Spring Maintenance Checklist for Outdoor Spaces

Posted by Jason Wyrwicz on Mar 21st 2022

It’s that time of year again when going outside doesn’t require multiple layers or a cautious approach to walking down pathways. Spring is here, and that means it’s time to think about your outdoor landscape. Now, before you grab your rakes and pruning shears, remember that there’s a wrong way to prepare your outdoor spaces for spring and a right way.

Here’s our spring maintenance checklist that you can use to ensure you’re doing everything right with your flowers, trees, herbs, and vegetables. Whether you want to spruce up the plants and custom planters outside your restaurant or hotel, freshen up your business entranceways, or elevate your outside space, here’s our in-depth checklist to ensure that you don’t forget anything.

Spring Maintenance Checklist

Part One: Clean-up

Before you do anything else, it’s a smart move to head outside and give everything a good clean-up. From an aesthetic point of view, a clean-up should speak for itself. After all, if you have plants and trees in planters outside your commercial space, then having a clean-up will always make everything look better.

But it’s not just about appearances. Taking a proactive approach to cleaning your outdoor spaces minimizes the risks of diseases that affect greenery!

Remove debris, leaves, and dead stalks

Start by checking planters, flower beds, and the lawn itself. If there are any broken-off branches, pick them up and get rid of them. If there are piles of dead leaves everywhere, scoop them up and either:

  • Add them to a compost pile (if you have one)
  • Bag them up and scatter them in your nearest woods
  • Burn them (bear in mind that gardeners consider this a waste of resources!).

Next, take a look around for any additional debris that may have blown into your outdoor areas. Clear as much as you can, and you might be surprised by how much those leaves and other debris have been hiding weeds or plant diseases.

When it comes to getting ready for the warmer months, they don’t call it spring cleaning for nothing!

Remove any trash

Even if your outdoor space wasn’t used over the winter, some trash likely accumulated. Take a look at your patio or other outdoor furniture. Even if it’s not ruined by the weather, it will most likely need a good clean at this time of year. Hose it down, and then give everything a good wash with some hot, soapy water.

Next, give your patio, decking, and porch a good sweeping. It’s often amazing how much trash can accumulate during the winter, so get ready to get very busy with your broom.

Rake leaves

Has there ever been a discussion more likely to cause a fist-fight among gardeners? Raking leaves when spring is getting close is an enormously contentious subject, and taking a stance will always lead to disagreements and arguments!

Spring Maintenance Checklist - rake leaves

While you will need to rake your leaves, doing it too early can lead to disaster. If you see your neighbors out raking up their leaves, don’t assume they must know what they're doing. The problem is that grasses tend to remain dormant for a while longer in early spring. So if you start raking too early, you run the risk of damaging the healthy blades of grass.

Don’t forget that even though the temperature might be starting to rise, it's likely that the soil is still very cold and may even be frozen in places. Even If it's not frozen, any snow you’ve seen over the winter will have melted into the soil, saturating it. That’s only going to weaken your grass. It can also cause snow mold! So don’t rush to give your lawns or ornamental grasses a good rake. Let the weather warm up a little first.

Inspect and note damage

Next, take a long, slow walk around all of your outdoor spaces. For commercial buildings, don’t just check for damage in the parts visible to customers and clients. You want to ensure that everything is safe, clean, and undamaged by the winter. Those cold months can cause a lot of damage, even if the temperatures don’t drop too severely.

Check your plants, furniture, and your planters for any signs of damage. Take note of all the damage you can spot, and you’ll find the next stage considerably easier.

Part Two: Make a Plan

When it comes to your spring clean, it’s always best to have a plan. Grab a notebook and pen, take notes about damage and start prioritizing what needs to be done. Think about the following.


You're likely going to start with some general maintenance. Repairs will be high on your list — best to start there because you may need to make repairs before you can use equipment. Be sure to:

  • Clean your tools: Give them a good clean, make any fixes that are needed, sharpen, and oil the tools that need it
  • Fix your paths, trellises, and fences
  • Check and repair any damaged large planters and other outdoor furniture like birdhouses or statues
  • Create a stock list of your tools and garden supplies.

Making Changes

Now is a good time to grab a (clean) chair and have a good long sit-down in your outdoor space. Start thinking about changes that you want to make. That could be anything from adding new trees or foliage in your outdoor area, realizing that you have the perfect space for some new fiberglass planters, or even a complete redesign.

In commercial spaces, having a complete overhaul of your outdoor space can be as refreshing as an architectural overhaul (and considerably cheaper too).

Spring Maintenance Checklist - make changes

Choose new plants

You should now be armed with a list of ideas about the new plants you want to add. Do some research and make sure the plants you choose will thrive in your location. So, restaurant owners need to consider plants that might not suit an architect's office. All plants and greenery have specific environments where they’ll flourish, but the wrong conditions can make it challenging to keep your greenery alive.

So if you live and work somewhere that’s extremely hot, look for drought-resistant plants that are “kill-proof”. Make a shortlist of the best plants for your garden, patio, or even your balcony. From offices to your home, always match your choice of plants to where they’ll be.

Order new plants and planters

Once you’ve decided on plants, it’s time to order them. Always shop around, and don’t forget that you'll need a container for each plant or tree unless you're planting them straight into the soil.

As well as making sure that you have the right size containers for plants, check whether you need planters or container pots that have drainage holes. This can dramatically affect how fresh and healthy your greenery looks.

Prune and Plant

You’re now getting down to the nitty-gritty of your spring maintenance. You may have gotten messy doing some of the other tasks on this checklist, but now it's time to get ‘gardener messy’!

Prune dead leaves and overgrowth

When you think of spending the spring in the great outdoors, this is the part that most people look forward to. Pruning (or simply pulling) the dead leaves from your perennials should be your priority (and enormously satisfying). However, you don’t have to go wild when it comes to your flower beds or planters.

Obviously, you should remove big clumps of dead leaves to encourage growth. But you need to be careful here, especially if you're using sharp tools. The last thing you want is to accidentally cut off any new, healthy growth on your plants or trees.

Finally, pull up any dead stems from the ground and any containers you're using. Don't pull too hard! If you start to feel some resistance, new roots are likely growing. Prune the dead parts down and leave the rest alone.

Spring Maintenance Checklist = weed

Weed and fertilize

Get your kneepads and your gardening gloves out because it's time to tackle the weeds. The first hint of spring is the perfect time to start fighting weeds that have craftily found their way amongst your plants. The damp soil of spring is beneficial here, as you’ll find it much easier to drag those weeds out using only your (gloved) hands. You’ll also be doing this task before your perennials have started to fill out too, so those weeds will be very easy to spot.

Never try to compost your weeds. We guarantee they’ll fight their way back to life.

Check mulch and replace as needed

It’s mulch-checking time! Remember way back when you were overwintering pots to protect your plants from frost and snow? Well, it’s time to see how well that worked! First off, check all of your winter mulch and get rid of it. As long as you've done weeding, you can now cover your soil with a nice thick layer of mulch. It’s not just traditional mulch that needs to be removed and replaced. Some people use burlap wraps, plant cones, windscreens, and a wide range of specialized winter plant protection, and these all tend to come into play at the start of fall.

Whatever you've used, mulch is hard to beat. It’s great for conserving water. It can feed your soil and ensure that weeds don’t gain a foothold in your soil. So whether you're planting straight into the ground or you're using containers and planters, mulch should never be overlooked or dismissed.

Spring Maintenance Checklist - plant new items

Plant new items

You can now start planting your new greenery! Make sure to follow guidelines, and take your time to get the positioning right. There’s nothing worse than a great day of planting, only to find that everything is slightly out of place. Check shade, water access, and the plants you've ordered are healthy.

Check Water Sources

If you’re doing spring maintenance for your place of work, never forget to check access to water. It’s one thing to have a garden redesign at home where you know you have a hose that will reach every corner of your garden. It’s another thing entirely to have office plants in your reception space or in your restaurant’s dining area, where the focus is on work, not plant maintenance.

Always ensure that getting water to your greenery will not be an issue. The harder you make it for yourself to water your plants, the more likely you’ll start to skip it. And that’s just going to lead to dead leaves and an unappealing aesthetic.

Make sure sprinklers and hoses are working properly

Even if you do have access to a water supply, that won’t do you any good if your hoses are blocked or ripped. As soon as you see the first signs of spring, check your hoses and watering containers for any damage caused by lack of use or low winter temperatures. Repair or replace as needed.

Start Your Spring Maintenance!

You’ve made it through winter, and you're ready to enjoy the warm months ahead. Take time to pay attention to your greenery. Whether at work or home, the more attention you pay to your plants, trees, herbs, and vegetables, the healthier and more long-lasting they'll be.

Use our easy checklist to ensure you haven’t missed any critical spring maintenance steps. And if your pots and planters took a hit, get in touch for a quote on repair or replacement. Spring is an important time of year when you need to pay the most attention to your outdoor spaces and landscape. We can help you get set up with new pots and planters to liven up your business so you put the best foot forward into spring.

Looking for volume or trade pricing?
Open An Instant Account Get Pricing