Check out our backyard cleanup tips if you want your outdoor living space to go from drab to spectacular!

updated: April 16, 2021

Your backyard can be an oasis of tranquility you can retreat to after a nerve-wracking day at work. However, you’re not going to want to spend time in your backyard if it’s full of trash, dead leaves, fallen branches, and ugly weeds. If this description sounds like your home, it’s time to clean it all up. By doing this, you’ll be back to enjoying the secluded beauty of your behind-the-house oasis in no time.

Man mows a lawn on his yard.
It’s time to clean it all up

1. Sharpen Your Tools

Before you embark on your lawn cleaning project, make sure your tools are sharp. It’s so much easier to prune with sharp blades than with dull ones. Sharper pruners make cleaner cuts, which heals faster. This helps your plants to stay healthy.

Reaching up on high shelves to retrieve your tools is a recipe for disaster. That’s why you should place the yard equipment you use the most in easy reach. Throw away broken garden implements so they don’t clutter up your space.

A man wearing a toolbelt.

2. Wear Your Toolbelt

To stay organized as you clear things away, wear a toolbelt. This helps keep handheld garden tools close by. Cultivators, weeding knives, and pruning shears easily fit in pockets. Hedge clippers and loppers can be stored in the hammer holder.

3. Clean Your Gutters

Clean your gutters, downspouts, and drains so that spring showers can roll off your roof. You can fit many leaf blowers with a special attachment that easily removes leaves from your gutter. Clean your gutters before you do your raking because you don’t want to do it a second time. Climb a ladder only when someone can be there to spot you.

4. Clear Tall Grasses

If your lawn is overgrown with weeds, you’ll need to remove them. One of the best ways to do this is by using a line trimmer. Rent one if you don’t own one. If you need to trim back large ornamental grasses, wrap a bungee cord around each grass clump before pruning.

The cord will collect all the clippings, making them easier to haul away. An environmentally friendly way of getting rid of your weeds is by hiring a herd of goats to devour them.

Man cuts a log using the chainsaw.

5. Remove Large Waste

Next, remove large waste from your lawn. This includes rocks and branches. Save your rocks to make an attractive landscaping border. Prune away weather-damaged tree limbs and branches, so they don’t snap off during ferocious winds.

Use a chainsaw to trim large branches. Smaller branches can be cut with tree shears. You can always rent a woodchipper to turn this debris into garden mulch or a log splitter to cut up the trees for firewood. Use shears or electric clippers to trim overgrown hedges. After cutting the shrubs, use a rake to remove dead leaves and other debris underneath them. It’s essential to get rid of the dead stuff because otherwise, it could be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. This could increase the risk of shrub infection.

An excellent way to get rid of leaves is by using a leaf blower. If your yard is tiny or you don’t mind manual labor, use a rake instead. If you’re not bagging your leaves but plan to dump them curbside or in your compost pile, use a tarp. Rake your leaves right onto the tarp, and then drag them to where they’re going.

A man cleans his yard using the leaf blower.
An excellent way to get rid of leaves is by using a leaf blower

You can also use a tarp to clear away detritus from your flower beds. Create three piles for your waste: one for compost, one for recyclables, and one for general waste.

6. Whack those Weeds

Use a weed trimmer to get rid of weeds. This will pull them up by the roots and stop them from growing back anytime soon. Do it by hand if you don’t have that many weeds. If you do it by hand, make sure to wear protective gloves and keep a five-gallon bucket by your side.

Although it can hold a lot, it won’t get too heavy as you move along the flower bed. Dump the bucket in with the rest of your lawn debris once you’re done. You could also buy some weed killer to kill backyard weeds. This should stop them from reappearing. One caveat: don’t use too much, as it can kill your plants and flowers.

7. Mow the Lawn

Playing kids and a robotic lawn mower which does its job

Before you mow the lawn, sharpen the blades for a cleaner cut. Dull blades can damage your grass and make the grass uneven. To mow your yard correctly, adjust the height of your cut. Experts say you should never cut more than ⅓ of your grass length.

Any more than that, and you could be doing more harm than good. The optimal height for lawn grass is around two and a half inches. Adjust the level as close to that as possible. Maintaining the grass at this height will stop weed proliferation and promote the growth of healthy roots.

When you mow, refrain from attaching the bag. Mulching your clippings saves time and is excellent for your grass. Grass clippings are 80% water and will quickly decompose.

As they break down, they’ll infuse your yard with healthy nutrients.

8. Make A Compost Pile

Raking the leaves for compost pile.

You can create rich soil to use as fertilizer by starting a compost pile. To create one, dig a pit in a corner of your garden. To make your life easier, buy a ready-made compost bin. Break large branches and sticks into smaller pieces.

Add grass clippings, food scraps and other kitchen waste, old leaves, the previous season’s mulch, and worn-out foliage to your compost pile. Throw in some topsoil. Mix contents thoroughly and add water.

Add more yard waste to the pile weekly. You’ll use this compost to fertilize your garden. This will give your plants the valuable and nutrient-rich food they need to flourish.


If you want to make your backyard look gorgeous all year long, you’re going to have to do regular cleaning and maintenance. By following these tips, you can clean up your yard without spending a ton of money on professional lawn services.

Another tool that can make backyard cleanup a breeze is an electric pressure washer. If you want the best, here are our recommendations of the finest models on the market.

Melba Espinal
Melba Espinal is a proud mother and self-professed “neat-freak.” She started a successful cleaning service to earn money while obtaining her degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington. After growing the business from a part-time job to a full operation with a fleet of vehicles and a team of employees, she now focuses on helping homeowners with her expert tips and advice!
image description Comments
September 8, 2021 at 3:03 pm

Composting is one of my favorite things to do while gardening. It’s a waste-free and organic fertilizer production that doesn’t require much effort or time.
Great article!

Brent Harrel
May 4, 2021 at 4:33 am

These really are very helpful tips for those who love to tend their own backyards/lawns. Although, hiring professional lawn mowing services is a good option for those who can’t do these themselves for any reason.

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