Get it Done: Yard Clean-Up in Seven Easy Steps

WRITER | JULIE FORD
PHOTOS | JEREMY THOMAS

Some love it, others loathe it, but performing a thorough yard clean-up in fall is important when caring for your property and makes the seemingly distant spring clean-up a much easier task. While it may seem daunting, here’s how to make it less labor intensive.

  1. Map-out your plan of attack. Look at your yard as a three-dimensional battlefield.  Yard clean-up doesn’t involve just leaves.  Flower beds, areas with creeping vines, and fence rows are going to be strongholds where leaves and debris have gathered. You’ll also want to consider the exterior of your home and any tree and shrub trimming or pruning that needs to be done. Give yourself plenty of time for each task.
  2. Check your waste removal dates for yard waste and try to plan your clean-up accordingly. Better yet, use your collected yard waste in a compost heap. Your plants will thank you for it later. Also, fall is the perfect time to spread compost over your flower beds and garden. It will provide protection for the dormant plants along with breaking down over the winter and infusing your soil with cherished nutrients that will be at the ready as your yard awakens in the spring.
  3. Clean out gutters and the roof before tackling the yard. Have a tarp below to throw the wet, heavy leaves onto, as it’s much easier when trying to move them a long distance.
  4. Pull out your chainsaw and hedge trimmer before going after the leaves as well. Large dead branches can be gathered and moved first, leaving the smaller sticks to be handled along with the leaves.
  5. Certain perennials and dying vegetable matter can be cut down to the soil if you choose, making the process easier. Check each variety to find out what’s recommended.  Some plants, including hosta, benefit from being left untouched, their remains providing protection from the harsh winter to their hibernating core. Dead plants and vegetables also provide winter forage for animals and birds, so you may wish to leave them for the critters.
  6. Interested in saving time and effort? Consider investing in a high-powered leaf blower. Instead of struggling with hard-to-reach spots, a strong blower does the work for you, easily pushing large quantities of leaves and debris into piles. Just be sure to wear ear protection!
  7. Plan the wind. Autumn often brings with it strong winds. If you use the wind direction to your advantage, it will make herding the large piles of leaves and debris much simpler.

Don’t forget to work in one direction, sweeping from side to side so that everything is gathered in one place as you go.

Enjoy your time outdoors in the crisp fall air. Winter will soon arrive, so cherish this time as you give your property an appealing clean slate – until the return of mild temperatures, budding trees, and the green landscape.