Spring cleaning is all too often associated with just the interior of our homes. But spring cleaning can be a lot bigger than that. It can extend into the spaces outside our houses, too.
Landscape spring cleaning can start indoors on days when the weather isn’t inviting. Just like so many other cleaning jobs, getting organized can make your project faster and easier. Make to-do lists, roughly sketch out the changes you’re envisioning and research new gardening materials to get the growing season underway.
Cleaning up your landscape starts with a review of what is working and what isn’t. Test things out. Start with the most important basics: The systems. Is your drainage efficient? Do you need to add or replace drains in your yard? Is there a better way to recycle excess water — maybe percolate it into the ground with a pond, store it in a rain barrel or underground tank, or guide it to another area with a decorative stream bed.
Another system that needs your spring cleaning attention is irrigation. If you live in a dry-summer area, the survival of your whole garden depends on an efficient watering system. Check for cracked pipes, leaky joints and clogged or broken sprinkler heads. Catching them now will save your garden from dying plants, damaging floods and unnecessarily high water bills. Drip systems — in all climates — can easily clog, so test them out early in the season and replace lines and emitters that are not working efficiently.
Check out your electrical and gas utility systems, too. When barbecue weather arrives you will want all your cooking and entertainment systems in good working condition. Electrical and gas lines can be dangerous, so call a professional if you do not have experience working with them.
One more system that will benefit from an efficient spring cleaning is pest control. During the winter, insects live in dead leaves and twigs, so be sure to clean up all that debris in your yard before they hatch. Small rodents will make nests in built-up trash so that needs to go, too. While it’s still early in the season, this is a good time to build fencing or raised beds in areas vulnerable to larger pests — or even damage from your pets.
Spring cleaning landscape systems may not be the most romantic aspect of gardening, but starting out fresh will pay off later in the season. Efficient, functioning systems will save you time and money. When you find yourself relaxing or working in your garden in warmer weather, you’ll be glad you put in the effort now.
Photo credits: Jane Gates