With a bit of planning, you can make things much easier on yourself! I believe that’s true in so many areas of life, including when it comes to spiffing up your garden and other outdoor areas this spring. After all, spring is one of the most beautiful times to enjoy your outdoor space. So, if you can get tasks like gutter cleaning done more quickly, you’ll have extra time for that barbecue or nap in the hammock. Plus, your patio and flowerbeds are going to look great!


Clean, uh Scoop, Gutters in No Time.

Forget about sticking your hands in the gutters. Scoop instead! Use a utility knife to cut a half-gallon milk jug to form a scoop, or dustpan, that will fit perfectly in most gutters. View some great milk jug scoop examples on Recycle, eh and WonderHowTo.

Take a minute to admire your handiwork. Then, fill your DIY scoop with leaf litter with the help of a wallpaper brush, or other small brush.



Bury Newspapers Around Flowers.

Save yourself some grunt work later. Prevent (or greatly reduce) weeds in flowerbeds. It’s easy. Start by retrieving your newspapers from the recycling bin. What!? You only read online news? If that’s the case, ask your neighbors or your local library if you may have their old newspapers. Another option is to collect newsprint fliers from your mailbox, but avoid using glossy pages.

To use your newspapers as mulch, place flat layers of seven or more sheets of moistened newsprint around your plants. Top these layers with grass clippings, bark mulch or your favorite type of organic mulch. Now you’re ready to enjoy freedom from weeds in your flowerbeds throughout the summer! As an added bonus, the newsprint will act as fertilizer as it breaks down.


Rein in the Tall Ornamental Grasses.

If your ornamental grasses were left standing through the winter, cut them before new growth starts in early spring. Cutting back tall ornamental grasses isn’t the tedious job you think it is.

Bundle up ornamental grasses for much easier removal and cutting! It’s simple. Just use a bungee cord or rope to secure a handful of grasses in the middle, and then cut the grasses at the base of your bundle. Pick up your cut stash and release the bungee cord at your composting area!


Bid Farewell to Algae or Mildew on the Patio.

You don’t have to buy a pressure washer to remove algae, moss, mildew, or just general grime from your patio, deck, stepping stones or outdoor stairs. Instead, buy oxygen bleach powder and follow the instructions for mixing it with warm water. Unlike chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach is safe to use around plants and pets. And it won’t remove colors on stained decks and painted surfaces. If you’re really worried, test the solution on a small area first.

Now, it’s time to put that oxygen bleach to work. Using a simple lawn and garden sprayer, apply the oxygen bleach solution to your patio or other problem area. Let it rest for about 10 minutes, and then scrub with a brush. After that, just rinse with a garden hose to unveil your sparkling patio!


Take Time to Enjoy the Daffodils.

After all that work, be sure to sit back and admire your weed-free flowerbeds and clean patio! Maybe you’ll even go shopping for a nice hammock. Whatever your spring brings, I hope that you’ll get a chance to unwind with DIY projects.


Do you have any favorite money- or time-saving spring maintenance tricks or tips? Have you tried cleaning your gutters with a scoop?