GardenSMART :: 6 Tips to Get Your Outdoor Space Ready for a New Season
6 Tips to Get Your Outdoor Space Ready for a New Season
By T.K. Wismer, Blue Oak
Photograph courtesy of Blue Oak
"Springtime" conjures up thoughts of rejuvenation, renewal, and regrowth. It is a time when the pace seems to quicken and life springs anew from its dormant state of hibernation. There is a sense of activity and urgency in the air as nature brushes off its winter weariness. All of this nervous energy swirling about has me itching to get outside and do some spring cleaning! Here are a few tips for getting your outdoor space primed for spring.
1. Remove Signs of Winter
Conduct a thorough clean up of leaves, twigs and debris in your garden beds, lawn and on hardscapes, and compost all organic material. Cut back the dead stalks of any perennials you missed in the fall. A clean slate gives plants room to put out new growth. Tie up vines that winter winds tore loose.
2. Prune and Shape
Early spring is a great time for pruning and shaping many trees, hedges and shrubs because it is easier to inspect branches while they are bare and cold weather keeps insects and diseases from invading the fresh cuts. It's an especially good time to prune roses. If trees or shrubs are storm-damaged, too tall to manage or otherwise require more extensive pruning, book an appointment with an arborist before the season is in full swing and they get busy.
3. Tend to Your Tools
It's a good idea to take inventory of your tools, make any needed repairs or replacements and give everything a good cleaning. Oil and condition the wood handles of hand tools to keep them from splintering. Clean working parts with dish soap and water and dry thoroughly to prevent rust. Oil the moving parts of pruners and loppers. Now is also prime time to sharpen pruners, loppers, shovels and mower blades. Most local hardware stores offer sharpening services. Once temperatures warm, turn your outdoor faucets back on and inspect nozzles and hoses for leaks. Give electric or gas-powered tools a start and tune up as needed. Stock up on fresh gas, oil, and any other needed supplies.
4. Inspect Your Structures
Wood rot, mold and deterioration can run rampant in the harsh conditions of winter, so inspect the footings and foundations of decking and other structures and make any needed repairs. Check stairs for loose treads and make sure railings are secure. Clean mold from wood using deck cleaner and a stiff brush. Also keep your gutters in mind and carefully clean or set up a service to clear them out before those spring showers really set in.
5. Prepare the Soil
Prep new garden beds by turning over the soil, but don't work in them when they are wet. That can compact them, eliminating the tiny air spaces plants need. Add compost, leaf mold and other amendments now, then give the beds a few weeks to settle. Wait to plant until soil temperatures are warmer and the chance of frost has passed.
6. Clean and Inspect Your Furniture
The winter months can be brutal on outdoor furniture, but if you have invested in quality pieces, a little soap and water is all it should take to get you ready for the first days of outdoor lounging and entertaining. Here is a great article that refers to proper cleaning and maintenance for outdoor pieces. Maybe you are just starting your collection or find that it is time to expand or upgrade your outdoor décor and furnishings; now is a good time to start thinking about your budget, layout and needs. If you need extra help and guidance let the pros at Blue Oak Outdoor help.
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By Susan Martin for Proven Winners,
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners
When you head to the garden center this spring, you'll find more patterned flowers than ever before. All those stripes, speckles and pinwheels are dazzling but it takes a little know-how to pair them with other flowers in container recipes. Here are five creative ways to design spectacular container recipes using patterned flowers.
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