Help Me With My Yard

Dear FlyLady,

I’ve been a FlyBaby for nearly a week now & I’m making a little progress. I have a large yard with many deciduous trees, bushes that need maintenance, & 3 large unneeded items my husband WON’T discard. Hiring a lawn-care service isn’t an option, so I have to do it. DH mows and weedwacks when necessary.

HELP!

Sincerely,
Vivian

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Dear Vivian,

Our yards can be a labor of love when we look at them as part of our homes and routines. We are heading into spring and gardening season; I can’t wait. Let’s look at our yards and gardens and see how we can use a basic weekly plan to help us.

As with most things in our life, we see all or nothing. Just looking at our homes and the yard, we don’t think that there is enough time to do it all. Well there is, if you will learn to break these areas into zones and smaller bites. Trying to do it all in one day is going to overwhelm you and take the joy from it. Oh yes there is joy in yard work.

Now let me tell you about our yard. We do not mow. We live in the woods and have no grass, but I know about mowing! It is like washing dishes; you never get finished, because as soon as you do, the grass decides to grow again.

For those of you who don’t know about our basic weekly plan. Just think of it as a day for everything. Kind of like the childhood song we sang. This is the way we wash our clothes, every Monday morning. We can also think of it, instead of a place for everything and everything in its place, we change it just a little to say; a time for everything. When we look at our homes, we have things that we do daily, every other day, weekly, biweekly, and monthly. This also works for our yards and gardens.

What needs to be done daily in our yards?

1. Weeding flowerbeds. Now don’t blow a gasket on this one. This is one of those outside jobs that only take a few minutes at a time. It does not have to be done all at once. We are used to doing it this way. Consistent daily plucking of weeds for only 5-15 minutes will keep this under control. This is something that we have never noticed until it was out of hand. I keep a pair of garden gloves, small rake/spade tool, and some snips in a basket by my front door, so when I walk outside in the cool of the evening or early morning, I can put on the gloves and do just a little. Another reason for wearing the glove besides getting your hands dirty; is to protect from thorns and spider bites. We found several black widow spiders in our rock garden. I do not want to be surprised by one of them.

2. Deadheading spent flowers; is something that can be done daily as you walk around your garden. Snip, Snip, Snip!

3. Bird feeders need to be filled daily and fresh water put in birdbaths. This takes only a few minutes. If I don’t refill ours, the squirrels, woodpeckers, and crows will come to the door and let us know they need seeds and peanuts. They are so cute. Yes! We feed our woodpeckers, they are beautiful smart birds. We have a pair of pileated woodpeckers that we have named Sidney and Shirley.  When you give them suet they will leave your house alone.

4. Some plants need to be watered every day during the hot part of the summer. I make it easy to water, by having the water hose handy or a watering can filled at all times. I just refill it after I water, that way I can water without a lot of hassle.

5. Porches may also need to be swept each day. You can just do the main traffic areas and then sweep the whole porch or walk well once a week.

You can incorporate these things into your daily routines. I fill bird feeders in the morning and in the afternoon while supper is cooking I usually pluck and prune the weeds and spent flowers. Just spend 15 minutes a day doing these little things in your garden. You will never have to spend a whole day again.

Now what needs to be done on a weekly basis.

1. Mowing. For the most part, mowing takes from 1 hour to as many as 5-6 hours, if you have a big yard. You can also break your yard into zones and do it over a couple of days if you need too. This schedule will need to be flexible according to the weather. So set aside one day with an optional day if need.

2. Some flowers or lawns may need to be watered weekly, I personally do not recommend heavy watering. The more you water early in the year, the more shallow the root system develops and if we have a lot of dry weather, the plants will not be hardy, will suffer, and so will you. So just a little water when you plant them, then let them root hog or die, I always say. If I have to water them; I know me, I will not do it. So they had better learn to fend for themselves. I also like to plant a lot of sedums and drought tolerant plants. I like a pretty garden without a lot of work.

3. Some people like to fertilize their lawn and garden weekly. Not me, I buy a bag of time released fertilizer and put a spoon full around my plants in the spring and then I do not have to do it again for 4 months. They even make some that lasts for 8 months; fertilizer for the lazy gardener. I love it. I am very pleased with the results in time saving and beautiful flowers.

4. Prune your perennials so you will have staggered blooms and less leggy plants is also a good thing to do early on in the season. This also helps them to make bushier plants.

5. Some of my flowers need to be staked so they don’t spread out when the rain weighs them down. So I check on this about once a week. I also look at my vines to make sure that they are entwined in the trellis.

So for the most part, if you will spend 15 minutes a day enjoying your yard and garden by walking out there and looking for a few weeds and clipping what is calling out to you, you can turn work into a labor of love and beauty. Isn’t that exactly what we have done with your home, fill it with love! Fill your yard with the same love. It is only work, if you think of it that way.

Now if you are on a budget and want to plant flowers, then let your children plant some zinnia seeds, marigolds, morning glory vines or Moon Flowers. Moon flowers are some of my favorite, because the blossoms open up before your very eyes in the evening. Children love to watch the show. They are big beautiful white blooms.

Last year I heard a radio essay on flowers. A mother was telling what her little boy had said. Flowers are God’s way of laughing. Think about it. When we experience the sensual joy of flowers, we give God pleasure.

We can all do 15 minutes in our yards, if we will just set a timer and get out there and do it. It is just like decluttering our homes. It didn’t get messed up in a day and it is not going to get clean overnight. PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION

Are you ready to FLY, by living your day in continuous joy?

FlyLady

We have many free control journals for you to download and print out. There are also a set of stickers for for the Home Maintenance Control Journal.

Home Maintenance Control Journal.

 

 

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