Time to trade in your mittens for gardening gloves.
Most of us have yet to get outside and prepare the backyard for the season. The ground is still muddy in the shade and the entire yard seems covered with branches and leaves left by the winter storms but wait for it….. It’s 25C this weekend!! Spring is in full swing, don’t miss this opportunity to get outside and spruce the yard up. You might even increase the value of your home by doing so. Here are a few simple steps to get you started.
Rethink your landscape
Before mowing the lawn, rethink the space. Remove elements that aren’t working, don’t be afraid of change yet keep it simple and functional. For smaller backyards, versatility is key. You want to be able to easily turn the space from one use to another. It could be the kid’s playground in the morning and a casual dining area for the evening. Choose light yet durable patio furniture. Tables and chairs that fold allow for easy storage and moving around.
Repair your hard-scape
Collect all branches, rocks, leaves and other objects that could get caught in the machine or flung by the blades from the lawn. Check flower beds for evidence of soil degradation caused by salt and sand. Remove surface soil and add top-soil and triple mix as necessary. Clean gutters and make sure they are tight against the house. They should direct water 4-5 feet away from the foundation wall. Inspect the weatherstripping on all exterior doors including garage doors. Weather seals can rip, compress, bend, or wear out over time, allowing cold winter air to enter and air-conditioned air to escape. Installing and maintaining weather seals could save you Thousands over the life of your home.
Trim Hedges and Shrubs
Spring cleaning often includes the joy of trimming and shaping hedges and trees in the garden. Garden hedges provide shade, shelter and privacy. Hedge trimming is almost always best done during spring. A couple of hedge variations might withstand cold and frost, but most will react poorly to having new cuts exposed to low temperatures. During summer you can fine-trim as much as you want, periodically snipping outgrowth during the growing cycle will encourage growth and make it branch upwards. If needed, do two major trims – one in the middle of summer and the other towards the end.
Be careful when choosing tools, cheap tools loose their edge fast and a dull blade can do damage by squeezing while cutting, thus getting in the way of the healthy re-growth. For best result use hand pruners for the majority of the fine work, hedge shears with serrated blades for heavier branches and lopping shears for the thickest ones.
Consider Mother Earth
Keep your plants and products nature-friendly. More people are turning away from lawns and converting them to vegetable gardens. If you prefer vegetation to a vegetable garden, consider growing grass and sedges that are native to your area. Structure of native grass communities makes them ideal habitats for wildlife species that depend on grasses for food, nesting, and cover. These animals include quail, deer, rabbit, turkey, migratory songbirds, and small mammals such as voles and mice. The presence of rabbits and small mammals attracts larger predator species that include fox, coyote, and raptors such as eagles and hawks. Additionally native grasses have a number of physical characteristics that make them attractive to land managers. Most native grass species develop a strong root system that could extend 5 to 15 feet into the soil, although this results in a slower payoff above ground, the deep root system of native grasses reaches moisture, nutrients, and minerals far below the topsoil, so that native grasses can flourish on marginal and dry soil. Deep roots also help stabilize the soil, thus reducing erosion. Fore more information on native varieties of grass in Southern Ontario, visit: