Your yard is alive and well, even in the months of December, January, and February. Although these are typically the coldest months of the year for our climate zones 7 and 8, there are ways to stay connected with your yard during December, Januray, and February. Many of us want to know what to do to care for our lawn during the winter months. Now that the new year (2013) is here, we have a lot of things on our "to-do" lists (or "honey-do" lists). There are so many resolutions to fulfill! If your yard, lawn, or landscape is a priority for you in 2013, there are a lot of things you can do starting now (*yes, even in January!) to help your efforts later on in the year when the growing season is more active here in the Columbia, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach areas of South Carolina, and coastal areas of North Carolina.

The first thing you can do for your yard now that it is 2013 is to PLAN. That's right. Planning is a good thing if you are the most organized person on the planet or if you are the least organized person on the planet. In other words, planning never hurt anyone.  And your plan for your landscape in 2013 can be elaborate or very simple. I suggest you take small steps. Your plan could be something as simple as jotting down one thing you would like to do each week in your yard or for your landscape from now until the last Saturday of February. Seriously, GET OUT A CALENDAR AND WRITE IT DOWN. Take out your smartphone and set up a recurring alert every Saturday for something involving the outside space that is your lawn. There is just something about March... when the month of March arrives, we all get spring fever. So plan NOW to be ready when your spring fever hits.
  • This Saturday, you could order that great book on landscape plants of the Southeast.
  • Next Saturday, go to the planting section of the library and peruse the shelves.
  • The Saturday after that, take a trip to the local hardware store, get a can of landscape paint & "create" some new planting beds.... you know, the beautiful landscape beds you have pictured in your mind. Use that spray!
  • The Saturday after that, look into the idea of planting some bulbs to give yourself some early spring color. 

You get the idea... with those few simple ideas from above, we already have a landscaping plan for the whole month of January! 
The second thing you can do for your yard NOW, even though it is only January, is to simply GET OUTSIDE. Take a walk around out there! Even if it is only for 10 minutes, twice a week, I promise, you will enjoy it. Especially if you pick a sunny day. I didn't say a WARM day... I said, a "sunny day." It may be cold outside, but it is really great if you bundle up and enjoy a stroll around your outdoor areas while the sun in shining. Soon, you will start to notice nooks and crannies of your yard that would be "perfect for this" or a "great spot to put that"... Yes, even your yard has potential. Maybe you just haven't gotten to know your space enough to think of creative ways to utilize sod or new flower beds or stepping stones or a swing or a great new Pawleys Island hammock, or a new new doggie hangout spot, or... well, you see what I mean. You may have a lot going on in your yard (or you may not), but there is always something new you would like to see happen out there, once you get out there and take a look around. While you are out there....
  • Step off some of your areas.
  • Count how many strides you can take from your steps to the corner of your house.
  • Actually get a tape measure and see how many feet long your driveway is.
  • How far is it to span the entire front of your house?

My point is this: get some type of feel for the dimensions of your lawn you are working with. It will help you as you are planning some things. Your yard will start to make more sense to you, if that makes sense.

The third thing you can do to enjoy your yard during the winter here in the Southeast is to do some research. There is a ton of information out there, so you might as well use it.
  • For South Carolina landscaping, the Clemson extension is a great place to start. There is independent and research-based information here, so you can really gain a lot of knowledge from checking in to the Clemson extension frequently
  • Another great source of info is magazines... start with something like Better Homes & Gardens
  • Up-to-date landscaping blogs, like this one, are a great way to get real-time, local, trendy ideas for things you can do for your lawn in the Southeast.
  • Another way to "research" is on the TV by watching Making It Grow. This show has won awards because it is a great place to inform the public of great local traditions or events for our area. Sometimes, you could try to call in and get your burning question answered and maybe be featured on the show. A lot of sod and mulch questions have been asked and answered over the years.
The fourth thing you can do to enjoy your yard in the winter is to decide if there is room for a professional who could possibly help you enjoy your yard more.
That may seem counter-intuitive to some, because, after all... the point of enjoying your yard is to spend more time in it and doing things in it, right? Why would you want to hire someone to do it for you? Where is the joy in that? Well, for some, there would be no joy in hiring a landscaper. BUT... consider this: hire a landscaper to come in and give your yard a total facelift. Let them do the serious yard surgery for a season, then you continue to keep it up after that. Sometimes, it is a good thing to ask for a little help. Or jumpstart. Or what ever you want to call it. This enjoy your yard thing can get overwhelming if you let it. Don't let it. If some of your planning takes you to a place where you are letting your grand ideas turn into a drag on your time, your resources, or your money (which, let's face it, during these hard economic times, would just be unaccpetable), maybe getting a reputable landscaper to help out would be a great thing. Notice I have used the words "professional" and "reputable" here to describe the type of person (or persons, or company) you want to hire. Yes, sometimes, Aunt Cindy's best friend's nephew-to-be is a great person to weed eat around your property line. But sometimes, for bigger projects, or a longer relationship, it is really a good idea to get a professional landscaper to help you. [Fill out the quick form below to send us an email if you need some help finding a great professional. We here at SB Turf, Inc. & SB Mulch, Inc. have made some great contacts over the 15 years we have been in business. We'd love to help you find someone who would be a great fit for your landscaping needs.] Some may use a landscaper to initiate that huge yard makeover and others may want a landscaper just to do the weekly mowing upkeep... either way, ask yourself if you could use professional help.

    Help Me Find a Professional Landscaper

The fifth thing you can do in the winter to help you enjoy your yard is to start a budget. Let's face it: we can all stand to be smarter with our money. Even if your name is Bill Gates. A new year, a new budget. That is a whole new blog post, I understand, but I'm talking about budgeting when it comes to your spending on all things landscaping. Spending your money on your landscape or outdoor space is an investment. Any real estate agent will tell you a landscaped home sells better than one that isn't. Try getting your home to sell if it doesn't have grass. Again, though, that is a whole other blog post. Back to investing in ourselves and our home. With our daily lives now, we are such multitaskers: we are always tuned in, plugged up, on call, whatever you want to call it. Getting our fingers dirty by working with our hands in some good old black dirt or compost is healing. It just is. Setting the mind in neutral and weeding a flower bed for half a day is soothing. And I promise, if you get out in your yard and rake or spread mulch, you will sleep when your head hits the pillow. Enjoying your yard is an investment in your health, as well as an investment in your property or rental. It is a little sad to admit that we have gotten ourselves to the point where we actually have to schedule in our own relaxation or down time, but it is just a fact of life now-a-days. When you are looking at the things you spend your money on, budget some for a pasttime or hobby like gardening or landscaping or planting that will actually help you and your soul. Pick an "outside budget" you can live with and stick to it. It is hard to get buyers remorse over some pretty flowers or fresh sod to go barefoot in the yard.

Hopefully you and yours are having a great start to 2013. If you are looking for some ways to get more involved at your own home this year, your outdoor space is one place you can start. Enjoy your yard!


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