With inflation raging these days, none of us want to spend more than we have to on home repair.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to do some spring home maintenance, to keep minor problems from becoming big ones.
For Rhonda Lahman, spring yard cleanup is so important that it is a family affair.
Brothers, nephews and even her 91-year-old mom chip in to get the family home in shape for summer.
“We’re just doing a little spring cleaning in the back yard: weed-eating the fence line, cutting the grass, getting ready to trim some of these trees,” she said.
Lahman knows that if her trees get too big or a gutter overflows, she could be hit with big bills. She’s right.
Things you should be doing now
So we turned to Consumer Reports for some things you should do right now.
CR’s home and garden editor Paul Hope says the Lahmans are doing the right thing by clearing out debris to prevent patches of dead grass.
“Once it’s summer, it’s tough for grass to grow,” he said. “It starts growing at about 55 degrees, but it also stops when you get into the 80s and 90s. So a little action now will be worth a lot come summer.”
Even more critical: clearing debris also keeps pests from taking over your yard, especially around the foundation or in window wells.
“Mulch piles or leaves that are allowed to sit in the yard can create problems,” he said. “The ticks really sort of seek out those shady, cool, dry areas. Especially in the heat of summer.”
And cleaning gutters is essential, as a clogged gutter can cause ruined siding and interior walls.
Before you start any maintenance project, Consumer Reports suggests you:
- Check all your equipment. If you didn’t winterize them properly, you might be looking at a trip to the service center.
- Put down fertilizer and weed killer. Hope says in May, we’re still in that sweet spot before it gets too hot.
- Has your soil been tested, especially if you are planning vegetables you will be eating?
“If you’ve got lead in your soil,” he said, “that’s certainly something you want to know before you go out and say start planting a vegetable or fruit garden in that soil.”
You can purchase inexpensive soil test kits on Amazon or at hardware stores.
The Lahmans know that a few hours in the yard now can prevent big expenses later, so you don’t waste your money.