How to Prepare Your Yard for Summer

Three Parts:Getting Your Lawn Ready for SummerMaintaining Your YardTurning Your Yard Into a Summer Haven

The secret to keeping your yard thriving throughout the summer lies in the lawn care techniques you implement during the spring. By getting started early in the year, you'll develop a resilient lawn that's resistant to the effects of the sun, weeds, pests and heavy foot traffic. Follow these guidelines to prepare your yard to grow nice and green for the summer.

Part 1
Getting Your Lawn Ready for Summer

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    Aerate your lawn to promote the healthy formation of the root system. Aeration allows the grass to breathe, and also enables water and nutrients reach the root system more efficiently. Failure to aerate your lawn sufficiently will make it much more difficult for grass and plants to survive during the hottest part of the season.[1]
    • Perform the process in the autumn if your lawn is a cool-season grass, like bluegrass or ryegrass. If you live in a climate where warm-season grasses thrive, aerate in early spring.
    • Many experts suggest aerating your lawn every 1 to 3 years, but high-traffic areas may require more frequent attention.
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    Rake your lawn to remove thatch and other debris. Go over your lawn from end to end with a rake to clear it of thatch, or decaying plant material, that has accumulated on the ground. A thick layer of thatch can block sunlight and prevent water from reaching deep down to the roots of the grass. Dethatch in late autumn while you're raking leaves to prepare your yard for the summer.[2]
    • Consider raking again in spring, particularly if your lawn shows evidence of compaction.
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    Fertilize the yard according to the type of grass you have. Fertilizers supplement the nutrients found in your lawn's soil and keeps grass growing thick and lush. Apply fertilizer at least twice a year during the peak growing seasons of your lawn. Scale back fertilizing about 30 days before the highest summer temperatures hit.[3]
    • Cool-season grasses: lawns comprised of these types of grasses should be fertilized during early spring and at the onset of fall. Use fertilizer with higher nitrogen concentrations when fertilizing in autumn to ensure the survival of the grass.
    • Warm-season grasses: these varieties flourish during the summer months. A nitrogen-rich fertilizer should be spread in the spring, when the lawn shows its first signs of vibrancy. Fertilize again in late summer.
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    Reseed bare patches. This should be done prior to your grass's peak growing season, preferably in the fall. Till the soil and spread the seed evenly across the bare spot to fill in gaps in the lawn growth. Use a standard fertilizer and water the area as you normally would.[4]
    • Add nitrogen-rich fertilizer after the seeds have germinated to ensure robust growth.[5]

Part 2
Maintaining Your Yard

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    Mow the grass regularly. Mowing should be done roughly once a week, though how fast your grass will grow will depend on climate conditions. Keep grass cut to a height of about 2.5 to 3”, except in the hottest part of the summer, when you should let it grow about half an inch longer. Mowing keeps grass growing at a healthy rate and makes your lawn look neat and manicured.[6]
    • Grass needs to grow slightly longer in the hottest summer months to provide shade for its roots and conserve moisture in the soil. Be careful not to cut more than about 1/3 of the blade at a time, as this can cause structural damage to the grass that inhibits growth.[7]
    • Make sure you give your lawn mower a checkup before bringing it out of winter hibernation. Dull blades should be sharpened, tires should be inflated and there should be a sufficient amount of oil in the motor.
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    Prune trees and shrubs. Trim dead and excess growth off of trees and shrubs in your yard. Pruning promotes healthy growth by eliminating parts of the shrub that are dead, infested with harmful insects or damaged by weather. It also allows you to shape the growth of the tree or shrub, resulting in a more aesthetic appearance.[8]
    • Look for dead and damaged limbs to prune first. These will usually be identifiable by their colorless appearance and lack of living thriving foliage. At best, dead limbs are an eyesore; at worst, disease can spread to the rest of the shrub.
    • Always remove any tree limbs that extend precariously over driveways, walkways or any place in that yard where people tend to gather. These can be become a hazard if they fall.
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    Set up a sprinkler system for consistent watering. Your grass and plants need copious amounts of water to survive in the dry summer heat. Even in areas that receive a lot of rainfall, natural moisture might not be enough to keep your greenery healthy on its own. Set up a sprinkler system to run every 24 hours to ensure that your lawn and surrounding plants are being effectively irrigated.[9]
    • It’s best to water slowly and gradually to allow water to penetrate to the root level and avoid runoff. Having your sprinkler system set to a timer and moving in smooth, sweeping motions can accomplish this.[10]
    • Water your yard at night or in the cool early morning hours so that the moisture is going straight to the grass rather than being evaporated by heat.
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    Keep pests under control. Inspect flower bushes, shrubs and fruit trees periodically for garden pests like aphids, grasshoppers, slugs and snails. These little critters like to make a meal out of the leaves of flowering plants, which can compromise the health of the plant. Remove larger offenders by hand or with a water hose and treat plants with natural pesticides to keep pests away from the plant in the future.[11][12]
    • Plants are natural habitats to many different kinds of animals and insects, and some are more destructive than others. It might be a good idea to do some research on the kind of pests that populate your area so that you can tell a harmless bug from an unwelcome one.[13]
    • If you grow fruits or vegetables, watch out for larger grazing animals like rabbits and deer. If left unchecked, they can ruin weeks of hard gardening work in a matter of days.
  5. 5
    Use mulch to keep plants growing. Spread a thin layer of mulch over the base of plants during the height of the summer heat. Mulch is full of beneficial soil nutrients and is dense enough to protect a plant’s roots and stalk from the sun. Mulching in conjunction with frequent watering will ensure that your plants never go thirsty.[14]
    • Mulch can be bought cheap at any gardening center, or you can easily make your own from the brush in your yard using a wood chipper or shredder.

Part 3
Turning Your Yard Into a Summer Haven

  1. 1
    Keep a flower bed. Designate a small corner of your yard to use to grow flowers. Plant a variety of seasonals and perennials to suit your own preferences. The delightful colors and fragrances of a flower bed can add an idyllic beauty to your home.[15]
    • Consult with a gardening expert to see what types of flowers grow best in your region’s particular climate.
    • Don’t overwater flowers. Unlike fast-growing plants like grass and shrubs, flowers don’t require as much moisture on average, and watering too often may cause them to wither.[16]
  2. 2
    Plant a vegetable garden. Many people have begun sewing small patches of crops right in their own backyards. Decide what you’d like to grow—beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash; your options are nearly limitless—and make sure the soil is thoroughly aerated and suitable to grow vegetables in. Raising your own small batches of vegetables will give your yard a utilitarian appeal while providing you and your family with fresh, homegrown food to enjoy all summer long.[17]
    • Use organic compost to help vegetable crops absorb vital nutrients.
    • If yard space is an issue, considering planting your vegetables on a vertical trellis, or even in a compact grower that you can keep inside your own house![18]
    • Pick ripe vegetables immediately to keep pests from feeding on them.
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    Put up a fence. Build a simple wooden fence to mark your property and give your yard a sense of peaceful containment. Fences can be useful for offering a little privacy if you live in a crowded neighborhood, as well as keeping out animals that may trample and devour plants.[19]
    • If you contract with a handyman, ask them about the materials and expenses needed to put a fence around your yard.
  4. 4
    Build a rustic footpath. If you have an especially large yard, or one that is divided up with shrubs, flower beds or amenities like a pool or fire pit, you might construct a simple stepping stone path out of flagstones or wooden planks. A footpath can give you an expedient way to traverse your yard or garden without wearing down the grass, is easy to build and has a pleasant, quaint aesthetic.[20]
    • Take a look at these resources for simple plans to lay down a footpath: [21][22]
  5. 5
    Invest in some outdoor furniture. You’ll be spending a lot of time outside this summer, so make sure you do it in leisure. Purchase some nice, sturdy lawn chairs to give you a place to sit and sip lemonade on a hot day. If space permits, you could even set up an entire dining set to host picnics. Study the layout of plants, trees and shrubs to decide on the best way to arrange the furniture, and turn your yard into a relaxing outdoor lounge. [23][24]
    • Be sure that you’re buying furniture with water-resistant cushions and surfaces. This way, you won’t have to worry about bringing it in every time it rains. Water-resistant outdoor furniture is often cleaned easily, as well.
    • Place a small bench within a garden for a nice seating area, or lay out some reclining chairs somewhere unshaded for sunbathing.


  • If local restrictions limit the amount of watering you can do, target areas of your lawn that get the most foot traffic. These areas need strong root systems to withstand the constant wear.
  • Take care of big yard projects, like planting new grass, before the onset of summer to make sure that grass and plants are growing properly. High temperatures and lack of moisture in the summer will make it difficult for newly-planted seed to flourish.
  • Get friends and family to pitch in on lawn and garden care for a fun, productive activity to do together outside.


  • Exercise caution when using dangerous lawn care tools, such lawn mowers, weed eaters and pruning shears. Accidents happen.
  • Fertilizer contains potentially dangerous chemicals. Avoid breathing or ingesting fertilizer when applying it to your lawn. Always wash your hands thoroughly and immediately after working with fertilizer, and rinse your eyes and mouth if they happen to come into contact with fertilizer.
  • Overwatering plants is likely to kill them. Know how much water your grass needs as opposed to shrubs, flowers and fruits and vegetables. Irrigating your lawn can be done automatically through the use of a sprinkler system, but most other plants will require you to water manually and keep up with the amount of water that the plant is getting regularly.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawn aerator
  • Fertilizer
  • Grass seed
  • Lawn mower
  • Sprinkler system
  • Gardening shears
  • Seeds for planting flowers or fruits/vegetables (optional)
  • Stones or planks for footpath (optional)
  • Outdoor furniture (optional)

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Lawn Care