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How To: 30-Minute Yard Refresh

Meredith Gaines — Jul 13, 2023

Is the family BBQ tonight, but your backyard is in need of a little TLC? Maybe you’re looking at your neighbor’s lush landscape and experiencing yard envy. Or maybe you just got back from vacation, and your garden is feeling neglected. It’s okay—we’ve all been there! Don’t panic or make any drastic changes just yet. We have a few tips to help get your space back in tip-top shape in no time!

What you need is a quick yard refresh! When the weather heats up, outdoor spaces get just as much, if not more, use than your indoor spaces. And just like you’d freshen up the inside of your home for guests, it’s important to spruce up your outside too—it’ll help you feel relaxed and ready for a summer of fun. 

What is a Refresh?

Think of a refresh as the middle ground between a quick tidying and a deep clean. The goal here is to make the space feel polished and loved without taking up too much of your time and energy. After all, you should be able to spend quality time actually enjoying your yard, not just working in it. Taking 30 minutes to freshen things up will leave you and your space feeling renewed. 

How to Refresh Your Space

The approach to a refresh is the same regardless of the shape or size of your yard. Set aside some time and, if you need to, divide your yard into sections like back and front to make it more manageable. We also suggest rounding up a few helpers to make your refresh go by even faster. Follow these quick steps to get started!

  1. Put things away. The first step is gathering up anything that doesn't belong in your yard. This means putting away the sprinkler, organizing toys, bikes and garden supplies that might be lying around. If you don’t have time for all the steps on this list, prioritize this one, as it makes a big difference visually.
  2. Straighten up. Next, straighten things up. Put any patio furniture back in its rightful place. Wipe down dirty containers and hose off the deck. Fluff outdoor pillows or cushions and dump leaves out of the hammock. If it rained recently, empty any standing water from watering cans and saucers. Remember this is NOT the time to get out the pressure washer. We’re aiming for small but impactful tasks that’ll tidy your space in a pinch.
  3. Polish. The last step is polishing your space. At this point it should feel more organized and clean, but if you’re looking for the wow factor, here’s where it happens. Grab some pine straw or mulch to boost your garden beds. Grab a new container and place it out on your porch or near the doorway. If you have some empty pots, don’t hide them away. Instead, add some color with perennials. Grab the leaf blower and wrangle the fallen leaves into a manageable pile. 

mulching yard

Some Refresh Tips 

  1. Don’t think about it too much—just do it! Set a timer on your phone and go for it. Even if you don’t get it all done in one go, you still made progress with the time you had. Just accomplishing the first step of putting things away will make your space feel more welcoming. 
  2. If you ever feel overwhelmed or unsure where to start, we suggest beginning with the high traffic or high visible areas first. These are areas around the entrances and exits of your house and views that you can see from your windows. 
  3. If you want to have fun while you spruce up your space, use music as your timer or make a game out of it with your family. For example, try to do each step during the span of two to three songs. Or involve more people, divide up the space and make it a race to see who can get theirs done first.


And if you’re feeling like your landscape is still looking a little dull, adding a few plants can do wonders! Check out a few of the plant suggestions below to effortlessly level up your space.

Lacking color? Try adding some Endless Summer® Hydrangeas, Summer Crush® Hydrangeas, Sunshine Ligustrums and At Last Roses like in this example:

evergreens, hydrangeas and roses

Or add depth and dimension to your entryway using Blue Star Junipers, Norfolk Island Pines and Tuscan Rosemary, shown here:

entryway plants

Be sure to head on over to our Instagram for more plant combos and garden inspiration. Plus, tag @FastGrowingTrees in your photos to show us how you're refreshing your space! 

Go ahead and host that summer soiree or simply unwind on your patio. If you follow the quick tips above, your space will feel fresher than ever, so you can sit back and soak it all in. And don’t worry if your yard has gotten cluttered—life is busy, especially during summer! Just take it little by little—you’d be amazed what a 30-minute cleanup can do for your space.

And remember—these refresh steps can’t replace standard yard maintenance like mowing the grass, weeding and pruning. However, if you make a habit of tackling the little tasks regularly, you might find that the larger tasks aren’t that bad either!

Meredith Gaines

Meredith's love for plants started at a young age, and only grew when she started working in the Desert Exhibit at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens and the Historic Filoli Estate in the Bay Area. After graduating from Clemson University (GO TIGERS!) with a degree in Biology and Horticulture, she found her niche in the FastGrowingTrees.com family as a horticulturist and has grown in her current role as Senior Plant Expert.

She currently resides in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, and enjoys spending any time she can outdoors. She learns new things about plants every day and loves sharing her plant knowledge and tips with those around her. Her favorite plant is constantly changing, but her long-time favorites are peonies, oak trees, and ferns.

Questions? Contact Meredith at information@fastgrowingtrees.com.

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