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  • Writer's pictureKevin Walker

14 Spring Tips for Maintaining Your Home’s Exterior & Yard

 

Written by: Kevin Walker, Founder & Owner of Walker Custom Exteriors


With the cold weather and winter storms behind us, it's time to start prepping our yards and landscapes so that we can have a tranquil and enjoyable space to retreat to throughout the Spring and Summer. Many of us don't have time to do all the necessary work to keep their property in tip toe shape or simply don't know where to start. So, I decided to put together a list of 14 easy Spring maintenance tips that you can implement at home to keep your yard looking healthy and inviting.


1. Create an Outdoor Living Space Perfect for Entertaining

Put in a deck, a fire pit area, or a flagstone patio with a grilling area, seating, or dining table. Extending your home living space into your backyard means less maintenance of lawn and other landscape features. 

Landscaping with new deck, fence, irrigation, and flagstone walkways

2. Revitalize Your Home with a Power Wash

A power washer is your secret weapon for tackling dirt, grime, and outdated paint or stain. It's a surprisingly affordable tool as well. Most home improvement stores offer power washers in the $200-$500 range or you can rent one for around $50 from Home Depot or other rental companies.

Here's what you can achieve in a few hours:

Blast away mold, algae, and dirt: Renew the look of your siding, fence, walkways, and patios.

  • Strip old paint/stain: Prepare surfaces and restore life into old wood for a beautiful new coat of paint or stain.

If you don't have time or energy to do yourself,

hiring a local contractor or handyman ensures a professional cleaning and frees up your schedule.

Remember, power washing is a key component of maintaining your home's beauty and value.

Before and after of fence refinish

3. Check for Wood Rot To Prevent Growing Damage

A good way to prevent major damage on the exterior of your home is by checking for wood rot on your windows, siding, fence, deck, pergola, or any other wood structures. You can easily do this by probing with a screwdriver, pen, or anything long enough to reach those hard to reach areas. If you do have wood rot, the wood will feel spongy or will easily crumble when touched. If you find wood rot, you can either replace the wood that is rotting, or call a professional and they should be able to fix it before it causes more damage or spreads into the interior of your home.


4. Use Fewer Plants, Less is More

Having less plants might seem counterintuitive for a beautiful landscape, but in Texas, it can be a water-wise strategy. Texas weather can be unforgiving, with scorching summers and periods of drought. Less plants , specifically those that require a lot of water, translates to less stress on your wallet and the environment and air. By opting for native or adapted plants that thrive in dry conditions, you can create a stunning landscape that requires minimal watering and low maintenance, saving you time and money.

landscaping and hardscaping

5. Use Flagstone & Decomposed Granite for Outdoor Landscaping, Patios, & Walkways

The right landscaping stone is durable, looks beautiful, and feels pleasant on bare feet. Natural stone comes in a variety of colors, allowing you to create a unique look for your outdoor living space. Using decomposed granite for pathways and around planters is also an effective material for beautiful landscaping that can help minimize yard work.

6. Use Terraces with Retaining Walls on Slopes to Prevent Erosion

Not only are steep slopes difficult to mow and maintain, they also cause erosion and excessive stormwater runoff, two environmental concerns. However, terracing with retaining walls is an effective and attractive solution to prevent both erosion and runoff. Terracing involves leveling off sections of a steep slope into flat, planted areas that are perfect for flower or herb gardens, or for shrubs and mulch. To hold up the earth, a retaining wall built with Corten steel, stone, concrete, or wood. These flat, planted areas allow rainwater to soak into the beds instead of allowing it to flow down the slope. While they can be somewhat costly to install, terraces are a beautiful and beneficial addition to landscapes.

Corten steel retaining wall

7. Buy the Right Tools and Equipment for Quick Improvements

Having the right tools can make quick work of a task that would otherwise be time-consuming. Do the research to make sure you have easy-to-use, effective pruning, raking, and digging equipment, and keep your tools sharp and clean and stored out of the reach of children.


8. Replace The Mulch In Your Flower Beds

Mulch is more than just a pretty top layer for your flower beds. It plays a vital role in regulating soil temperature, retaining moisture, and suppressing weeds. But over time, mulch breaks down, losing its effectiveness. Replacing mulch in spring is a simple refresh that delivers big benefits:

  • Enhanced aesthetics: Fresh mulch adds a clean, polished look to your landscaping, making your flowers pop!

  • Improved moisture control: A new layer of mulch helps retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for frequent watering, especially during hot summer months.

  • Weed suppression: Mulch creates a barrier that makes it difficult for weeds to germinate and compete with your precious flowers for nutrients and sunlight.

Landscaping with river rock edging

9. Add Artificial Turf for Your Dog Runner

Spring is the perfect time to create a dedicated space for your furry friend! Consider adding a dog runner with artificial turf for a low-maintenance and playful haven. Here's why turf is a great choice for your dog runner:

  • Durable and Easy to Clean: Artificial turf stands up to playful paws and digging, with waste easily cleaned up by rinsing area with a garden hose.

  • Mud-Free Fun: No more muddy paw prints after rainy days!

  • Reduced Odors & Dead Grass: Unlike natural grass, turf allows for quick drainage, minimizing unpleasant smells and dead grass areas.

  • Year-Round Play: Artificial turf provides a clean, green, and usable yard all year long, regardless of the season.

English retriever playing in side yard dog runner with artificial turf

10. Prune in the Late Winter or Early Spring

If you haven’t already done so, cut off any broken or badly disfigured branches caused by winter’s snow and ice in late winter. Unwanted lower branches on all evergreen shrubs and trees should also be removed in late winter/early spring.

  • Prune summer-flowering shrubs hard at end of winter or very early spring BEFORE any new growth starts! They form their flower buds on “new” wood (i.e., wood that will grow this spring). Examples include butterfly bush, smooth hydrangeas, panicle hydrangeas, and roses.

  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs after spring flowers fade. Since they bloom on the growth of previous season (“old” wood), you will be cutting off their buds and flowers if you prune too early. Examples are: azalea, forsythia, mophead hydrangeas, lilacs, and wisteria.


11. Clean Up Leaves When It Begins to Warm Up

Even if you cleaned up some leaves in the fall, there are many trees (such as oaks) that shed leaves (and broken or fallen branches) over the winter and well into spring. Now let’s not go crazy as if we must clean up every single leaf off our lawn to compete for the neighborhood beauty pageant. A little leaf litter helps our pollinators and wildlife survive the winter. Remove any debris or heavy piles of leaves or any layers of leaves. This invites mold and disease and decay.  However, don’t rake into wet ground. It’s best to wait until temperatures are reaching the high 40s or the 50s. If you have a compost pile (or want to start one!), add those leaves to the pile. Otherwise, just mow any thin layers of leaves in with the season’s first cut, and they’ll also break down and add organic matter and nutrition to the soil.


12. Address Aggressive Weeds Early

Deal with weeds in early spring. Invasive or aggressive weeds will only get worse as daylight hours increase during summer. As they grow, their roots will strengthen, and they will be very difficult to pull out.

The secret weapon for a weed-free lawn? Smart lawn care!

  1. Do not mow too short

  2. Allow mow clippings to return to the lawn

  3. Skip spring fertilization

  4. Do not over- or underwater

  5. Devote some of your lawn to wildflowers


13. Use Potted Plants for Low-Maintenance Landscaping

Potted plants are lower maintenance and offer great versatility. You can move the pots around to suit the occasion or your mood and present a beautiful show to suit the season or add colors for special occasions.

Backyard landscaping with potted plants and river rock

14. Choose Native Plants that are Naturally Resistant to Local Pests and Disease

When choosing plants and trees for your yard, consider opting for flora native to your area. Native trees and plants offer a wealth of benefits:

  • Habitat and Wildlife: They provide a vital habitat and attract birds, butterflies, and other beneficial local wildlife.

  • Climate Adaptation: They are naturally acclimated to the local rainfall amounts and climate, ensuring their survival and ability to thrive.

  • Low Maintenance: Once established, native plants require very little maintenance because they are naturally resistant to local pests and diseases.

  • Eco-Friendly: Since they don't need fertilizers, pesticides, or supplemental watering, they are easy and inexpensive to maintain, reducing your environmental impact and workload.

Front yard landscaping with native plants and mulch

 

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