Maintaining Your Masterpiece

Congrats on completing your H2Overhaul! Before you kick back in your new water-wise landscape, you’ll need to maintain it, so all that hard work doesn’t go to waste. Hang on to this guide and follow these expert tips to keep your yard lookin’ good, year after year.

Seasonal Landscaping Checklist

Click the seasonal icon below to learn more.

Be Winter-Wise

  • Sharpen shovels and pruning tools. Use steel wool to remove any rust.
  • Prune deciduous trees and late-blooming deciduous shrubs while they’re dormant.
  • Water the root zones of plants and trees if it's warm and there hasn’t been much precipitation.

Do Some Spring Cleaning

  • Cut down ornamental grasses close to the base.
  • Apply lawn fertilizer.
  • Aerate lawns and mow to a height of 3 inches.
  • Check sprinkler systems and irrigation lines for hidden leaks and make necessary repairs.
  • Prune evergreen shrubs and cut back dead growth on perennials.
  • Work compost into the soil and plant trees, shrubs, spring-blooming perennials and summer-blooming bulbs.
  • Divide ornamental grasses as they start to grow versus in the fall when they are going dormant.
  • Get rid of any weeds while they are still small and easy to manage.
  • Refresh mulch.

Stay In Touch Over The Summer

  • For your lawn, set your irrigation controller and adjust your monthly watering time according to the Thornton Watering Guide.
  • Mow grass when it has grown about a third taller than the recommended height of 3 inches.
  • Check for spider mites and other pests and treat if necessary.
  • Deadhead perennials through the summer months to keep them blooming.
  • Continue to weed your landscape as they pop up.

Fall Into A Routine

  • Apply lawn fertilizer.
  • Plant perennials and spring-blooming bulbs.
  • Replenish mulch around trees and shrubs.
  • Clean up garden debris including compost leaves and green plant matter.
  • Place them in your compost bin.
  • Water new plants.
Tactical Maintenance for Practical People

Pruning and Deadheading

  • Remove woody stems and branches using a pruner.
  • Prune flowering shrubs immediately after they bloom.
  • Prune other shrubs in the late winter or early spring before new leaves appear.
  • Deadhead (remove dead flowers) as flowers begin to fade. Most plants will regrow after.

Mowing the Lawn

  • Cut down on water and fertilizer to reduce your need to mow.
  • Mow grass when it is about 4 inches tall.
  • If turf grass is cut too short it will stress the turf and dry out. Keep it at the proper height to use less water. Leave the clippings and let their nutrients recycle into the soil.

Controlling Garden Pests
Many insects are essential for pollination and could be destroyed by chemical controls. Natural methods of pest control, like insecticidal soaps or neem oil, ladybugs and praying mantis are preferred over chemical pesticides. Even the installation of bird houses or bat houses can encourage natural insect control. Ask your local garden center for recommendations on where to purchase.

Fertilizing the Lawn
Applying more fertilizer than is needed can deplete other nutrients and cause deficiencies. Ideally, a soil test from a reputable laboratory (CSU Extension) will determine the nutrient needs of your turf. A general rule of thumb is to fertilize twice a year, once around Memorial Day and once around Labor Day.


  • Increase water penetration and drought tolerance by aerating in the spring and fall. This will also loosen compacted soil and enhance root growth.
  • Aerate 2-3 inches deep for best results. Leave the pellets on the lawn. They contain microbes that can help decompose thatch.
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