Your Yard's Summer Work-Out

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Timely Tips from Founder, Bryan Powell, Get Your Garden, Lawn and Patio into Shape

Now that we've turned the calendar page to April, the prospect of flowers, with their sweet smells and beautiful blooms, spurs us on to yard improvement and maintenance. Bryan Powell, founder of, a free website that allows homeowners and landscape professionals to create “virtual” yards, share tips, and create friendships, has prepared a to-do list that's appropriate for yards and gardens of all shapes and sizes.

Q: What is the first step in giving the yard its summer work-out?

A: Maintenance and recovery are the basis for future yard and garden success. It's vital to survey for any winter damage before gearing up for new plantings. Other top-priority projects are pruning, where you trim damaged branches and slant the cut in the direction where you want new branches to grow. Clean out the leaves that have piled up in the flower beds, so that you'll have room to place fertilizer, laying the groundwork for gorgeous blooms in a few months.

Q: I've done the basics. Now what?

A: Consider making some changes, perhaps by incorporating new flowers. Start with spring flowers that are hardy in cold weather. Pansies, Tulips and Snap Dragons are big favorites and available in all regions. Try a rotation or relocation of some favorite bushes. For example, in a partial sunny spot,move the Hydrangeas to another part of the yard and replace them with some Azaleas, adding a different color and a new focal point.

Q: How about my lawn?

A: Start with weed control, the key to success. By applying a crab grass preventer early on, you'll forestall problems and reduce work in the future. Next, apply lawn fertilizer and, a few days later, give the lawn a mow and work on the edges.

Q: Does the patio need a tune-up?

A: Absolutely. Each year, consider sealing a slate tile patio to enhance the color and also protect the surface, especially if you like to entertain outdoors. Speaking of which, how about changes in the lighting for night-time dining? Add solar accent lights at the edge of the patio and around the lawn, plus a solar spotlight to illuminate a tree or two.

Editor’s Note: Images are available upon request.

About YardShare: Bryan Powell, 31, founded in 2008 when he couldn’t find online inspiration for building his own back-yard kitchen and patio. Powell, who lives in Castro Valley, Calif., and works for a financial management company in San Francisco, began working in his free time to merge technology and neighborhood to create a virtual community of advisors and launched YardShare (“Knocking down fences”). Today it is an online community of more than 3,000 members and over 28,000 unique monthly visitors, many of whom post pictures of and step-by-step DIY instructions for their landscaping, design and yard projects; YardShare’s archives contain more than 11,000 images. For more information, visit

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Jenny Randall
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