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Preparing Your Backyard for Spring Planting

By Kevin Jefferson March 08, 2024 Lifestyle

Having the right plants makes gardening much easier. Still, they can’t do all the work for you. Every garden requires a lot of preparation and maintenance.

And pretty soon, you will be caught up in a frenzy of seed sowing, nurturing, and growing your plants. To get a head start, use the rest of the winter season to organize your thoughts and plan gardening activities for the spring.

Get Your Shed in Order

Now is the perfect time to oil hinges and sharpen blades. Go over your tools and see if any of them needs upgrading. Spring-time gardening is much easier when you have the right equipment.

To give bladed tools a thorough clean, use a scourer, hot water, and strong detergent. To make sure all of your blades will be sharp, get a mill knife. You should also add penetrating oil to prevent corrosion.

No digging or cutting job is too difficult when you have a sharp, well-oiled implement. By maintaining and cleaning your tools, you will also increase their lifespan and save money.

It’s also a good idea to replenish your supplies before spring arrives. Stock up on soil amendments and make sure you have enough fertilizer. If you want to make tomato cages for yourself, now is a good time to pre-assemble them.


Winter is the perfect time to prune fig trees, boxwoods, hornbeam, maple, oak, and many other plants that are still dormant.

Because you can still see the branch structure well, late winter and early spring are perfect times to prune old wood. This allows you to shape the plant before the buds start to flower. Now is also a great time to prune woody ornamentals.

But there are a couple of things you should consider before you go snip-happy. You need to take some precautions in order to avoid inadvertently spreading harmful bacteria and fungi to your plants.

Sterilize your pruners with some isopropyl alcohol and a clean rag before each cut. In fact, you should clean and disinfect all of your gardening tools and containers.

Secondly, you shouldn’t prune plants that bloom on old wood at this time of year. These include Weigela, Kalmia (Mountain Laurel), Magnolia, Syringa (Lilac), Hydrangea Macrophylla (Bigleaf), Camellia, and spring-blooming Spirea. If you have any of these plants, wait until after the bloom season to prune them.

To ensure that the plant has enough nutrients to deal with its wounds, it is a good idea to add a little fertilizer to the soil whenever you are pruning your plants.

Clear Out Debris, Mulch, and Weeds

Remove the debris, mulch, weeds, and everything else that’s in the way until you’re back to bare soil. To make use of the organic debris, you can create a compost pile.

You should rake away the “fresh” mulch to expose the soil. As for well-composted organic matter and debris, you can leave it where it is.

Be on the lookout for any weeds that may still be alive. You should remove them from the soil. Then, you can either place them in the middle of the working compost pile (so that the heat will kill them) or you can burn them.

Prepare the Soil

Start preparing your garden beds once the frost lifts and the soil becomes workable. Soil tends to become compacted in the winter. As soon as it gets a bit warmer, you should loosen it back up by turning it or tilling it.

This can be arduous work if you have a big garden, so it may be a good idea to buy or rent a garden tiller. You can use it to work the soil to a depth of 12″ or 14″. Make sure to mix in any leaf litter or mulch that is well-composted.

When you’re done with this step, you can add amendments and compost. You should add a healthy layer of compost if you have poor or clay-based soil.

To help the soil settle and release pockets, level it with a rake and water it lightly. This will improve the soil’s moisture-retention, nutrient content, and texture.

If the soil is very poor, you also have the option of planting a raised garden bed above it. If you want to put your whole garden to good use, check out some of these ideas.

Start Collecting Rainwater

To make the most of seasonal rainfall, install water butts in your garden. Most of the year’s rain falls in late winter and early spring, so now is the best time to harvest it.

You are doing the environment a huge favor by collecting rainwater. Water companies resort to groundwater reserves in the hotter months. This is costly for consumers and harmful to the environment.

Moreover, rainwater is the best type of water for gardening. Since tap water is slightly alkaline, Rhododendrons, Camellias, blueberries, and other Ericaceous plants particularly like rainfall.

Position the water butt underneath a downpipe from your shed or house. You’ll need to get a diverter kit if you’ve got a closed drainpipe.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you have a garden or backyard that you maintain? How do you prepare it for springtime? What are you planning to do with your garden space this year? Please share below!

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The Author

Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son. He has both thoroughly enjoyed the process and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of Kevin’s work on

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