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Spring Yardwork Tips for a Fresh Start

Today I spent some time “yardening.” When I use a special name for my yardwork, it doesn’t seem so tedious. After all, yardwork makes the garden look all the more beautiful, doesn’t it?! Spring is a great time to make a fresh start in your outdoor space. In fact, the very act of pulling weeds, removing dead leaves and trimming plants can be very therapeutic, serving as a way to officially close the door on winter and open your life to new opportunities for spring. Here are a few tips for getting the yard in shape so you can enjoy the new season to the fullest!

Getting Motivated

Do you find that you’re more motivated to tackle less-than-exciting projects when you have something to look forward to? For me, the best way to get ready to do yardwork is to purchase some new plants. Yes, I’m talking about bribing myself with something shiny and new!

Sometimes this involves a DIY project, such as the modern spring planter I painted and put together last month:

Turquoise planter with succulents and mondo grass

The idea: once you have some beautiful new greenery to enjoy, you’ll want to upgrade the rest of the yard so it matches the loveliness of your new plant! Below we see my latest addition to the yard, a grey pot filled with blooming Ixora and cascading Silver Falls Dichondra (also known as Silver Ponyfoot).

This winter I also purchased some new chairs for my outdoor dining table, so I was super motivated to get the yard in shape. It’s easier to pull weeds and tidy up pathways when you’re imagining relaxing evenings of dining al fresco while being soothed by a cool breeze.

Turquoise planter enlivens an an outdoor seating area

Clearing the Path

It’s no coincidence that the headings in today’s post can be interpreted on more than one level. Clearing the pathways in your yard can inspire bigger changes in life, such as de-cluttering your schedule and reconnecting with old friends! As you can see in the photo below, my yard features grey gravel pathways. White pebbles border the paths, and in addition to an abundance of dead oak leaves, stray gravel and pebbles were cluttering each area:

There’s no easy way to clean up a cluttered path. Remove the leaves (a leaf blower helps), and then use your hands to pull weeds and clear debris such as stray rocks. Yes, I put white pebbles back with the other white pebbles and grey gravel back with the other grey gravel. Some find it tedious, but I kind of like it. I spend so much time in front of the computer, it’s nice to be outdoors getting my hands dirty!

No, I didn’t do a perfect job with my pathway, but life is about living with imperfection and admitting the fact that it’s hard to control everything, right?!

On that note, clearing the leaves posed a big challenge, as the oak trees in my neighborhood are still shedding, and each time there’s a breeze, more leaves are added to the yard. In other words, I’ll be removing leaves from my outdoor space for a few more weeks before all is said and done! Here’s a “before” shot of my trellis area.

And now, the “after” shot:

Big improvement, right?! Confession: My hubby and I pay someone to mow the yard and blow leaves every couple of weeks. It’s super affordable, it’s saved us from having to buy and maintain a mower and other yard equipment, and it gives us time to focus on other areas of yard maintenance (such as pulling weeds, landscaping, and keeping our plants healthy). But during the spring and fall, I have to do some leaf control in between visits from the yard crew. Hence today’s photos!

Highlighting Beauty

Once your yard has been de-cluttered, you can truly focus on fine tuning it. Are there plants that need to be trimmed? Is it time to re-pot some of your favorite greenery? As you can see from the image below, the Silver Falls Dichondra on my patio was getting a bit out of control. And yes, those are more oak leaves!

With some de-tangling and a little trimming, this potted plant was given a face-lift:

And now instead of seeing a tangled mess, you see the the full leaves of the Foxtail Fern, plus some silvery cascading action from the Ponyfoot:

I also took the opportunity to re-pot some plants that had outgrown their current containers. I removed dead potted plants from the shelf, making more room for the thriving ones. Sometimes letting go of certain plants is the best way to let other ones shine!

Not to mention, simply by getting rid of dead greenery (trimming bushes, etc.), you can shine the spotlight on the beautiful spring growth in your yard. Below we see blooming Loropetalum bushes:

And of course, here’s another view of the vibrant color in the trellis area of my yard, thanks to a painted hanging planter and the flowering Ixora plant:

Finishing Touches

This last phase of the spring yardwork process is truly the fun part: putting the finishing touches on your outdoor space! I like to call it icing the cake. You can “style your yard,” or even style smaller elements, such as potted plants. Yes, I’ve been known to style individual planter arrangements. Below we see Silver Falls Dichondra on my outdoor table, ready to be planted:

As pictured earlier in the post, I added it to my Ixora plant, which provided contrast in texture and color. Plus, it’s fun to watch the Silver Falls Dichondra cascade more and more as it grows:

I had fun deciding where to position the plant (I made it the focal point of the yard by placing it on the pedestal in the trellis area). This is the first view you get when you enter the backyard, so I wanted to make it count!

Do you have spring yardwork plans? Remember to enjoy the process if you can—beautifying an outdoor space can be symbolic of making positive changes in your life, and it can inspire de-cluttering in other areas. Plus, nothing beats working in the energizing spring weather! Thanks for letting me share. Until next time…

Kate Simmons

Kate Simmons is a freelance writer and design blogger with a love of all things decor. She spent her childhood writing stories and working on interior design-themed DIY projects. Kate’s published writing reflects her special interest in how design has changed through the decades. Her blog Mirror80 ( http://mirror80.com/) explores the fashion and [...]

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