11 Things to Do Now for Your Best-Ever Backyard

Winter may be hanging on, but spring is just around the corner. If you're suffering from a bout of spring fever, take on one of these 12 projects that will give you a step up on the warm-weather season.

  1. Start Indoor Seeds

    Yard 1


    Late winter is the perfect time to start seeds indoors for your vegetable garden. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and head lettuce are all good plants to start six to eight weeks before the date of your last expected frost. Watching those seedlings sprout will certainly get you in the gardening mood, no matter how cold it is outside.

    Related: 10 "Zero Dollar" Garden Hacks

  2. Prune Fruit Trees

    Yard 3


    The best time to prune fruit trees is while they're dormant, right after the dead of winter but before the beginning of spring. Head outside on a day that's neither wet nor too cold so you can clearly assess what needs to be cut, then trim as needed to create a clear canvas for a flush of fresh growth come spring.

    Related: Don't Make These 8 Mistakes in Your Front Yard

  3. Construct a Planter

    Make a window box


    When you finally see those spring flowers at your local nursery or home improvement store, you're probably going to want to load up your cart with them. Prepare for this horticultural binge by building some planters to house your soon-to-be-bought blooms. 

    Related: Early Bloomers: 7 Spring Flowers Bringing Color NOW to a Yard Near You!

  4. Test Your Soil

    Yard 8

    Flickr via pennstatelive

    Test your soil now to see if you need to make any amendments before spring. Send a soil sample to your local extension office, or pick up a test kit at your local home improvement store. Testing is quick and simple, and will give you all the information you need to create a healthy environment for your lawn and garden at the start of the growing season.

    Related: 7 Things to Do Now for a Greener Lawn Next Year

  5. Place Planting Orders

    Yard 10

    Flickr via chiotsrun

    Have you received any seed or nursery catalogs? Now’s the time to put in your order! Order perennials and seeds so they'll arrive in time for planting before the last frost.

    Related: 10 No-Effort Plants for a Foolproof Landscape

  6. Clean Out Containers

    Yard 11

    Flickr via chiotsrun

    Pests and diseases can overwinter in soil, so thoroughly wash and disinfect all your pots and planters to rid them of unwanted guests. Once they're clean, they’ll be ready to host new plants this spring.

    Related: The Invincible Yard: 12 Ideas for Lazy Landscaping

  7. Force Flowers



    Nothing will make those last weeks of winter more bearable than having fresh-cut flowers inside to brighten up your home. You can force early spring bloomers like forsythia and pussy willow by cutting them, bringing them indoors, and placing them in warm water in a sunny spot. In a week or two, you’ll have a burst of color to inspire you as you plan your garden.

    Related: 9 DIY Ideas for a Summery Backyard

  8. Gear Up the Garage

    Yard 6

    Flickr via dnak

    On a mild day, move cold-weather tools like snowblowers, snow shovels, sleds, and scrapers to the back of the garage or into storage. Replace them with your gardening gear so you're ready to take on spring as soon as the temps show it's time.

    Related: Make Room for the Car: 7 Easy DIY Garage Organizers

  9. Plant Cool-Weather Veggies

    Planting spinach


    If you just can’t wait to put some seeds in the soil, you’re in luck. Late February and early March are the right time to plant low-maintenance vegetables like broccoli rabe, kale, and spinach. Pick up some seed packets and sow them right in the ground. Come April, you’ll be harvesting a nonstop crop of fresh produce for dinner.

    Related: 9 Insanely Easy 1-Hour Backyard Projects

  10. Build a Compost Bin

    Yard 9

    Flickr via daryl_mitchell

    Compost is as valuable to a gardener as gold (hence the nickname “black gold”). Build a compost bin so you can stock up on your own supply to enrich the soil in your landscaping beds and planters. There are plenty of designs out there, and many that you can DIY as soon as this coming weekend.

    Related: 10 Backyard Wood Projects for Total Beginners

  11. Mower Maintenance

    Yard 7


    Spring is when dormant lawn grasses come back to life and enjoy a big growth spurt. Once that grass starts to grow, it can be hard to keep up with if you're not prepared. Make sure your lawn mower is ready to go by giving it a spring tune-up.

    Related: 9 Mowing Mistakes Everyone Makes

  12. Delayed Gratification

    11 things to do now for your best ever backyard


    Taking care of these landscaping chores now will give you time later to actually enjoy your yard come the warm weather.

  13. See the House of the Week


    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!