woman raking old leaves in spring cleanup

8 Things You Must Do for Yard and Lawn Spring Clean Up

Spring is finally here, and those snowy, cold winter temperatures are fading fast. But before you kick back on the porch every morning with a steamy cup of Earl Grey, we’ve got a lot of work to do to get the yard ready. As a homeowner, springtime yard clean up is how you set the foundation for a beautiful lawn all year long.

Spring yard cleanup is a big job, and if you’ve got plenty of trees, shrubs and flower beds, you can’t just tackle this job in a single day. So we’ve broken it all down into eight sections so that you can take them on one at a time, all while making your homes curb appeal look much better.

If you’re planning to DIY your entire spring yard clean up, then allow yourself at least one or two weekends – maybe even three – to get everything done. And if your ladder-climbing days are over, or if you’ve got your hands full with kids and careers, there’s no shame in calling in the pros to help you shoulder the load. Click here to learn what the pros charge for spring yard cleanup.

So let’s just dive in and talk about what all needs to get done.

Updated: September 30, 2021

1. Clean Up Dead Leaves and Branches

If you’ve got kids big enough to hold a rake and a garbage bag, then this one’s a no-brainer. Get them out there with you or even delegate the whole job to them if they’ve already done it before. Just like yard cleanup costs in the fall season, you can save considerably having the kids help out when they can.

Cleaning up dead leaves and fallen tree branches is good, character-building stuff. Let’s give them something to grumble about to their own kids when they get older. So hand out the gloves and yard tools and start the spring season off right.

With a couple hours of work, you can make a big visual impact just by raking up leaves and debris and bundling branches. The first yard cleanup of the season is always a big job. But don’t worry, once it’s over, all you’ll need is a little touch up every other weekend from here on out.

2. Trim Back Trees and Shrubs

If you trimmed back your tree branches last year, you might be able to let this one slide until next season. But if those tree branches are hanging over your roof or rubbing up against your home on windy days, they need to get trimmed so they don’t damage your shingles and gutters.

Power tools will make quick work of this job, but even long-handled tree trimmers will do, depending on the scope of the work. If you’re not properly equipped to do the job, decide if you want to buy some new toys and trim everything yourself or hire someone to handle it for you.

Shaping hedges and pruning shrubs yourself can actually be a lot of fun, even with hand tools. But again it depends on how big the project is.

3. Mow and Edge Grass

lawnmower cutting fresh gass

Have you missed the scent of fresh-cut grass? Well, it’s time to indulge yourself. For a lot of homeowners, mowing the lawn after a long winter is practically the highlight of their springtime yard cleanup, and for good reason. This is the fun part.

If you’re a new homeowner, you probably spent several years daydreaming about having your own lawn to mow and care for. There’s not a whole lot to talk about. Just get out and do it, row by row. Just make sure you get the edges done too. You’re not done until the edging is complete. You might even want to start with edging first and let the mower suck up the clippings.

4. Apply Fertilizer and Pre-Emergent Herbicide

Let’s talk for a second about crabgrass: I don’t like crabgrass. It’s coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere.

The best way to get rid of crabgrass is to use a pre-emergent herbicide layer during the spring and fall to prevent crabgrass seeds from germinating and spreading. But many homeowners will also seed their lawns during those times to fill in dead spots – more on that below.

To prevent the herbicide from hindering new turfgrass growth, wait at least six weeks before seeding. If you don’t plan on reseeding your turfgrass this spring, then definitely do the pre-emergent.

As an alternative, you can also try a post-emergent for existing crabgrass. That shouldn’t interfere with new turfgrass seeds germinating this spring.

5. Clean Rain Gutters and Downspouts

Rain gutters and downspouts often get clogged up with dead leaves and debris year-round, but especially in the fall. Hopefully you cleaned them out before winter to prevent overflows and ice dams. But either way, you might need to clean them out again as part of your yard cleanup this season.

Doing it the right way means getting up there on a ladder and clearing not only the gutters themselves but also clearing leaves and debris off the rooftop so that it doesn’t end up in the gutters later on.

Every year clogged rain gutters crack and rip away from people’s homes, causing major damage. So hire someone if you need to, gutter cleaning costs around $80 on average, so don’t ignore this job.

Get Free Rain Gutter Advice, Repair or Installation Quotes

Get Free Rain Gutter Advice, Repair or Installation Quotes

6. Overseed Dead Lawn Areas

Many lawns develop bare spots during the fall and winter when dead leaves and debris block sunlight and kill the grass beneath. And sometimes, frost and snow accomplish the same thing.

If you have some patches of dead grass and bare dirt, you’ll want to overseed those areas right away so they can fill in during this spring season. Those seeds will take some time to germinate and spring up, so don’t delay.

7. Prep Planters for New Flowers

If you planted hardy spring bulbs this past fall season, then those beauties will begin filling in over the next few months. But they will need room to grow and spread their foliage. Your flower beds and planters have likely accumulated some dead leaves, twigs and other debris over the winter season – and perhaps even some weeds – so now is the time to clear all of that out of the way to prepare for new growth.

Now, to be honest, some of us haven’t touched our flower beds for the last few years, and nothing good is about to spring up out of them this season. That’s okay. Nobody’s pointing fingers. So you know what? Let’s just hit the reset button on those areas, pull everything out and put in some tender summer bulbs.

1. Clear the top soil completely of debris, weeds, dead foliage, etc.
2. Plant summer bulbs 4-8 inches deep, depending on type and size of bulbs
3. Cover with fresh potting soil and fertilizer as needed
4. Cover with a light layer of mulch
5. Give a good watering to settle the bulbs in
6. Wait patiently for summer!

If you’re looking for ideas on how to spruce up your yard but don’t have a big budget, read these tips for cheap landscaping projects you can do in a weekend, and on a tight budget!

8. Clean Walkways and Patio

Once all the garden and lawn care is taken care of, you’ll want to add the finishing touches to your spring yard clean up by cleaning up your walkways and patio. Scrub them down with a mild detergent solution and hose everything off.

For mildew stains, you might need to use a stronger solution that includes either chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach, but those can be harmful if hosed off onto your lawn or into flower beds. A pressure washer works great, and natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda can also get the job done, especially when pressure washing your driveway.

What Would You Add to Spring Time Yard Cleanup?

Share what you have to do around your yard for spring cleanup with others.