Gutters are one of the most important features of landscaping beds. Huh? Can you repeat that please? Yes, I said GUTTERS are one of the most important landscaping features you can have in the Pee Dee and Coastal areas of South Carolina. Why? Because of the heavy rain storms we get around these areas. Have you ever mulched a landscape bed around your home, and had one of those long afternoon rain showers hit? You have either learned the hard way or you can picture in your mind what would happen if you don't have gutters: all your money and hard work literally washed out of the bed into a big puddle/pile in the side of your yard. Bummer. Now do you see what I mean about the gutter being a very important part of your landscape? I am going to assume you have gutters in place around already. Just make sure they are good and cleaned out. January is the perfect time of year to do this. If a bird has made its nest in your gutters or if a bunch of leaves are blocking a bunch of leaves are blocking a bunch of the area of your gutters, your gutters may as well not even be there.
2. PICK UP STORM DEBRIS
Think its ok to just leave that multitude of sticks and twigs and, well, crap, that blew into your yard from your neighbor's yard? Well, it isn't. Chances are, that some of the worst winter storms are done when January is over, and it is time to walk over your yard and pick up the more obvious debris and remove it from your outdoor area.
3. PLAN A SPRING GARDEN
There is a reason that the first 4 letters of the word "plant" are P-L-A-N. Your spring garden in the Myrtle Beach area may be different from someone's garden in the Pee Dee area of South Carolina. Someone who lives near the North Carolina coast will have a spring garden that isn't like someone who lives in Wilmington NC. Wherever you live in the Carolinas, you have a wonderful opportunity to try out having your own spring garden. Robert Brault says it best, "If you've never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden." January is a great month to envision what you want your spring garden to be.
4. MOVE FORWARD WITH THAT HARDSCAPE PROJECT
A "hardscape" is just a fancy word for a seating wall, a retaining wall, a paver-area, or masonry section in your outdoor space. If you have a sloping lawn that leads down to a body of water, a nice seating wall could be a hardscape project you want to try. A very big trend for landscaping now is outdoor cooking areas or outdoor fire pits. A lot of Americans are putting money back into their homes / landscapes instead of spending it on things like travel or clothing. Make an outdoor getaway to escape from the daily norm of your house.
Your sod isn't the only thing that still needs water in January. Birds need water too! Make sure those birds you have attracted with those lovely bird feeders have plenty of water during the winter months. It is nice to supplement them with extra bird seed now too. Also, clean your bird feeders out during January. Be sure you don't get pecked!
This is one of the most important things you can do for your grass or sod or lawn or turf or whatever you want to call it. Unfortunately, testing soil pH is probably one of the most overlooked areas of landscaping of all time. Did you know that some leaves and pine needles can change the pH of your soil and damage your grass? It is a good idea to test your soil pH before you make a large investment such as sodding your yard for the first time, and it is also a good idea to keep testing your soil pH once a year. January is a great time to do complete a soil test.
7. ORDER SEED OR BULBS
If you like to have some early spring color in your yard, planting bulbs is almost fool-proof. Instead of going to the huge chain stores, though, check out a place that specializes in bulbs. You will be surprised at the difference. Order your bulbs now. Also, order seed or seed catalogs now. The internet has made the world a lot smaller, so there are some great places to check out.
8. PRUNE DECIDUOUS TREES
This could get tricky... Some of you may or may not be sure if you even have deciduous trees in your yard. Don't be ashamed! I know you may have forgotten what the term 'deciduous' means! The dictionary defines 'deciduous'as: shedding the leaves annually, as certain trees and shrubs. Now, if you want to tackle your own pruning, please keep in mind the phrase LESS IS MORE. Trust me, you will be upset with yourself if you ruin one of your beautiful trees because you decided to take it upon yourself to over-prune it. (The term "crepe-rape" comes to mind here for times I see a beautiful crepe myrtle that has been pruned to death.) This could be a winter activity you want to leave for a professional landscaper. Click here to go to a blog post of ours to give you a chance to fill out a form and let us help you find a local reputable landscaper. Here is a very short list of some small deciduous trees that you may have in your outdoor space that could use a little shape pruning: Trident or Japanese Maple, Serviceberry (thin side branches only), Kousa Dogwood, Franklinia, Golden-chain, Crape-myrtle, Apple, White or Weeping White Mulberry, Callery Pear, Goat Willow. I suggest leaving the larger types of deciduous trees alone when it comes to pruning. Some things really are better left to a pro.
9. HARVEST WINTER VEGGIES
If you had a glorious winter garden full of cabbage, greens, turnips, broccoli, or brussels-sprouts, it is time to get those goodies picked and eaten or put up. It will soon be time to start working toward your spring garden.
10. MEND FENCES
The figurative or the literal kind. If you have a fence, January is a good month to do a once-over. Maybe your fence could use a fresh coat of paint. Maybe you could repair the area where you ran into it with the lawnmower last May. Maybe you have been thinking about installing a fence and haven't yet. January might be a good time to build a fence. Or tear one down.
Some of the things in this list are great weekend warrior projects for the DIY-er. Some, however, would be a lot easier if left to the professionals. Either way, these 10 things are surely a way to give you some ideas to get some green in your January. Click here to get this list as a punch-list that is printer friendly. Print it off for yourself or to give to your honey or your kids to keep them busy this winter!