Lifestyle 2024

9 Steps to Prepare Your Garden for Spring

By Kelli Blystone on May, 15 2024
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Kelli Blystone

Spring is just around the corner, and for homeowners, that means it's time to start thinking about rejuvenating your garden. A well-maintained garden not only enhances the curb appeal of your home but also provides a tranquil sanctuary to unwind in after a long day. To help you kickstart your spring gardening project, we've compiled a comprehensive guide with nine essential steps to get your garden ready for the season ahead.


Take Inventory of Your Tools and Supplies

Before diving into any gardening project, it's crucial to ensure you have all the necessary tools and supplies on hand. Take inventory of your gardening arsenal, including tools like pruners, shovels, and gloves. Key essentials to add to your collection if you don’t already have them are trowels for digging and planting, and cultivators for loosening the soil. Replace any worn-out or broken tools and stock up on essential supplies such as soil, fertilizer, and seeds.


Some of your tools may just need a refresher rather than a full replacement. Make note of which tools need to be cleaned or sharpened, and consider investing in sharpening tools like handheld sharpeners, sharpening stones, or steel wool so that you’re prepared to touch up your tools at the start of each season. Cleaning your tools is also important, as plant diseases and bacteria can spread quickly once on your trowel or clippers.

Know Your Gardening Zone

Understanding your gardening zone is essential for selecting the right plants and determining the appropriate timing for various gardening tasks. If you’re a gardening novice, or you’ve just moved into a new home and are unaware of your new zone’s specifics, your first step in getting your garden ready for spring will be to consult a gardening zone map.


The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which perennial plants are most likely to thrive at a location based on its specific climate and conditions. The site has a guide to using the map as well as other helpful gardening resources. It’s important to note that this map isn’t the be-all, end-all of gardening for your zone, but certainly a great place to start.

Start Seeds

If you’re planning to grow some plants or flowers from seed, you may want to consider buying your seeds well before spring arrives to give yourself ample time to plan and strategize. Every seed has different germination requirements, and some will need to be started indoors much earlier than those that will be planted directly outside, and you’ll need to plan for those different timelines.


Starting seeds indoors—whether you're growing flowers, vegetables, or herbs—allows you to control the growing environment and ensures healthy, robust plants when it's time to transplant them outdoors.


Not all plants need to be started indoors, however, and will need to be directly sowed at a specific time. Be sure to research each plant and flower you plan to include in your garden to find out which would benefit from starting indoors.

Clean Flower Beds, Removing Weeds and Debris

Clearing away winter debris and weeds is a crucial step in preparing your garden for spring. Take the time to remove any dead leaves, branches, and weeds that have accumulated over the winter months. This not only improves the aesthetic appeal of your garden but also prevents pests and diseases from taking hold.


If you only have a small amount of dead leaves, you can leave them as they will decompose and add organic matter to your soil. If the layer of leaves is too heavy, however, it can inhibit new growth, so carefully assess your leaves before deciding whether to remove them or not!


Because many pollinators will hibernate in plants you’ve left over the winter, it’s important to not do this step until the daytime temperatures are consistently in the 50s F. This will ensure the pollinators remain undisturbed until hibernation is complete.

Prune or Deadhead Plants

Pruning and deadheading are essential tasks for promoting healthy growth and flowering in your garden. Remove dead or diseased branches from shrubs and trees, and deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming throughout the season.


It’s also important to wait out the last of the hard frosts before completing this step, as you do not want to expose fresh cuts to extreme cold temperatures that may stunt growth.

Prepare the Soil

Healthy soil is the foundation of a thriving garden, and there are a few steps you can take to make sure your garden’s soil is ready to nurture your plants. First, soil can become compact during the cold winter weather, so it’s important to take the time to aerate it. Till or turn the soil to break up any compacted areas, making it more workable for you and to ensure the best growing conditions for your plants.


Once your soil is tilled and ready for planting, you can then test its pH and nutrient levels to ensure it is suitable for your plants. Once the results are in, you can assess whether or not you need to amend your soil with organic matter such as compost or aged manure to correct its pH levels, or to improve its structure and fertility. If you do need to add any organic materials or fertilizers, be sure to then rake the soil level and lightly water it to help it settle and release air pockets.

Divide Perennials

Over time, perennial plants can become overcrowded, leading to reduced vigor and flowering. Divide overcrowded perennials in early spring to rejuvenate them and promote healthy growth. Be sure to replant divisions in suitable locations with well-amended soil.


The key to dividing perennials is a gentle hand! Use a spading fork to lift the entire plant out of the ground. This will help to loosen the root ball, which is where you’ll start separating the plant into new plants. Once you’ve identified where you can make your divisions, cut the sections off the plant and place the original plant back into the ground. The cuttings can now be planted in other parts of your garden, or you could share with your neighbor or a friend!

Lay Down Mulch

Mulching is one of the final steps in preparing your garden for spring. Apply a layer of mulch to flower beds and around trees and shrubs to suppress weeds, retain moisture, and regulate soil temperature. Choose organic mulches such as shredded bark or compost for maximum benefits to your garden and the environment.

Add Lighting

Finally, adding the right lighting to your gardens can really make them pop! In addition to being a security measure for your home, exterior lighting in your garden can add an appealing aesthetic edge to your exterior. Solar lights are the easiest, since they don’t require any kind of hard wiring. They come in many styles and colors, so you’re sure to find one that will work for your home’s specific look.

Key Takeaways

By following these nine steps, you'll be well on your way to creating a beautiful and vibrant garden that enhances the curb appeal of your home. Remember, gardening is a labor of love, so take the time to enjoy the process and watch your garden flourish throughout the spring and beyond.


For more tips on designing gardens and using your space most effectively, check out our blog, How to Best Utilize the Space in Your Garden!