By Thomas Morrone, CFP®, CPA
The first walk around the yard as the weather breaks is always eye opening. It’s a chance to survey the winter impacts which ultimately results in daunting to do list to get the yard back in shape for summer. I am not intimidated about the work because I accept the fact that I cannot work as hard or as long in the yard as I could in my younger days. I deal with the to do list with patience and know that I will get through it, one item at a time. I also know that I cannot rush it. It is not about how quick I check things off as complete but more about how well I complete each task. It is the old quality, not quantity mindset.
Anybody who is a yardwork junkie like me is aware of the usual spring-time cleanup chores. It is not just the yard but the garage, the gas grill, the windows, the patio and patio-furniture and many other areas need a little love and attention after a long hard winter. The power washer comes in handy for some of these chores. We use our gas grill all winter. By spring, it is ready for a good cleaning. I not only clean the grill but take the entire burner assembly apart and blow out all the lines using the leaf blower. After a good cleaning, the grill lights that much better, burns more smoothly and obviously looks a heck of a lot nicer. I almost hate to cook on my sparkling clean grill, but I quickly get over that. Cleaning the grill takes time but the task is not physically challenging.
The yard itself is where the physical challenge comes. I am a fan of spreading fresh mulch each year to give all the planting beds that fresh look. This is one of the first projects that I attack because it is the most visual when complete and takes the longest. All the debris from the winter needs to be raked out and discarded before the fresh mulch is spread. That is a project into itself. There are leaves, twigs and random trash that blew over from a neighbor’s yard. Once everything has been cleaned out, it is time to spread the new mulch. I opt for bags of mulch (30 to be exact) rather than a dump truck delivery piled in the driveway. Bags can be strategically carried to a location and then spread as needed. It works for me. The finishing touch once all mulch has been spread is using Preen Weed Preventer. Preen helps prevents weeds throughout the season and saves some bending to pull weeds throughout the summer. It does not eliminate weeds but certainly helps. If you have never used Preen, give it a try. The best part of this project is admiring the planting beds when finished.
Naturally, that process comes after a nice hot shower and drinking my alcoholic beverage of choice. Advil is usually part of the process as well after a challenging day.
Crossing that project off the to do list brings great joy and a sense of accomplishment. Quickly, the remainder of the items left on the list are evaluated and prioritized. I chip away at the items and do a little each day. It is good for the mind and not as challenging on the body. Before you know it, all the items are checked off and the only thing left to do is enjoy. I am good at that. I sit on my rocker on the patio and admire all the projects completed. Life is good!
Good luck with your yardwork this spring and enjoy the nice weather.
Until the Next Tom’s Take..