Turning a New Leaf

At long last, April is here.

The monochromatic color scheme of winter is giving way to the vibrant colors of spring. Trees are budding, birds are signing, and it’s time to get outside. Higher temperatures also mean it is time to think about getting the yard in shape. If you’re not a natural horticulturist, trying to catalog everything that needs to be done to get things in shape can be a bit daunting. But it doesn’t take much to give inject a little life into your yard. Start small, with one well-defined area or task like prepping one flower bed or clearing all twigs and debris from the lawn. You might just be amazed at how ‘big’ the impact can be.

Alicia on ‘Dress Appropriately’

‘The most important thing to remember is that you will need to regulate your body temperature as you work. During this time of year, the temperature can change rapidly: if the sun is shining on you, you can warm up fast; if it goes behind some clouds, the temp can plummet rapidly. Also, when you first go outside you may feel cold but after working for half-an-hour, you may be hot and sweaty. So have a plan: dress in layers and add or subtract clothes as necessary.’

Sarah on ‘The More the Merrier’

‘There is no reason to feel that you must do this all by yourself just because no one jumped and yelled, ”Please let me help!” Get the family together and enlist their help in an important family project that will be a lot of fun. Create a plan together and let people choose favorite projects, including yourself. The home can sometimes feel like command central where the plans are kept but the time spent together is minimal. These kinds of projects not only bind the family together but will teach your kids how to care for their own yards someday.’

Here a few tips to help you get down and dirty.

#1 Visualize Your Goals
Seeing where you are going can get you through the rough patches. When you sit down with the family, lay out your vision and help them to see it in their minds. What colors and/ or smells will the flowers provide? What games can be played on the yard once it is put into good working order? When can your husband plan his first barbecue, based on when the yard is finished, including the accompanying Margaritas? Knowing that there is a finish line worth crossing will help the crew stay motivated and upbeat.

#2 Remember That This is a Collaboration
Since you are asking for physical contributions, be prepared for mental ones as well. We are sure that you will have your own vision or plan, but be prepared to augment that plan based on your family’s input. You may want a bigger area for entertaining while your kids might want more gaming opportunities. Focus on that important 20% that you will have a project you can do with the whole family and a full summer where you all get to spend time together.

#3 Dial Down Your Expectations
Your yard will not turn out perfect for the simple reason that life is not perfect; that’s okay. Not every flower will bloom and some projects will not materialize as hoped for. And if you go into it with those expectations, you will not be disappointed. The goal should be to do a family project that gets close to the collective vision and then enjoy the fruits of your labor for the rest of the year.