealing yard, the small details can make all the difference. Expert King Green says, “Make sure your outdoor space is inviting and aesthetically pleasing by doing a quick update to your landscape. Trim any overgrown bushes or trees, mow the turf, install some seasonal color, and update your bed areas with fresh mulch.”
The top 3 things Manage Mowed Landscape Management says you can do to easily make your landscaping more beautiful is to:
- Refresh your bark
- Add a pop of seasonal flowers
- Fertilize your lawn
However, if you want a beautiful yard without all the upkeep, then Artificial Turf Supply suggests, “adding an artificial turf lawn which will be aesthetically pleasing all year-round. You get all the benefits of having a lawn but without the hassle.”