Dog Days of Summer

Dog Days of Summer

When it is so hot all you want to do is get in out of the heat, yard work is a four letter word. Noone wants to be outside in triple degree heat if they can help it, but this is the perfect time to grab your favorite cold beverage, and in the late afternoon or early morning stroll through your yard and take some pictures. Take pictures of what you like best about your yard and what you like least. Take pictures of that part of the yard you avoid the most and take pictures of your favorite areas. Take pictures of the front, the back and the sides of your house. Is it what you want it to be? Chances are there are some areas that you avoid because they are just ugly. We all have them. Even some of the nicest yards in the neighborhood have problem areas that need work.

What to do? What to do?

This is the time of year to sit down and do a little daydreaming about what you want to change about your yard. Maybe, you’re tired of all the shrubs you have to keep trimmed. Maybe, you’re tired of looking at that bare spot under your trees in the front yard. Maybe you’re just tired of trying to keep all the green, green.

Make a list of everything you love and hate about your yard. Everything you love highlight in yellow or green and everything you hate underline in blue or black. Everything you have in blue or black needs to be transferred to a to do list. If your ‘to do’ list has more than five items on it, rank each item in order of importance starting with one as most important. If number one is “hate the backyard”, spend some time thinking about what it is about the back yard that you hate. This may generate a new list that needs to be prioritized.

Following the “hate the backyard” example, go inside your home and look out your windows and see what part of the yard is most visible. Concentrate on that portion of the yard for your first project. If all you see is grass and weeds and a wooden fence that needs repair, don’t despair.

The point of all of this is to create a ‘to do’ list that is manageable. Start small. Now is a good time to apply weed killer. Be careful to follow package instructions. Check with a local nursery for what will work with the grass you have. In September fertilize your grass. Water according to your city’s schedule and water in the early morning. It’s amazing how good a well kept lawn looks. Make plans to repair or replace your fence. An attractive fence and well kept lawn is a great starting point for turning an eyesore into a pleasant view.

If you still have no idea how to proceed, find a landscape specialist, consultant, coach or architect to work with. Find someone with experience that is familiar with the area and who is willing to work with you to create a plan. If you want to learn how to do it yourself, look for a consultant or coach who will teach you what you need to know to be successful.

Maintenance projects for August and September


  • Treat for grub worms immediately . (Consider beneficial nematodes as an organic way to treat for grubs.)
  • Prepare beds for fall vegetables if you have a garden. Begin planting.


  • Buy spring bulbs when available. Refrigerate tulip bulbs until time to plant.
  • Fertilize your lawn
  • Begin pruning trees and shrubs to improve shape.
  • Divide Irises beginning mid September
  • Watch for fall army worms and treat if needed.
  • Begin preparing houseplants to be brought in when the weather begins to cool down for fall.
  • Divide or transplant perennials that are not blooming

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