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7 Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer

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How to Prep Your Yard for Spring and Summer

Winter is over here. Yay! Although I hated losing an hour of sleep back in March, it was a nice teaser that spring was on the horizon. And I’m getting to work prepping our yard, lawn, and garden for spring and summer.

Ever since finishing off our backyard last summer, we have spent a ton of time outside. Here are some pics from last year in July.

Small backyard design ideas // Modern design ideas for a small backyard
Small backyard design ideas // Modern design ideas for a small backyard
Small backyard design ideas // Modern design ideas for a small backyard
Small backyard design ideas // Modern design ideas for a small backyard

We love our small yard, but even though it’s small, it isn’t maintenance-free. We don’t have a ton of big projects to do this year, thankfully—just the normal stuff like cleaning up after the winter, treating the lawn, prepping the garden beds, putting outdoor things back out, and planting.

But all of these tasks can still add up and feel overwhelming, so today I’m sharing how to prepare your yard for spring with a focus on tips for gardening and law care. Bonus—I completed all of these in two weekends of baby naps!

Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer

1. Tackle the major cleanup first.

When you go to the salon to get your hair chopped off, they don’t just dive in and start shaping your layers. They cut off a giant chunk of hair first to get it out of the way. I did that with my outdoor space. For me, that meant removing things that had blown into our yard, sicks, leaves, dead plants I forgot to remove before winter, and other random debris.

When you’re doing this, take note the condition your yard is in and what might need extra attention. Here are some Very Scary pictures of what our yard looked like before we did anything cleaning up at all this year:

7 Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
7 Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
7 Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer

2. Clean out the shed.

Or where ever you store all of your backyard things. We have a small shed, but we threw a lot of stuff in it before the winter. I took everything out to see what we had before making a trip to the store. I also chucked products that were expired, and we made sure our lawn mower still worked.


3. Clean up Landscaping.

We did a low-maintenance mid-sized stone landscaping around our deck and in areas where we have large pots. Snow, wind, and rain had done a number on some spots, so I went to our local nursery and got an additional 5-gallon bucket of stones to freshen it up.

I also drove some of the landscape edging stakes back into the ground and added some more in areas that needed extra support. You can see some of those wavier areas along the edging in this pic:

7 Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Before tidying the edging.
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Just a few bare grass areas we need to patch!
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer

If you have mulch in your backyard, now is the time to figure out how much you’ll need to get! We don’t have any in the backyard, but we mulch in the front—we’re planning to tackle that after we get a handle on the back. 

4. Wash Deck and Furniture.

We left the furniture bases, as well as the paver coffee table and side table, out all winter. I used Sal Suds soap, a rag, and the hose to clean off the deck and wipe down all furniture. 

I also decided to replace the paver tops to the coffee table and side table with fresh pavers since they are so cheap. That also gave me the opportunity to seal the concrete for a more polished look. Once everything was totally dry, I put down the new rug I got (the old one went up on the top deck).

Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer

5. Treat Lawn.

When talking about how to prep your yard for spring, I can’t ignore the lawn. We have a small lawn, and I outsource this part of the yard to Mike. I do not have the patience to battle grass. I would totally get rid of it if I could! 

Mike just uses Weed and Feed fertilizer, which we think does a great job. The sun and rain helps, too (obviously). These photos were only taken a few weeks apart. (There are a few patches we need to work on in the yard, so just ignore those.)

7 Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
7 Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer

6. Check out your planters.

I dumped a lot of small pots out last fall and stacked them up outside. Others I left some potting soil in. To get ready for planing, I’m planning to clean out almost all of the pots. If they’re empty, I’ll give them a quick wash. If they’re full of soil, I’ll take about a third of the soil out so I can mix in some fresh compost. 

I’ve painted some of my pots, and since I left them outside over the winter, the paint chipped. So I also did a bit of re-painting so everything looks like new. The bigger painted white pot did require some sanding, which was a bit of a pain, but it looks like new now.

(You can also see in some of the pics below that I brought my prickly pear cactus outside for the summer. See my tips on prickly pear cactus care and a guide on how to propagate prickly pear pads!)

Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer

7. Prep Raised Garden Beds for Planting.

I was really anxious to prep the raised garden beds this year. Last year was our first year with a real garden, and I think it will be even better this year. We have two large raised garden bed that I cleaned out and raked over last fall.

Since the soil gets compacted during the winter, I used a rake to loosen it back up, focusing on the top foot or so of dirt. We really wanted to enhance our raised bed soil last year, so I added a few bags of leaf compost from a local nursery and mixed that in.

So far I’ve planted lettuce, radishes, and beets—all from seed—in the bed that gets the least amount of sun (but still a good amount). I also put in cucumber and tomato plants in the sunnier bed, as well as jalapeños and other random things throughout the containers. I’m planning to put some green beans or snap peas in to climb the fence, too.

Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer

Up Next…

I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but it’s mostly the fun stuff like planting, shuffling around planters until I get the look I’m going for, hanging two more baskets, and a few other odds and ends. I’ll update with more pictures once everything is done!

Share my tips on how to prep your yard for spring on Pinterest:

7 Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer
Steps to Prep the Backyard for Spring and Summer


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