If you have just recently become a new homeowner, congratulations! It’s a big, important step in life. But if you have never had the opportunity to see how to take care of your home correctly, you will now see how time-consuming it can be, especially when it comes to yard maintenance. It’s a year-long job, and to make it easier, you should divide your work into segments.
Doing so will help you take good care of your yard throughout the year to make it look wonderful and healthy. Even if you choose to pay for yard maintenance services, it’s still important to know what should be done and how much it approximately costs. So, where to start?
Keep your lawn mowed nicely and water it regularly. Take out the weeds and aerate the soil for your flowers. Rake the leaves in the spring and autumn, and protect the outdoor furniture in the winter. Give enough water to all the plants in the summer, including your trees, lawn, and flowers.
There are so many elements that contribute to making a yard beautiful, so you should know how to divide your work through the year. I’ll try to list everything that helps you understand all that needs to be done for a perfect yard. Let’s dig in!
What does yard maintenance involve?
What you should include in your yard maintenance schedule depends on what segments you have in your yard, how big it is, and how much time you have on your hands. I’ll start with the basics and get into more detail as we progress.
Firstly, before you even mow the lawn, make sure to rake it. You should do it several times through the year, but spring raking is one of the most critical steps for a healthy lawn. It will remove dead grass, leaves, and other stuff that died underneath the snow in the winter. It will also help you locate dead lawn patches, so you can get rid of them and plant fresh spring grass.
Mowing the lawn is also a big part of yard maintenance. Thus, take care of your lawn properly throughout the year. However, be careful! Even though grass is one of the easiest plants to grow, it’s one of the most challenging ones to maintain. It needs a lot of water, plucking out weeds, getting it ready for colder days, etc.
If you have a flower garden, make sure to aerate the soil so that the flowers can take in minerals and hydrate from the ground. Weeds and some bugs are a real drag when taking care of flowers, so make sure to keep that in check as well.
Next, if you have trees, it means you have leaves. Raking them up takes a lot of time, but it helps prevent mold and rot, especially during autumn and winter. You should also be aware of how much water every plant needs and be careful not to over-water nor under-water each one.
All the furniture, children’s playsets, decorations, etc., should be protected from weather conditions of all kinds, including snow, rain, frost, and wind. If you have wooden furniture and features, protect them from moisture as it causes rot. Meanwhile, metals tend to rust, so make sure to cover items made of such material as well.
Additionally, fertilize and straighten your planting beds, especially if you plan on having a vegetable garden. Features such as a deck, stone decorations, or patios should be inspected, weeded out, and cracks repaired. Finally, if you have a pool, you should take great extra care to keep it clean and healthy.
It’s easy to see how much work a single yard requires and even easier to see how costly it can get to do it all. That’s why you should segment your work throughout the year to make it easier and less time-consuming. Every season has its unique requirements, making yard maintenance more manageable if you know what you should do when.
Yard maintenance throughout the year
As I said, every season has its particular requirements when it comes to yard maintenance as the weather conditions vary. Therefore, you should adjust to them and prepare everything for the next season in advance. Although the year starts with winter (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least), I’ll begin the process of yard maintenance with spring.
First things first, rake your lawn in the spring. It will remove any debris, leaves, and dead grass that accumulated throughout the winter. Then, fertilize the entire lawn and overseed dead patches to make them green and healthy again.
You should apply a layer of mulch around all the plants in your yard to keep the soil temperature right, help it maintain moisture, and get rid of weeds. It will not only be visually beautiful but also functional. Next, aerate the lawn to help it intake more oxygen. The hard way to do so is to use a hoe, while the easiest way is to use a natural-based soil conditioner to help improve the growth of roots.
Spring is the right time to prune bushes and trees from any broken branches and dead limbs. They only take the water away from healthy branches and harm the plant. However, keep your pruning tools out because not all plants bloom in the spring. You will need to do it again in the summer as many plants will bloom then.
Get all the weeds out of your lawn, flower beds, garden, and cracks in the concrete, around your deck and patio. Weeds grow like crazy and can quickly take over your entire yard, so it’s best to get rid of them as soon as you notice them.
When it comes to mowing the lawn, you should always make sure your blades are sharp. That enables you to cut grass instead of ripping it, which is crucial for its health. The blades can be set lower as there will be enough water for the grass to intake and grow.
Now is the time to attract birds to your garden, too, as they are a natural way to get rid of lousy garden bugs without using pesticides. If you do all these steps in the spring, you’ll have much less to do in the summer, when the soil gets drier and the weather gets hotter.
The first thing you should take care of is your lawn. As you know, grass requires a lot of water to grow, so you should keep the soil moist and hydrated at all times. Set your lawnmower blades a bit higher because the higher the grass is, the more protected and the more resistant to the lack of rainfall the soil is. It will have deeper roots so that it can take minerals from the ground more easily.
You’ll have to mow the lawn a bit more frequently when you set the blades to cut higher, but it’s worth keeping your lawn healthy, as it can get costly to have to replace dead patches all the time. Therefore, sharpen the blades, tune up the mower, and get to work.
A big summer problem for your yard is pests, such as moles and groundhogs. They can quickly destroy your hard work by digging up holes or eating your plants. Therefore, make sure to fence your garden correctly and use mole-repellent plants to help keep them away.
Insects such as mosquitoes and ticks are a big problem as well when you have a lot of vegetation in your garden, as they can carry various diseases and be a big nag. Thus, use plants that animals carrying ticks don’t usually eat (especially deer) and use mosquito repellents, such as coffee and other natural plants to keep them away.
Finally, prune your bushes and trees again to keep them healthy and prevent waste of moisture. It will keep them and the soil healthier for fall and prepare for colorful autumn plants that will make your garden look spectacular.
As autumn comes, leaves start to fall off, so raking will be almost a daily job. But, it’s essential to do so because if you don’t, the dead leaves can cause rot. Rot attracts bugs and insects that can damage healthy plants and vegetables and make your maintenance a lot more costly.
Luckily, leaves can be greatly used as a natural lawn fertilizer. So, shred them to bits with your lawnmower and disperse a thin layer all over your lawn after the final autumn mowing. Do this right before winter, as it will not only fertilize the lawn and keep it alive over the winter, but will also coat it a bit to prevent dead patches and snow mold.
Now also is the time to take out dead shrubs, trees, and plants. To check if a plant is dead, look for any green at its base. If it looks and feels dry, take it out of the soil. Don’t worry about it too much, because now is the best time to replant new shrubs.
Yes, winter is coming, but planting in autumn helps the roots grow while the soil is moisturized and the sun is not that strong, creating perfect conditions for maximum growth.
If you wonder how to aerate the soil quickly, you can buy a unique set of earth aerating footwear, such as the Punchau Lawn Aerator Shoes. You can attach them to any shoe and simply walk around your lawn to revive it and keep it nice and healthy. It will save you time and energy from digging holes and doing hard manual labor. Pretty neat, right?
Once you’ve done that, it is time to fertilize. Fertilizer is excellent for your lawn and your veggie garden. However, make sure not to use artificial fertilizers, as they can only harm the soil and its quality. On the other hand, natural fertilizers will help revitalize the ground and develop stronger lawn roots, so you’ll get more robust and more vibrant grass in the spring.
Finally, apply mulch around plants and trees once again to provide a coat that repels weeds, keeps the soil healthy, and the plants safe during the chilly winter months. Prepare the rest of your yard for winter, including covering up the swimming pool if you have one, protecting wooden structures such as benches or decks, cleaning up all the debris, etc.
Very few plants grow in the winter, so you might think that you’ll have the least amount of work around your yard then, right? Well, not quite. You should keep taking care of your garden at all times to keep it healthy. Clean up now and then by removing dead leaves, twigs, and other debris if you haven’t had the chance to do it at the end of fall.
Remove snow as much as possible, not only to keep the yard healthy but also safe to walk around. If you can, avoid walking on snow-covered grass, as it will compress the soil, making it more difficult for grass to recover in the spring.
Insulate the area around the plants with a fresh layer of mulch to keep the roots from freezing. Prune all the dead branches on your bushes, shrubs, and trees. If you do it then, it will make the plants ready to blossom in the spring.
Finally, winter is the best time for weed control. There are two types of effective weed control to prevent endless plucking and picking in the spring. While pre-herbicides prevent the weeds from ever sprouting, post-herbicides kill them when they’ve already grown. Once they are dead, make sure to rake them and clean them up to have a tidy yard, ready for spring blossoming.
How much should yard maintenance cost?
As you can see, there are many things to do around the yard all year long. But the question most people are interested in is: how much should yard maintenance cost? It depends on several factors, such as your yard’s size, the plants, and the amount of work you want to do yourself.
It’s always cheaper to do your yard maintenance alone, but it’s time-consuming, and sometimes, the only solution is to call for professional help. However, this solution is a bit more costly. For instance, if you mow your lawn alone, you only pay for electricity or gas, depending on the type of lawnmower you use. It will end up costing you between $40 and $100, depending on the size of the lawn.
However, if you pay professionals to do it, they will charge you that amount, plus a regular fee for each square meter of lawn, taking the costs up to $150-200. Again, it depends on the size of your yard. And, that’s only for cutting grass! If you also want aeration, it’s an extra $40-50. Meanwhile, fertilization and weed control add another $50-100.
So, try to see what you can do alone to lower your costs. There are also other things you should take care of apart from the lawn, such as tree trimming or removal is vital, as well as pest control, gardening, winter preparations (protecting wood from rot and metal from rust), etc.
Overall, an average yard maintenance cost is about $100-300 a month, depending on how big your yard is, what plants you have, and what you want to be done regularly.
How to take care of each yard segment?
Lawn, flowers, veggie gardens, trees, outdoor furniture… So many things need proper care to survive year-in and year-out! Here’s a quick brief on how to take care of each segment of your yard correctly.
Grass needs hydration, so make sure your lawn has plenty of water at all times. Also, mow it frequently to keep it tidy and make sure to battle weeds early. Pre-herbicides are often the best choice, but if some weeds do survive, pluck them out as quickly as you can.
Fertilize and overseed dead grass patches and regularly rake to remove thatch, moss, and other harmful vegetation that make your lawn look unattractive. Aeration also plays a crucial role, so don’t forget to do it at the end of the fall and beginning of spring.
Every flower has unique needs, but there are some norms you should always apply, regardless of the type of flowers. For instance, make sure you water them regularly but don’t overwater them either. Touch the soil around them with your fingers. If it feels moist, you shouldn’t apply more water. Natural fertilizers help flowers grow easier and survive harsher weather conditions, too.
Besides, applying mulch is crucial for flower beds, as they protect the plants and their roots from freezing and other external influences. They need enough sunlight and pest protection, which is achieved best by attracting birds and fencing. Finally, remove dead leaves, branches, and flower heads to make room for new blossoms.
Watering trees is always beneficial, but you have to ensure that the water doesn’t go to waste. You should prune trees and shrubs regularly. By removing dead twigs and branches, you allow the tree to focus its energy on healthy branches, making it flourish easier. Mulch is as crucial with trees as it is with flowers, so make sure you do that properly as well.
Most outdoor furniture comes with a care guide, so start there. Light sweeping and cleaning are excellent to begin with. When it comes to protection, it’s best not to expose anything to the elements when it’s not in use. Protect wood from rotting by using a special coating product. The same thing goes for any metal surfaces, as they are prone to rust.
Additionally, avoid power-washing and other harsh treatments to prevent unnecessary damages, and always use mild cleaning products or dilute them with water. Scrub off mold as soon as you see it, as it can spread fast. Finally, cover everything up during the winter because frost, snow, and cold can damage your furniture even more.