For most areas in the country, March means it is time to spring forward! As the snow and ice melt off your safety pool cover and lawn and you get your first glimpse of your yard, it is evident that it will need some help to get it ready for spring—and the upcoming swimming season! Here are some tips to bring your yard back to life this spring.

Before you even step foot in the yard, you should take the time to sharpen all your backyard tools. Shovels, pruning shears, and lawn mower blades will be at their best when they are razor sharp. Getting your backyard tools in top working condition will save both time and effort in the long run. Make sure to properly clean and store these tools after each use.

Then, you can start preparing the yard for the all-important growing season with a thorough rake. Then, remove any dead leaves, branches, and other debris from your lawn and planting beds. Rake and mulch your flower beds so they are ready for planting. Trim back any shrubs or trees that need pruning, and carefully remove the branches.

After any snow melts, closely examine the lawn for any matted-down, dead-looking brown patches. This is likely snow mold—a type of fungus that damages or kills grass after the snow melts. It grows as a result of damp organic material such as rotting leaves or moss and can damage the lawn if not taken care of promptly.

It is likely that winter weather such as storms and melting snow could have shifted the ground of your lawn. Low spots can result in poor drainage, and spots that are too high may get scalped by a lawn mower. Additionally, grass, flowers, and shrubs will not grow properly on uneven ground. Use a shovel to cut away raised areas, then use that dirt to fill in the low areas.

Now the lawn is ready to seed and plant. Do some homework to determine which varieties work best in your climate. For seed, plant by hand or with a spreader. Plant flower beds and shrubs by hand. Be sure to water your seeds and plants and be vigilant about protecting them until the temperature is consistently warm.

Once your lawn is spring-ready, why not take some time to further enhance your yard? Plant sunflowers in the shape of a horseshoe, leaving the middle as grass. When the sunflowers grow tall, your family and friends will have a shaded “room” to spend time in while in your own backyard. Put up a hammock for the ultimate in relaxation!

Install a waterfall in your pool or a fountain in your yard to enjoy the soothing sound of water. Your yard will be transformed into a place of tranquility. Install a bird feeder—with plenty of birdfeed so the neighborhood birds have a place to gather. Add a shaded, cushioned bench so you can relax and listen to the gentle water while bird watching.