How to Do Yard Work

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If you are looking for seasonal work this summer, you are in luck. The demand for grounds maintenance workers is expected to rise faster than average between 2008 and 2018, according to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You train on the job, work outdoors and stay on the move. Grounds maintenance work is a good resume builder if you have no prior work experience, because employers view groundskeepers as self-motivated.

Things You'll Need

  • Work gloves
  • Shredder
  • Rake
  • Power trimmer, pruning shears or rolling hand trimmer
  • Pruning hook
  • Mower
  • Shovel
  • Leaf blower
  • Camera
  • Walk the yard, picking up sticks, fallen tree branches, rocks, trash or other debris. Mulch large branches by running them through a shredder, if available. Create brush piles along transitional areas between the yard and nearby forests or fields if space permits.

  • Rake under and around bushes and large plantings. Edge all lawns and walkways, using a power trimmer, pruning shears or a rolling hand trimmer. Leave a 2-inch space between the edge of any sidewalk or flower bed and the grass. This provides a trough to direct water back into the plants.

  • Trim trees and shrubs using pruning shears and a pruning hook. Eliminate horizontal, crossed or tight-v branches. Leave upright branches intact. Cut the smaller or weaker branch when trimming crossed branches. If three branches come together as a tight-v, take the center branch and leave the other two intact. The University of Minnesota Extension advises removing branches that are affected by disease, insect or animal damage or storms.

  • Mow all lawn areas. Thatch or mulch lawn trimmings to serve as fertilizer. Reseed bare or thin patches. Use sod if needed.

  • Collect all organic material and add it to your client's compost heap if he has one. Compost or mulch organic material off site if the client does not use organic practices. Return the mulch or compost to the client at a substantial discount, or calculate the cost of mulching and composting client yard waste into your fee.

  • Weed all flower beds. If in doubt about a plant, leave it in the ground until the next maintenance cycle. By that time, it should have grown enough to be identifiable as a weed.

  • Divide perennials as needed. To divide, dig about 6 to 12 inches from edges of the main clump, up to 18 inches deep, depending on the type of plant. Break the clump apart, taking care to damage as few of the fine roots as possible. Make sure each smaller clump has several healthy leaves. Deadhead spent flowers to force all growth to the bulb or rhizome. Plant each clump as recommended for that species.

  • Walk the yard one final time. Pick up tools and debris. Sweep or blow any dirt back into the yard. Rake up leaves, lawn clippings or branches that have not been mulched.

  • Check the yard for signs of turfing by lawn equipment. Turfing, which is gouging into the grass with the tires or cutting edges of equipment, must be corrected as soon as it is found. To prevent turfing in the first place, keep equipment off lawn areas if they are soggy, adjust mower deck heights, and take care when turning corners on uneven ground.

  • Take a snapshot of each section of the lawn if everything passes muster. Use the snapshots when discussing problem areas that need to be addressed.

References

  • Photo Credit lawn image by Margerretta from Fotolia.com branches image by jeancliclac from Fotolia.com garden shears closed image by Kathy Burns from Fotolia.com
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