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Just as you deep-clean your home in spring, your backyard requires some TLC, too. Devote an early spring weekend to tidying up your backyard for tip-top summer shape. You’ll find that small things can make a big difference – and even more detailed duties are rewarding in the end.
In fall, give your lawn extra care on weekends for a healthier lawn next spring. True, autumn is famously the season for raking leaves, but it’s also time to fertilize and reseed cool-season grasses.
In spring or fall, here's everything you'll need to know to clean up your yard.
In Spring: Rake and Aerate
- First things first: Clear the ground by raking dead leaves, then use trash or lawn bags to dispose of them. Because your lawn suffers damage during the cold winter months, now’s the time to let it breathe. Lawn aeration breaks up compacted soil and creates pockets of air that can then be filled with compost.
- If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can rent a power lawn aerator from The Home Depot. Its hollow tines cut through thatch and into turf to allow water, air and fertilizer to penetrate.
In Spring: Top Dress
After aerating your lawn, spread a thin layer of peat moss over it using a rake. Known as top dressing, this toughens your turf and helps it to resist thatch, disease and the growth of weeds.
In Spring: Whack the Weeds
A healthy lawn is a happy lawn. Giving your lawn the nutrients and care it needs is the best way to keep weeds at bay. A weed trimmer pulls weeds up from the roots, making the process quick and easy. Or you can apply a weed killer to your lawn to get rid of existing weeds and prevent them from taking root in the future. Edging a lawn will keep grass (and weeds) within bounds.
In Spring: Prevent Pests and Diseases
You’d be amazed at how the smallest of creatures can cause extensive damage to your backyard. There are a number of ways to control pests, including applying pesticides, using other insects to feed on them or washing them off with water, to name a few. Also, consider disease-resistant plants to keep fungus, bacteria and other damaging diseases from destroying your lawn and garden.
Learn how to properly use and store pesticides.
In Spring: Fill in Bare Patches
Whether they originate from disease, damage or your dog’s urine, bare spots in your backyard are unsightly. First, fill the exposed patch with a good grade of topsoil. Then, scatter grass seed over the area, but be careful not to plant too many seeds. Rake the patch lightly (about 5 percent to 10 percent of the seeds should be visible), and spread a thin layer of compost over the area. The seeds should be watered daily, but ensure they don’t become too soggy.
Get step by step instructions for repairing bare patches in your lawn.
In Spring: Mow, Trim, Edge & Tidy Up
While grooming your backyard is a no-brainer, it’s certainly worth mentioning. Improve the overall look of your yard by mowing the grass, trimming trees and shrubs, clipping hedges, pruning plants, edging the lawn, picking up debris and washing away dirt using a pressure washer from The Home Depot Tool Rental Center. Also, consider using the grass clippings as mulch for vegetable or flower gardens, or adding them to a compost pile.
In Spring: Repair Damage to Deck, Patio or Fence
Winter weather can wreak havoc on your deck, patio or fence. Rotted wood, cracked tiles, loose boards, rusted metal – not only are these unattractive, but they pose safety issues as well. If the work is more than you can handle on your own, call on the professionals at The Home Depot.
In Fall: Rake & Mulch Leaves
Give your lawn extra care in fall for a healthier lawn next spring. True, autumn is famously the season for raking leaves, but it’s also time to fertilize and reseed cool-season grasses.
Keep your lawn neat by raking leaves, or using a blower to corral them and then bag or mulch them. Rake regularly to keep leaves from blocking sunlight on the grass.
You can use your lawn mower to mulch leaves that can be spread on your garden to protect plants. Learn more about mulching leaves with a lawnmower.
In Fall: Feed Your Lawn
Use a slow-release lawn fertilizer to fertilize cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and fescue. With cooler temperatures and more rain, the grass will have energy to expand its root network. See our guide where we break down and explain the types of fertilizers your yard needs.
In Fall: Sow Grass Seed
Overseed an existing lawn to revive a worn-down lawn and to fill in bare patches. Check with a Garden Center associate for advice on reseeding your type of grass. Fall is also the best time to plant a new lawn. Learn how to prep, seed and water a new lawn.
In Fall: Keep Mowing
Continue mowing your lawn through late summer and fall. It’s important to keep the grass trimmed, but you’ll need to lower the mower‘s carriage to its lowest setting for the final mowings of the season. This will help your grass focus on growing roots.
Remember to water your lawn, too, especially if you’re in an arid region or during times of drought. Lawns need, on average, about an inch of water a week to maintain that lush, green look.
In Fall: Clean & Store Tools
It’s important to clean tools before putting them away for the winter. Begin by washing off any dirt or debris and drying. Remove rust and coat metal parts with a lubricant like WD-40. Keep garden tools clean and neat.
Take time on the weekends to clean up your yard and make steps to building up a healthy lawn. In spring, focus on tasks that will help your landscape thrive in the warm months. In fall, you can enjoy a cool season garden and prep for winter. If you plan on cleaning up your yard but need some extra help, consider renting an aerator, mower, overseeder, power rake or trimmers with our lawn and garden rental to get your project done. Use once, then bring it back - no maintenance required.