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Clean up the Yard and Throw a Summer Party

What Kind of Shape is Your Yard In? Without realizing it, you may be making nasty comments to yourself about yourself when you go into the front or back yard. You may be mumbling that you’re too lazy to pick up the trash, weed the garden beds, and put the tools away.

Every time you see these things on your way to and from the house (which is really quite often), you have an opportunity to wince a little and feel overwhelmed. If you live in an apartment, you may feel this way when you look at your entryway or balcony. Is it time to take down the winter decorations and clear away the empty clay pots? Why not take advantage of this 4th of July holiday weekend to pick up the yard and get it company ready?

I host a barbecue every year on the 4th because I live on the river close to the big fireworks display. This party gives me a built-in opportunity every year to get my yard spiffed up. If you don’t have a summer party planned, why not plan one? It can serve as a motivator to get the yard cleaned up.

Popular Junk in People’s Yards

  • an old couch that needs to be hauled off
  • rusted farm implements
  • a broken refrigerator
  • empty pots
  • unraveled hoses
  • broken toys
  • rakes without handles
  • hand tools
  • buckets, old tubs, and other containers

How Can You Simplify Your Yard?

One reason our yards get trashed is that we have too much stuff and our lives are too complicated. Can you think of ways to simplify your yard?

Have you noticed that every spoonful of dirt you turn over is prime real estate for weeds? I set a goal years ago to have gardens all the way around my house. This is one goal I wish I hadn’t achieved. I also decided that it would be easier to mulch my entire yard instead of mow it. What was I thinking? There is nothing easier than mowing – except maybe pavement.

This spring it dawned on me that I didn’t have the time to care sufficiently for a complicated yard design. While drinking coffee and staring out at it one morning, I finally decided that destruction was the answer. I started getting excited. I longed for a simpler yard that wouldn’t embarrass me and remind me of my overblown garden goals.

To simplify all of the yard tasks I decided to tear out some of the flower beds lined with rocks (so I wouldn’t have to weed whack them) and let the yard mulch be taken over by things I can mow. Yes weeds. I can plant grass seed in the fall.

I put an ad in my local freecycle group (national group, freecycle.org) that I had free limestone garden rocks for the taking. Two groups of people came and took all the big rocks. A friend helped me take out the remaining smaller rocks so I can easily mow that big garden plot now instead of weed and weed whack. I love it! I can take care of my entire yard now in about 30 minutes because of those two simple changes – taking out some of the gardens and garden rocks so I can mow and turning my yard back to yard, not mulch. Just to clarify: using mulch in gardens is a fabulous idea – mulching the entire yard is not a fabulous idea unless you have a truck, an inexpensive endless supply of mulch, and free weekends to haul and spread it.

Is there something you can do in your yard to simplify yard tasks? Whatever you do, don’t turn over any more dirt…unless you really like to weed.

Here are a few more tips for cleaning up the yard:

  1. See your yard as if for the first time. Is there anything junky that needs to be put away, gotten rid of, or cleaned up? Why not take a few minutes to put anything away in your yard that doesn’t belong there.
  2. If something big needs to be hauled off, contact the city to see about trash pickup. They will usually come to pick up large items if you make an appointment.
  3. Determine that you will weed 30 minutes every morning or evening after work. On this regimen, most yards (even neglected ones) will look pretty great by the end of the week. Put some mulch on them (yes mulch) and you won’t have to weed so much next time.

It will feel great to take care of your yard. I know, I just did it. I feel a lot more on top of life. A junky yard can make you feel junky. A clean yard can make you feel clean and green.

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