Love the yard you’ve been given with these top 5 DIY weekend projects.

The first nice day brings with it a lot of yard and garden aspirations. Here are the top 5 DIY weekend projects you can crank out in a weekend, often in an afternoon, that will get you outside and in the mood for everything summer has to offer.

1. Edge and Mulch

Winter can do a number on your landscape beds. Where did the edges go? And why is there mulch in the middle of your yard?

This is one of the ultimate curb-appeal projects. You’ll appreciate it every time you roll up into the driveway. Your time commitment will be shaped largely by how focused you are on the details. For established beds with existing mulch, you may be able to get away with a fresh 1-2 inches of mulch and call it a day.

For new beds and ones that have weathered a rough winter, wet spring or a lot of foot traffic, you will need to define/redefine the edges. Here’s how to make it happen:

  • Outline your desired bed shape with a garden hose. Some people use spray paint, but the hose allows you to readjust easily.
  • Use a soil knife for small areas or a sharp spade or round-blade edger on wheels to create a sharp and distinct edge around the hose.
  • Use your spade to cut to a depth of 4-6 inches to loosen and remove the sod by hand. Trim the edge of the grass vertically with hand pruning sheers for an even cleaner line.
  • Add 2-3 inches of quality, hardwood mulch that will nourish the soil as it decomposes. Mound the mulch and slope down toward the clean edge.
Things you’ll need:
  • good sharp spade, soil knife or gas or electric powered edger (recommended for smooth curves)
  • hand pruning sheers
  • cardboard, newspaper and/or pre-emergent weed inhibitor
  • fertilizer (10-10-10 or organic Chickity Doo Doo) 
  • hardwood mulch (figure out how much you need)

2. Plant Up Trouble Spots

That shady spot where grass doesn’t grow. The dry, sunbaked patch. The sometimes-soggy section, high-traffic area, unappealing view and those empty spots. Sometimes people are at a loss for a solution. The great thing is, there is a plant for every problem.

There are also immense benefits. 

Did you know that trees and shrubs can increase your property value up to 15% or more?Or that according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ‘the net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.”

Plus, green screens or ‘living walls’ can be a beautiful and less expensive option to a fence. They can also soften the lines, act as a buffer to noise and add interest and texture to an already existing fence. We love fast-growing, voluminous trees and shrubs like arborvitae, viburnum, spruces and large hydrangeas.

There are plants that will go easy on your water bill in summer, grow in the shade, help stop erosion, stand up to foot traffic and fill in where winter may have wreaked havoc. Before you find yours, a few pointers:

  • Pay attention to plant tags, they’ll tell you a lot about your plant and where it will work best.
  • Bring in a photo of your area and use it as you walk around brainstorming.
  • You can always ask an expert to help you choose the perennials, trees and shrubs that solve your problem.
  • Schedule a Snapshot Gardening Consultation for 45 minutes of one-on-one time with a designer for personalized solutions, plant recommendations and a $25 gift card toward your purchase.
  • See our Step-by-Step Planting Guide to get you started.
Things you’ll need:
  • Snapshot Gardening Consultation (optional) 
  • shovel
  • plant material
  • soil amendment
  • mulch

3. Add Containers to Your Patio or Porch

One of the fastest and most flexible ways to transition into summer. Wipe down your containers and fill them with fresh potting soil. Or pick a pretty new pot or two for a focal point. We also love repurposed containers like galvanized tubs, weathered buckets and troughs. Flea markets and garage sales are where we find some of our favorites. Just remember to add a hole for drainage.

Fill your containers with perennials, annuals and seasonal branches as accents. We also like to plant up shrubs or trees for a little height and drama to flank an entry or define a space. You can plant your annuals around the base of the trees and shrubs to fill in and spill over the sides.

  • Check out our Container Gardening How To and give The Potting Bar a try if you want to plant and leave the mess here.
  • For an even easier option, choose Grab & Go containers that are pre-planted for the season in fiber pots you can drop right into your containers.
  • And for the easiest option, check out our 4 Seasons of Color Container Package for a year filled with the best every season has to offer—without the work and with a phone or email reminder when it’s ready!
  • One important reminder: give some thought to where you want to place your containers then plant for the exposure (sun, part sun or shade).
Things you’ll need:
Things you may want to try:
  • The Potting Bar
  • Grab & Gos
  • 4 Seasons of Color Container Package

4. Add Color Quickly with Annuals

The beauty of annuals is they are a quick burst of color and interest that can last for months. They’re inexpensive, flexible ways to change the look of a container, windowbox or garden bed virtually throughout the entire year. And there are annuals that are hotshots at standing up to summer heat, like these.

Check out our Container Gardening How-To for a guide to planting and examples of annuals for every season.

Things you’ll need for container planting:
Things you’ll need for bed planting:
  • shovel
  • soil amendment
  • annuals
  • mulch

5. Prune

Probably one of the most mysterious of yard and garden practices, pruning has a bad rap. But it gives you some instant satisfaction and has definite long-term pay-off.

People are confused about which plants, when to prune and how to prune. So, they often do nothing, which can result in a bunch of leggy, spindly branches and out of shape, overgrown trees and shrubs.

We have the solution. Check out Prune Like a Pro  and our Step-by-Step Guide to Planting (when and how to plant, water, fertilize & prune).

A lot of bang for a quick, cost-free project.

Things you’ll need:
  • a sharp set of pruning sheers