Although some people definitely have ‘green fingers’ and love being out in their yard in all weathers, making it look beautiful, others are much less inspired to do so. They see their outside space as something they have to deal with every once in a while, but other than that, they don’t really think about it too much.
Only if they did think about it a little more, and if they made just a few small improvements, like cleaning, repairs, fertilizer, weed control, mowing, and proper watering, despite the hard work and the time that gardening takes, they would see the benefits of having a well-kept backyard. They would feel the benefits too, as gardening is excellent exercise and is good for both your physical and mental health.
If you would like to do a little more to your yard and you want to know how to keep it looking good once you’ve started, here are some handy tips. Yes, it might be challenging initially, but over time and with enough practice, you’ll start to see the progress you’re making and maybe even grow to enjoy your yard just that little bit (or a lot) more.
Have A Spring Clean
Everyone knows what a spring clean means for the interior of their properties; it’s about ensuring everything is thoroughly tidied and cleaned up, with anything that is no longer needed thrown out (or recycled or given to charity). It’s called a spring clean because it can often feel like the right time to declutter and change things around after being inside so much during the winter. The spring clean is often a much deeper, more thorough clean than you would typically carry out. This idea works just as well for your outside space, whatever the size or however it is laid out, as it does for the inside of your home.
Springtime is the perfect season to tackle this outside task, although it could be done at any time if the feeling strikes you. No matter when you do it, if you can do a good job of your ‘spring’ clean in your yard, you won’t have to do it again for another year, and in the meantime, you just need to think about the smaller jobs that you can carry out much more easily and more quickly.
Some of the ideas to consider when working on your yard in this more in-depth way include:
- Removing any dead plants and shrubs and hiring someone to tidy up dead and broken branches
- Clean your patio and path – wherever there are paving slabs, in other words. You can hire a jet washing machine to make this job a lot easier, and you’ll be amazed at the difference this one thing makes
- Tidy the bushes and yard edging
- Depending on the time of year, plant new bulbs, seeds, or flowers
You’ll get a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you look around at what you’ve done to make your backyard (and front yard) look neat and tidy, and you’ll have a good blank canvas to make any changes you might be considering over the next few months.
Repairs can easily fall to the bottom of the to-do list, mainly because there always seems to be something more pressing to do – unless, of course, those repairs are emergency ones. Most of the time, they get forgotten about or overtaken by other jobs that just seem either more interesting, more urgent, or more in line with your skillset.
However, the problem with this way of working is that, unless repairs are made as soon as the issue is discovered, they can easily grow and become much more problematic. Fixing the loose fence panel is more straightforward, cheaper, and quicker than installing a new fence. Adding cast iron tree grates to protect a damaged tree looks so much nicer than having to take the tree down as it couldn’t be saved. Replacing a cracked paving slab is much less painful than having a guest (or yourself) trip over a broken one and cause themselves a lot of harm.
After you have made your initial round of tidying the yard, you can make a list of all the repairs that need to take place. Hopefully, this won’t be too long and there won’t be many fixes, but they should not be ignored even if there are. The sooner they are dealt with, the sooner your yard will look in even better shape, plus you’ll save time, money, and effort later down the line.
To really make your yard look good, you need to invest in some tools and equipment. One of these tools is fertilizer. By spreading a good layer of fertilizer over your planting areas, ensuring it is the best type your budget can afford, anything planted in the soil, whether it’s a tree, bush, seed, bulb, flower, plant, or shrub, will grow better. In most cases, fertilizer makes the plants grow bigger and better, and they look much healthier too.
Some fertilizers are expensive, so do be aware of how much you can spend. If you know someone who keeps horses, you might even be able to use free fertilizer, as horse manure has long been known to make plants grow wonderfully well.
The job of adding fertilizer to your yard is not one that will take too much time. All you have to do is take a shovel and a heap of fertilizer and then add it to the soil. When you plant things in that special soil, the fertilizer and the earth will mix, producing the ideal growing environment.
Even if you don’t want to do much planting for any reason (and not everyone enjoys this job or the results of it, so don’t feel bad if that’s the case for you – everyone is different), you should try to stay on top of the weeds that grow in your yard. Just doing this one job outside will help to keep everything looking neat and tidy. Plus, it will show that someone is living in the property. Why is this important? Yards that are overrun with weeds and clearly aren’t taken care of are something that potential burglars look out for. If the yard is taken care of, it shows someone is living there, which can be a good deterrent.
No matter how much work you do in your yard, weeds are still going to grow, and when allowed to stay there, they will make your outside space look very untidy, therefore dealing with the weeks as soon as possible and regularly is the best idea.
The easiest option is to buy a specially formulated weed killer to spray over the affected areas of the yard. This will kill the weeds from the roots, and all you need to do after one or two days is to pull the dead weeds up. Of course, you might not like the idea of weed killer as it can be harmful to the environment and wildlife. In this case, you can pull the weeds up by hand or search for a safer variety of weed killer; there are some available that use natural ingredients to produce a similar effect as the chemical ones. However, they might not be as strong, and it could be more expensive.
Mowing The Lawn
Weeds are one thing, but remember your lawn as well; if this is left to grow, it will make every other effort you put into your yard go to waste, as grass that is just too long will always draw the eye and get the attention even if your flowerbeds are stunning and your pathways are gleaming. Therefore, having a regular lawn mowing schedule is a great idea. You can do it yourself (it’s good exercise), or you can hire someone to do it. Luckily, you don’t need to hire a professional to do this job unless you want to; there might be someone in your neighborhood who is willing to do odd jobs, including lawn mowing, for example. Or what about the neighbor’s kids who want to earn some extra allowance money?
Whoever mows your lawn, it usually only needs to be done once every two weeks or so, meaning it’s not such an arduous job after all. This timeframe will depend on the type of soil your yard has and the quality of the grass itself, plus the climate you live in, but two weeks is a good rule of thumb to start with.
Something else that is good to remember is that you should change the direction of the cut every time you mow the lawn. So if one time you mow horizontally, the next time you should try mowing vertically instead. Switch it up and it’s better for the lawn, as is leaving the clippings behind (so no need to rake them up, which will save you an extra job).
Some elements of making your yard look great and keeping it that way are genuinely straightforward, and watering is one of them. You can use a hose, a watering can, or, at certain times of year, let nature take its course, but however it’s done, watering is not something you should forget.
If everything is water regularly, the entire yard will look lush and green or bright with color, and it will make all the difference.