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Tune Up Your Yard

Lawn care
Photo by Steve Henke

You could head into the season without readying your yard, cutting the grass when it starts itching your ankles. But where's the pride in that? We whipped up a nifty little checklist for you to ensure you're seriously prepared for the earliest barbecue date of the season. We've only got a few months of that kind of weather; make 'em count.

  1. Clean up after Fido. Swallow your pride (and appetite) and pick up a winter's worth of dog mess. Or, better yet, hire a service such as Scoopy Poo—pricing starts at just less than $110 for a comprehensive spring-cleaning. 4504 B Valley View Rd., Edina, 612-374-3000, scoopypoo.net
  2. Get sharp. Sharpening your lawnmower blade doesn't just make mowing easier, it's also much better for your grass. Pretty much any hardware or lawn and garden center offers sharpening. While they're at it, have 'em change the oil.
  3. Mow the right way. Early in the season, mow frequently enough so that you're only cutting the top third of your grass. And don't bag the trimmings—they're good for the soil.
  4. Test your sprinkler system. Turn its water supply back on and run a full system test to check for above- and below-ground leaks. If you do happen to have a problem—or just think you might—bring in the pros. We like Green Acres Sprinkler Company. 952-929-1232, greenacressprinkler.com
  5. Do less yard work and help the environment. Get Prairie Restorations' "Sowing it Back Together" kit, which converts part of your yard to native plants, grasses, and wildflowers. 763-389-4342, prairieresto.com
  6. Prepare your grill (and yourself) for the season. While a little gristle on your grill is good for flavor, letting last summer's crusted, musty funk hang around isn't going to win you any fans. Give the slats a heavy scrub with a wire brush and Simple Green. And if a good-looking grill isn't reward enough, check out Waconia-based Tactical Grilling for the area's coolest grilling gear, like a camouflage apron complete with a six-pack holster and spatula sheath. tacticalgrilling.com

Need a handy tear-sheet of what to do? We've got that, too.