yard-work-835279571.jpgApril is a key time for your house and yard. Act now to prevent pests and encourage healthy growth by following these important home to-dos.

1. Sweep and Rake Yard Debris

After fall and winter, you probably have a lot of leaves, needles and twigs on your lawn and garden. You need to get rid of that debris ASAP! First, leaving it on the ground can encourage mildew buildup on your lawn as moisture gets trapped in dark places. Second, you don't want that debris to start decaying and slipping into the soil, as it can alter the chemical balance in your soil and cause growth problems later in the year, especially from acidic needles or scales.

2. Inspect the Outside of Your House

Take a slow walk around your house in the daylight. Look at your foundation, siding, eaves and rooftop. You are looking for any cracks, mildew, signs of damage, warped boards or anything else out of the ordinary. Watch out for missing shingles, signs of pest nests or damage that need professional inspection and other issues that may be causes for concern.

3. Clean Out Your Pantry (completely)

Even if you are planning on using the food in your pantry, empty it. Take everything out, and wipe down the entire pantry. Throw everything you don't need away and reorganize. Spring bugs and pests love discovering pantry food – or they might have been there all winter. It's time to clean up and make sure all pantry food is tightly sealed.

4. Clean All Your Furniture Fabric

Carefully vacuum every bit of fabric on your furniture, drapes and anything else inside your house. If you have any covers that can be removed, remove and wash them. Fabrics like these can pick up dander and dust mites over time, and April home to-dos are the perfect opportunity to clean them up.

5. Seed Your Lawn

Does your lawn have bare spots or areas where it's too sparse? Your home to-dos should include seeding to help reinvigorate your lawn. It's also a great opportunity to add soil and build up parts of your lawn that need a little help before you start seeding. Remember that warm-season grasses get an early start and will be eager to start growing, so get out there!

6. Start Important Garden Seeds

Your garden needs some love, too. Trim back any perennials or groundcovers that may have overgrown, and remove any piled-up mulch that's now getting in the way of planting and growth. Plant new herbs and vegetables, especially greens and root veggies or bulbs. You should also start more delicate plants – basil, tomatoes, etc. – indoors in preparation for moving them outside when the temperatures are milder.

7. Prune and Clean Up Your Trees/Shrubs

Cut back any dead growth and any limbs that touch or overhang your house. Also keep an eye out for bugs or mildew that could infest your trees and other large plants.

With these few simple steps, you can welcome the warmer weather knowing that your home has been prepared, inside and out!