When you think of yard work cleanup, lawn care, and even garden pest control, there’s a good chance your mind goes straight to mowing the lawn and raking leaves. But you can do plenty of other things in your yard without spending hours on end trimming grass or raking up leaves. In fact, with a few basic techniques and a little planning ahead of time, you can make yard maintenance a breeze. Yard work can be easy with a little preparation:

1. Installing a rain barrel and cleaning your gutters
Cleaning your gutters is an important task. Your gutters wash away debris, rainwater and other contaminants that can damage your home’s foundation. Installing a rain barrel for collecting water from your roof is another way to reduce water runoff. A rain barrel allows you to collect stormwater to use on plants or gardens outside your house. Installing a rain barrel is easy. Just attach one directly onto the side of your home’s gutter guards. Regular maintenance every few months post-winter season will ensure no more leaf waste ends up clogging your gutters.

2. Aerating your lawn in early summer and autumn
Aerating your lawn is a great way to ensure you’re getting the most out of it. It helps prevent the turf from becoming compacted and makes for a healthier lawn overall. To aerate your lawn, use an electric cultivator or one that has a blade attachment. You can also use an edger or rotary mower with a special blade attachment. Make sure that both blades are sharp before using them on your lawn. Otherwise, they may end up tearing up your grass.

3. Professional lawn pest and insect control
A healthy, well-maintained lawn is the best defense against insect invasion. Grubs (beetle larvae), ants, weevils, gofers and more can wreak havoc on your gardens and grass. However, studies show that insect and pest damage is usually less severe on properly maintained lawns. Look to garden-safe pest deterrent sprays, plants, or call in professional lawn pest and insect control specialists.

4. Hiring professional landscapers
Hiring a professional landscaper is another excellent way to handle all your yard work. If you hire a landscaping professional, they will take care of everything in your yard. This includes planting new flowers in your yard, maintaining your lawn and shrubs, trimming trees and hedges as needed, weeding those pesky weeds, mowing yards before each season begins, and pruning trees after they’ve grown too tall.

5. Fertilizing and mulching in early spring
Fertilizing and mulching are two of the most important things you can do for your lawn. They not only keep it looking great year-round, but they also help with its health by keeping the soil moist and healthy. It would be best if you considered fertilizing in early spring with Miracle-Gro Turf Builder II, which will provide nutrients for your plant’s growth. Also, consider mulching around plants to prevent weeds from growing through the soil surface. This will also help keep down moisture loss through evaporation or transpiration. You can mulch from newspapers to bark chips; however, there are various other options.