How to Maintain Your Yard Like a Professional




This Instructable shows how to perform a spring clean up on your lawn that looks like professionals did it. The time to complete this list of instructions is dependent on the size of the property and number of people working. It is recommended to allow three to four days to complete everything. This set of instructions is possible to complete with one person, but for the sake of time more helpers would speed things along. No task is too difficult although some of them could be potentially dangerous and protective attire is strongly advised. The following is a summary of the instructions

Step 1: Gathering necessary materials
Steps 1 - 3 : Pickup
Steps 4 - 9: Mulching
Steps 10-14: Edging
Steps 15-18: Mowing
Steps 19-22: Trimming

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Step 1: Materials

1. Long Pants
2. Safety glasses
3. Hearing Protection
4. Lawnmower
5. Weed trimmer
6. Pruning tools
     A. Pruning saw
     B. Handheld pruners
     C. Loppers
7. Flat digging shovel
8. Stiff Rake
9. Spring rake
10. Wheelbarrow
11. Silage fork / scoop shovel
12. Mulch
13. Lawn Edger
14. Leaf blower/ broom
15. Refuse bags
     A. Be sure you have enough bags and tags or stickers for your bags, as you will probably use a lot.
Note: The blades for the lawnmower and the lawn edger should be sharpened at the beginning of each season. If its not possible to sharpen them at home, a local lawn and power dealer will be able to do that for a small fee.

Step 2: (Pickup) Remove Dead Leaves and Sticks From Flower Beds

Use the spring rake and the leaf blower for this. Use the spring rake like a broom, sweep the debris with quick motions. That is how that rake is designed to be used. Only hard rakes or leaf rakes are meant to be drug. 

Step 3: (Pickup) Trim Dead or Broken Branches From Trees and Shrubs

Here are some factors to consider when trimming branches:
     A. Cut the branches as close to the base as possible
     B. Cut perpendicular to the branch
     C. Don’t cut into the curved parts that grow from the tree into the branch
          i. These are actively growing cells, and the wound will heal much faster if this area is unharmed
          ii. On the underside of the branch make a small cut an inch above where you are going to sever the limb.
          iii. This prevents the falling branch from ripping a strip of bark off past where the cut is being made.

Step 4: (Pickup) Put Debris in Refuse Bags

If refuse is not being picked up for several days be sure to store the refuse bags in an area where they won't get wet or get knocked over

Step 5: (Mulching) Dig an Edge Around the Perimeter of Every Flower Bed

Use the flat digging shovel. The trench should be 4-6 inches straight down then sloping back up into the bed. Use a stiff rake to break up the dirt and spread it out in the bed. Put any sod in a refuse bag.

Step 6: (Mulching) Estimate the Total Surface Area of Beds to Be Mulched

1 cubic yard of mulch covers roughly 3 square yards. Mulch can be bought in bags or delivered by a local nursery or landscaping company. It is typically delivered in a large pile in the driveway. 

Step 7: (Mulching) Spread Mulch

Use the silage fork or scoop shovel to load the wheelbarrow. After dumping the wheelbarrow, use a stiff rake or your hands spread the mulch evenly with a 2-3 inch depth.

Step 8: Edging

Safety Recommendation: Eye Protection, and Ear Protection

Use the lawn edger to follow the edge of any pavement with a sheer drop. The blades should be digging down about 1 inch, and as close to the pavement as possible. Going over an area several times will create a cleaner edge. Use a leaf blower to blow the loosened ground material out of the new edge.

Step 9: (Cutting) Mow the Perimeter of the Yard

Safety Recommendation: Eye Protection, and Ear Protection

Cut multiple passes around the yard. This area will be used later to turn the lawnmower around. Be sure to use the grass catcher on the lawnmower. This cleans up most mess left behind by mulching and edging. Its important to empty the grass catcher before it is completely full or it will stop catching grass clippings.

Step 10: (Cutting) Cut the Center Area of Your Lawn

Safety Recommendation: Eye Protection, and Ear Protection

Cut the center area in rows by using the pre-cut perimeter. Alternating direction creates a striped pattern. Every time the lawn is cut again rotate the orientation of the rows 90 degrees. Eventually there will be a checker board pattern.

Step 11: Trimming

Safety Recommendation: Long Pants, eye protection, ear protection

When trimming stand in the grass and move from right to left, cutting with the leading edge of the trimmer. Trimming in this way reduces cleanup at the end. 

Step 12: Cleanup

Safety Recommendation: Long Pants, Eye Protection, and Ear Protection

Inspect the property one more time for any missed spots while you have the leaf blower clearing sidewalks, driveways, and streets of debris.

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