Lyon Financial

How to Launch Your Summer Paradise


This is the time of year our thoughts turn to all things outdoors. Depending on where you live, you may have experienced violent storms and record snowfalls this year – even in places unaccustomed to such severity. So, you are now likely more than ready to turn over a new leaf – or actually… a new flowerbed!

“Spring” is a relative term as different parts of the country have different determining factors. Whether you’re in Illinois in the midst of a big thaw or in a more temperate climate like Georgia where you are now enjoying cooler evenings and lower humidity, it’s time to usher in those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!

Spring is of course synonymous with an interior overhaul when perhaps you decide to clean out closets and garages or revive doors and baseboards with a fresh coat of paint.

And then you look out at your yard and feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks you need to accomplish there.

Like any other project, you start with a list and then you prioritize it. Lump these steps into doable chunks. You want to enjoy at least some of your weekend relaxing, so be realistic.

Just put one foot in front of the other, and you will eventually find yourself poolside on your favorite lounger.

Early Spring

You’ll get some good cardio in during this phase!


Give your fruit and summer-blooming trees and shrubs the royal treatment early in the season before their buds break into bloom.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Late winter and early spring are typically the best times to make any adjustments to the shapes of many trees and shrubs. You want to prune hard at the end of winter or very early spring BEFORE any new growth starts. This allows the plant to put its energy towards producing new, healthy growth when the warmer temperatures of spring roll around.”


Gather those dead leaves and twigs from beds and around trees. It’s the first step toward future planting or just reviving that rich soil.


Now that you’ve cleared the decks, you can dress them up with a fresh layer of mulch. Mulch is aesthetically pleasing and helps define beds and borders, but of course it is key for moisture retention and to hinder the growth of weeds. The amount you need can be deceiving. To avoid yet another trip to the home improvement store, know your dimensions. Consult with the outside garden specialist or try this handy mulch calculator.

Maybe this year you’d like to highlight some of your favorite trees by stacking a couple rows of edging pavers in a circle around them. Then add soil and some smaller plants or mulch or both!

Check Stonework

This is also a great time to inspect all the dimensional elements like your deck, patio, pool equipment, furniture, and any hardscaped structures. Get them power washed and repaired. It’s a good time to check your pool chemical inventory too, so you’re ready when your pool has its grand opening!

(By the way, you should open your pool “when the temperature is consistently above 70 degrees during the day. This helps prevent algae from growing, keeps pollen from collecting in the water, and doesn’t cost much more than opening later in the spring.”)


Now’s also the time for a little planting. Those cool-season vegetables are ready for your newly turned earth. Think peas, radishes, artichokes, and hardy potatoes. Get them in early after the last thaw, and they’ll be ready for a summer harvest.


Now you’ll start seeing the literal fruits of your labors as those recently pruned trees and shrubs will be getting ready to bloom. You’ll also have a much cleaner palette after your early spring labors, so you can decide if you’d like to add some new plants.

Maybe it’s time to expand your vegetable garden? Enjoy this handy guide from the amazing people at Real Simple with their Month-by-Month Guide to Vegetable Gardening.


If you’re not in on the craze already, you might want to check out these easy steps to become an Official Backyard Birdwatcher!

“Just as you set the best stage for your flowering plants and vegetable garden with the finest soil along with the appropriate amounts of fertilizer, sun, and water, so too do you need to welcome birds, so they want to stop by for a visit.” It’s a fascinating way to view even another aspect of the Great Outdoors.

If you’re already a friend of the feathered, this is a good time to take down your bird feeders, give them a thorough cleaning, and fill them with the treats you know they love.

More Planting

If you just planted perennials, you’re going to need to wait for hotter temps to see them burst into brilliance. In the interim, consider adding some cool-season annuals. Snapdragons and pansies will fit the bill.

And if you’ve run out of room in the flowerbeds, we love the versatility of container gardening! You can fill them to the rim with these annuals and also have the ability to shift the location of these mini gardens at will while making a style statement with the container design.

(Speaking of which, try lighting up the night with these great DIY Glow in the Dark Planters too!)

If you were eyeing some shrubbery at the garden center, then this is the time. You’ll want to get these planted and feeling at home before it gets too hot.

Check out these:

Late Spring

Prune Again

At this time, you’ll want to remove the completely spent blossoms of the spring-flowering bulbs. This will help them along for next year.

Plant Again

Those vivid summer annuals are ready for you now! Petunias, impatiens, and zinnias. You’ll want to select the ones not yet in bloom, so they will take to your yard and be hardier. Summer-blooming bulbs like dahlias and gladiolus can also be planted once there’s no more threat of frost.

Veggie Again

Peppers, and tomatoes, and herbs! Oh my! Peppers, and tomatoes, and herbs! Oh my! Dorothy from Kansas had a whole farm, but all you need is a nice little patch of yard to serve up some homemade freshness.

If this is your first year creating an outdoor paradise, don’t let it overwhelm you. It’s a project in progress. PLUS, you’ll not only reap the yard-to-table goodness of home-grown flowers and vegetables, you’ll also realize all the incredible health and wellness benefits of gardening.

So… all we’ve left to say is Happy Spring to you and your family!

Providing pool and home improvement loan solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves the many faces of the Great Outdoors – from swimming to planting. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.