Maintaining a beautiful yard can be made quite simple. Elements to get to know are watering, fertilizing, mulching, pruning and what to do in each season. If you hadn’t landscaped your own yard, the best first step would be to get to know the plants and trees in your yard and what their watering preferences are. From there the following suggestions should keep your yard easily maintained through each season. If your plants and trees are unsuccessfully kept you can celebrate the opportunity to choose plants or trees that require less maintenance. Let’s begin with up-keeping your lawn overall.


The first thing people notice about your landscaping and curb appeal will be the quality of grass you have and how well it’s groomed. To keep your lawn green and healthy you need only know how to treat it according to season and weather patterns. If your lawn needs fertilization to grow the best time to use it is mid-spring. During the summer you need only to water the grass 1 inch per week and during very dry spells, don’t mow. Grass can get stressed and react to frequent mowing. Pull weeds as you see them. At fall, rake leaves and re-seed any bald spots immediately before winter arrives.


Different trees flower and have regrowth in different seasons. It’s after they flower they would need to be pruned. Any dead branches or appendages should be trimmed. Learn the signs of illness and infestation and call an arborist if you see any signs of an ill tree in the summer. Mulching around the tree once a season allows the tree to retain its needed moisture and protect it from extreme heat or cold.

Growing Vines and Plants

Plants and vines that grow up your home, fences or other fixtures for decorative purposes should be pruned in spring. If left to grow they can look messy like no one is home. Just trim to your preference and then mulch the bases of the plants like you did your trees. Water as needed, and a little extra during dry spells.


Your flowers can be classified as either perennials (flowering over two years) or annuals (one season/year). Knowing what you have and what their watering needs are will help you care for them. Some need to be kept moist during dry seasons and some are more tolerant. Almost all flowering plants can benefit from fertilizer at least once per season. It’s okay to fertilize a flowering plant once when you plant them, when buds form, and again once the plant has flowered. When flowers wilt and die, it’s best to pluck them off the plant to encourage re-flowering. Once the leaves of the plant turn green to yellow, an annual can be plucked from the ground and a perennial should be trimmed close to the ground and the base area mulched 3-4 inches.

One person who works with trees is called an arborist, sometimes referred to as a tree surgeon, but for the sake of this article we’ll call them “tree servicemen”. Any individual or company who works with trees may offer a variety of different services that tend to the care of trees, including but not limited to; managing the health and safety of trees, pruning, cutting and removal services and further study of species and how to care for them. Most arborists work on a small scale with home owners or businesses. Foresters or loggers work on a larger scale, but have much of the same types of responsibilities.

Working safely and effectively is the very skill required of professionals that homeowners may not possess. This, all arborists will have in common. The degree of qualifications will vary beyond that. There are so many “disciplines” of tree work that many arborists will specialize in only one or two of them. A tree management company will try to employ individuals with the skills in all areas to offer the most value to potential customers and good arborists working as independent contractors will be honest about their limitations. Formal education and certification from an accredited college in different disciplines is available, but varies based on geographic location and its availability. Some places offer education all the way up to the master’s level. Some states and countries have the framework of qualifications in place and work independently from schools. In the U.S., the minimum requirements for an professional arborist (called a C.A. Or certified arborist professionally) have obtained three years documented and verifiable experience and passed testing distributed by the International Society of Arboriculture. The test passing tree serviceman is now a Qualified Arborist and can put this credential up to bypass some of the experience needed to be considered fully qualified in some instances.

If you are considering hiring a serviceman, it’s important to qualify him first. And if the contrary, you are a tree serviceman looking to begin working professionally and for financial gain, you will be subject to some legal pressure to have the correct credentials to work in your area or region. Having proper education can keep you from other legal problems you might face as well. Some cities employ conservation efforts of certain species and homeowners and their arborists need to obtain permission before altering or removing this species or any tree. Think twice before skimming on cerfications of you or any employees you hire, fines can be high or put you right out of business!

The same scrutiny should be employed by any homeowner thinking about carrying out their own tree service. In some states and locations you need a permit to alter, add, or remove any permanent structures on a property, including trees.