A garden is a lot like life. Neglect the little things and it will deteriorate into chaos. Tend to the little things and it will become a thing of beauty.  —Maria & Joseph Garcia, Finally Organized, Finally Free

It’s Time to Clean Up Your Yard

Your yard creates a visitor’s first impression of your home. It is also one part of your personal space that can be seen by anyone who drives or walks by—even those not invited. I happen to be born into a family that takes their yards and gardens very seriously. It seems I have been surrounded by green thumbs my whole life.


So when my husband and I purchased our first home I also took our new yard very seriously. After pouring lots of money and plants into the landscaping, I learned many things: Don’t plant anything you don’t have time to care for; perennials are my friend, and it is a lot harder to dig in the North Carolina clay than it is in upstate New York dirt! My best advice for organizing your yard and garden is to keep in mind how much time you’ll have to spend in this area in the future. Don’t plant more than you can maintain.

1. Survey your yard and garden. Gather up all the trash.


– Rusty, old tools

– Hammocks with holes

– Broken fencing

– Brush piles

– Pieces of broken swing sets

– Leftover piles of rocks, sand or wood

– Broken or badly weathered decorations

2. Hose down all of your window screens and wash the windows.

3. Clean out the gutters and downspouts.

4. Pull weeds and then weed-and-feed your garden.

5. Rake the leaves and trim any unruly bushes.

6. Till your garden.

clean up your yard

7. Put out a new welcome mat.

8. Sweep your porches and decks.

– Leftover items under the porch or deck

– Molding flower pots

– Broken lawn furniture

9. If you have a pool, check the chemical balance and make sure you are properly caring for it.

– Create a regular schedule for maintenance by designating one hour a week to pool care.

10. Schedule time for any large exterior projects you may have (planting a new flowerbed, repairing the deck, planting a tree).

– Write these work dates in your day planner and on the family calendar. If you don’t plan it, it won’t happen!

Tips To Help You Keep Your Yard Tidy

– Before you plant your garden and flower beds, make a colored sketch to check the layout and design. This can help you select the most attractive flowers for your yard.


– Cut down on watering time by watering very slowly. This lets the water soak down all the way to the roots. Don’t waste time with frequent, short sprinklings.


– Water in the late evening or very early morning so the sun doesn’t evaporate the moisture before it soaks through the soil.


– Schedule a yard-work day at the end of each season to take care of all your seasonal responsibilities (till the garden, put lawn/patio furniture in storage, install storm windows) at one time.


– Instead of raking up leaves in autumn, mow over them with a bagging mower. All of the leaves will be removed from the yard and the clippings make great compost for your garden.


– Pegged coat racks are great to hang in a shed for tools and supplies that have looped strings or cords. You can even hang a trimming tool or leaf blower if you tie a small rope or bungee cord to it. These pegged racks are also great by a pool to dry wet towels.


– Shop Thursdays and Fridays for your plants and gardening supplies. Garden centers stock up during the weekdays. You can get the best selection at the end of the week.


– If you have no space or time for a separate vegetable garden, sprinkle a few veggie plants in your flowerbeds.


-Don’t forget to organize the garage!


Here are some more pics of our outdoor living area!