Cleaning up is perhaps the most despised task in the world. It is even more so when it comes to cleaning overgrown gardens. However, if you have a plan and the right set of tools, your task will become a little easier. So without delay, read on to find out how such a disliked task can become more bearable and quickly done with these pro tips.
Determine Your Strategy and Plan Ahead
Going headfirst with a lawnmower with the intention to clear your garden will likely leave you exhausted and with an even messier garden. The start of cleaning up your backyard should be with a solid plan that you can execute properly. This is especially important if you own a large garden. In such cases, it might take many days for all the work to be done and, ideally, should be completed in multiple stages.
You will also need to check whether you have all the necessary tools and should stock up if you don’t. Here are a few points that should be on your checklist before you put on your gardening gloves:
- Determine how much work needs to be done. Is pruning and weeding enough, or is your garden buried beneath overgrown vegetation? Your strategy should differ depending on the extent of the damage.
- The size of your garden. Small gardens will probably require only one weekend to clear up; however, larger ones may need more days.
- Set your end goal. Do you wish to add a fresh look to your garden or remove it altogether to make space for something else, like a patio?
- Your budget and time. If you are in a rush, such as planning to sell the house, then you can hire professional cleaners to do all of the work for you.
Get Your Tools Ready
Your lawnmower is likely not the best choice to clear up an overgrown garden. You will end up damaging the lawnmower if you try. Instead, use a brush mower that can easily cut through more than 3” thick of weeds and grass.
For clearing a brush or saplings, a brush grubber should be used, which pulls them out from the roots.
Unwanted or dead trees require more work and can be removed using battery-powered chainsaws. For more guidance about where to find it and other yard cleaning tools, make sure to do your research and compare functions and prices for the best value.
Work In Stages
In order to return your garden to its former glory, you will need a lot of patience and planning. For best results without overexerting yourself, it is best to break down the whole process in small steps with set tasks.
- Get rid of the rubbish. Clear up damaged pieces of furniture, plastic bottles, broken garden features, rusty unusable tools, and other junk. You will be surprised how much cleaner your garden looks by this one task alone.
- Trim overgrown hedges. This will drastically change the appearance of your garden, and you will be more motivated to continue the cleaning process.
- Revive your plants. Look for perennials, shrubs, and flowers that can be revived with a bit of care. Healthy plants make the garden look more alive.
- Solarise the soil of flower beds. Place a clear plastic sheet over flower beds during the autumn, and secure it with stones. The heat and sun will kill any weeds, insects, fungi, and bacterial growth. Remove the sheet during the spring.
Clearing The Lawn
A lush lawn area is the centerpiece of attraction in a garden. Restore your lawn to its former glory with these steps:
- Strim the long grass with a strimmer if needed.
- Rake away the dead grass and leaves.
- Scarify the area with a rake to clear away moss and thatch build-up from the area.
- Aerate your lawn by relieving compaction and topdress by adding an organic layer over the lawn to restore balance to the neglected soil.
- Overseed any bald patches on the turfed area and, if possible, apply fertilizer before seeding or with it.
- Water regularly for better growth of new shoots.
- Mow on higher ground, in the beginning, to avoid damaging new shoots and prevent weed overgrowth.
Clearing Tree Remains
Often, people cut down unwanted trees but don’t remove the stump. Removing these stumps can be a painstaking task. Instead of toiling hours with a shovel to remove this tripping hazard, you can use a stump grinder to break the stump into easily removable small pieces. A professional can also be hired if the task seems beyond your expertise.
Alternatively, you can turn the stump into an attractive tabletop by fixing the stump top with a round, flat piece of wood.
Dealing With Brush
Wild shrubs and woody weeds can be painstakingly difficult to get rid of. Remember to take necessary precautions like wearing long sleeves, safety goggles, and hats while spraying and make sure to spray on a still, dry day away from the reach of children and pets.
Another option to remove brush is to use a brush grubber which can remove large sections simultaneously followed by trimming with normal shears for a neat finish.
Say Farewell To Weeds
Weeds such as grassy weeds, broadleaf weeds, and perennials rarely respond to mowing and trimming. In these cases, it is better to start from a clear plot by killing all weeds with herbicide. Protect plants you wish to keep by covering them with a newspaper or cardboard before spraying.
For people averse to using herbicides or those who prefer more organic methods, mulch is an effective alternative. Trim weeds to ground level and then cover the weed-infested area with a thick organic mulch like wood chips (4” thick) and thin organic mulch like sawdust (2” thick) to cut off sunlight, which stunts their growth.
Some Extra Tips
- Try weed burners or blowtorches to effectively clean weeds on a particular spot. If you are confident about not damaging surroundings, you can also try this on lawns. Remember to take appropriate precautions.
- Begin your cleaning attempts in early spring or late autumn when plant growth is slow to ease your workload.
- Carefully section the perennials you wish to keep and only transplant them during autumn.
- Put your old carpet to use by covering unwanted plants with it, then you can easily pull up the yellowed, limp plants.
- Give your new plants a little boost by composting from your garden clean-up.
- A rototiller has rotating blades that can till the soil and allow valuable nutrition for better growth next season.
Ask a Professional
Some cleaning up work may well be beyond your level of expertise or even hazardous, such as cutting down old trees. In such cases, it is a good idea to hire professionals for help. This also applies if you are too busy and can’t spend your personal time on this time-consuming task.
You can also ask them for advice if you are stuck with a problem or cannot handle a task.
Cleaning a garden is a difficult and stressful task, but the end result is rewarding. But then again, the saying goes “no pain, no gain.” The transition of a neglected garden or backyard into a small haven of nature has a positive impact on both your physical and mental health. Thus, if it is within your limits, spend some of your time and energy to be part of a beautiful change that soothes both the mind and the soul.