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Are you one of those people who gaze out the window during those bland and cloudy winter days and imagining how great the grass will look once all that snow melts? Then you’ll be able to start planting in spring and spruce up the lawn with new plants and landscape projects in anticipation of opening the pool and inviting friends and family to enjoy your outdoor space together. You are certainly not alone! And finally—FINALLY!—the long cold winter is over, so it’s time to stop imagining and start your spring yard work. Here is some advice to consider as you embark upon the spring redecoration!

—Budget accordingly – especially your time. You don’t want the enthusiasm of April or May to turn into frustration come August or September when you realize you didn’t get to accomplish all you had planned. Figure out how much time you have to spend on planting in spring (and summer). Do you have vacation time coming up? Are you a school teacher who will have a couple months off? And if you do have time off, how much of it will you be able to spend at home and how much of it will be spent traveling with family? And how much of your at-home time will you want to spend on your knees working and not splashing around in the pool? Know how much time you can spend on spring yard work and you’ll be able to formulate a more reasonable plan of attack.

—Decide what you want to do. Sounds obvious, right? But a yard is to an eager “green-thumb” what a blank sheet of paper is to an artist: a canvas just waiting to be filled! Alas, actually accomplishing spring yard work is an entirely different beast than drawing out your plans on a sheet piece of paper, and biting off more than you can chew will unnecessarily complicate and/or delay things. Figure out what you want to concentrate on and planting in spring will be a less stressful endeavor. And isn’t that the idea, to relax and have a good time?

—Don’t be afraid to make your spring planting a multi-year process. There’s a pretty good chance you won’t have any choice BUT to make this a multi-year process once you figure out how much time and money you have to spend. But there’s nothing wrong with that—it’s good to leave work “unfinished” because it will give you something else to look forward to once the snow starts falling again! Planning to spruce up the yard over two or more years will also sharpen your focus, both in the short- and long-term.

—Let the weather dictate when you start spring planting. If you’re recovering from a particularly rough winter—like in Wisconsin in 2011, where only seven percent of spring tillage was complete through late April (down drastically from the five-year average of 28 percent)—then you’ll need to be more patient in attacking spring planting and perhaps modify your plans. For instance, if the winter has been a cold and wet one and the ground is still recovering, then container-grown plants (i.e. plants that you buy) will likely grow faster and better than something you plant from scratch. And remember not to plant too close to your pool, so that you won’t have any problems with pool maintenance down the line.

Follow these tips and make your spring planting and spring yard work worth the wait throughout the cold winter months!