Hi, Mina Starsiak Hawk here! You know me from HGTV’s Good Bones, where my mom Karen and I take you along on our adventures renovating Indianapolis homes and revitalizing local neighborhoods. I’m also a full-time wife and mother to my adorable son Jack, who just turned six months old. And, now, I am also proud to be a partner of Lowe’s. We’re working together to complete my outdoor projects the right way, right away this spring so my family and I can enjoy our home and landscape to the fullest this spring season, which is one of my favorites.
I’ll be honest, living in Indianapolis often means feeling like spring takes forever to arrive, even when the calendar says it’s already here. But you don’t have to wait for those 60-degree days to start making your backyard the outdoor oasis you’ve been dreaming of. In fact, you shouldn’t. Missing out on early spring activities, like getting your bulbs or hardy flowers in the ground, could lead to challenges like root damage or your plants not taking well due to temperatures increasing quickly or dramatically before your plants have time to get settled. Trust me, don’t procrastinate! Last spring, my husband and I kept putting off pulling out all our outdoor furniture and by the time we got around to it, it was the middle of July and far too hot to want to drag everything out for just a few months of enjoyment. The saying in Indy is, “if you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes.” There can be 40-degree swings in 24 hours, so strike while the iron is hot!
Even if it means bundling up, there are countless projects you can take care of outside as soon as the season starts:
“Nail” Your Toolbox
Having the right tools for your project is a must and makes your job easier and more efficient. It’s one of the most frustrating things when you start a project that you’re really excited about, only to realize you are missing the drill bit you need! So, know your needs, know what you already have and have fun shopping for what you still need to bulk up your arsenal! When selecting tools, try the “how does it feel in my hand?” test. Try to imagine how the tool will feel after a few hours of use. Larger tools are efficient, just remember to choose one that won’t wear you out too quickly. Specific to your spring planting needs, make sure you have a nice hand shovel you like for smaller jobs and a couple bigger options. I’d suggest a drain spade for transplanting smaller plants and a pointed spade for larger ones.
Know Before You Grow
When choosing plants in early spring, look for hardy flowers like pansies, perennial herbs and plants like parsley, and regional bulbs like amaryllis and calla lilies that can withstand low temperatures – but watch for cold snaps to protect new plants from cold spells.
Lowe’s has Master Gardeners in its lawn & garden centers to help you choose the best plants for your region and space, and offers a one-year plant guarantee to replace your plants free of charge if they don’t survive a year. Their plant labels make it pretty fool proof for you to strike out on your own though! They show you the information you need to find plants suited to your landscape and keep them healthy – from sunlight needs and watering requirements, to growth rate, hardiness and more. The Lowe’s Grow Together™ indicator on every tag helps you find different plants that work well together – just select plants with the same numbers on the tags. Knowing your Agricultural Zone will also help you make the right decisions. If you don’t know it, it’s super easy to look up online. Indiana is split between zones 5 and 6.
Prep for Warmth
March and April can be a guessing game in the garden. Generally, in most climates, this is when it becomes time to pull back the mulch and start warming the soil – but keep ground covers handy in case you still get a freeze. From soil and soil amendments to mulch and rock, Lowe’s has it all! Even worse than not having the right tool for the project is not having enough material! Or, having WAY too much and lugging around 30 extra bags of mulch. I’m always down for a good workout, but mulch is messy stuff! If you’re not sure how much mulch or soil you need for your project, check out this online calculator to help you save time and money.
Protect and Perfect with Hardscaping
Now…for my favorites. Hardscaping projects like building a retaining wall or a stepping stone walkway add function and design to your landscape. A paver walkway adds an attractive touch to your landscape and serves as a beautiful focal point for your outdoor space. Lowe’s has pavers available in a variety of styles and materials, including concrete, brick, marble and cobblestone. This way you can choose the style and design that bets fits you and your home. My all-time favorite — herringbone brick! Can’t go wrong. But if you’re just beginning, a simple subway pattern may be a good option for the best outcome. You can also make a cool raised garden bed using wall block. It’s pretty simple and adds an architectural element to your landscape that you can personalize based on your outdoor space.
You don’t have to be an expert to get started. My mom and I taught ourselves so much of what we know – and continue to learn from experience and each other every day. You can too! As soon as I’m ready to get started, Lowe’s is my go-to place to get all the essentials. Everything I need for my favorite spring projects is always stocked and ready. I encourage you to start working on your outdoor space now. It’s time to dive right in, and it isn’t as scary as it seems (trust me).