Creating a Picture Perfect Setting

A Chance to Enhance

Think of your pond as an unscripted, improvisational play—the confluence of roles and characters for the sole purpose of pleasure. Mother Nature—its director and producer. The cast—trickling water, darting koi, croaking bullfrogs and blooming buds.

And every award-winning play is supported by a carefully appointed set—a mise en scène planned and crafted from a marbling of artistry and function. Details drive the ambiance, create the vibe and wield impact at pivotal moments.

A symbiotic chemistry exists between actress and set—one has the ability to silently enhance the other’s performance. The connection between your pond and your yard is no different.

So let’s get to work—beautifying the environs to rival the centerpiece. Here is a quick (and yes, sometimes dirty) list to start your outdoor spring cleaning:

Tidy up flower beds. Remove dead leaves, twigs, pods and other debris to ensure a neat appearance and to prevent disease. Pull out last season’s annuals and replace mulch (2-4 inches deep). Leave a mulch-free margin around the base of shrubs and plants so water and nutrients can permeate. If the danger of frost has subsided, plant annuals that can tolerate spring temperatures.

Care for trees, shrubs and grasses. Prune non-spring flowering perennials and shape evergreens. Remove and discard or compost dead branches and foliage. Check for signs of disease. Consider pruning ornamental grasses in early spring, before new growth mingles with older wisps. Bundling the grass with decomposable tape prior to cutting will reduce cleanup time.

Care for the lawn. Vibrant and lush green grass is the quintessential layer of a beautiful landscape. It requires commitment—but the payoff is big. Starting your lawn care in springtime is a must—and will set the foundation for a beautiful summer lawn. Check your soil’s pH—neutral is ideal for most grasses. Most lawns benefit from springtime seeding to restore bare or brown patches. Ensure the seed you apply is appropriate for climate conditions—and matches the existing grass. If dirt and grass have eroded around tree bases, cover exposed roots with dirt, then seed.

Check fences and trellises for chipping paint and rotting wood. Remove any overgrown vines. Restore fencing and repaint if necessary.

Examine garden statues, bird feeders and lawn ornaments and repair, replace or reposition as necessary. Clean bird feeders and baths thoroughly.

Tidy up paths and patios. After removing debris, clean any spots left on pavers or flagstones from decaying leaves or algae. Sweep gravel to its proper spot and replenish if needed. Replace cracked or broken flagstones. Pull up any weeds that have emerged.

Check your mower. Change the oil, check for flat tires, sharpen blades and fill with gas. Take it for a spin.

Enjoy every minute. The wait is over. Garden gloves have replaced woolen sweaters; cocoa has yielded to lemonade. Breathe deeply and take it all in. Springtime cleanup will set the stage for a lush lawn, a beautiful yard and the distinct joy of breathing fresh, warm air all summer long.