Prepare Your NJ Lawn and Landscape for Holiday Decorations and Lights

It’s that time of year again when you determine how much effort you want to put into decorating your lawn and landscaping for the winter holidays. Your decorating can mean some winter-themed plants or a full-blown light display. Do you want to add some potted plants or live wreaths to your outdoor decorations this year? What about those tasteful icicle lights hanging around your porch? Would you rather go all out and decorate your 50-foot oak tree with 10 million lights? No matter what plan you have, you need to winterize your lawn and landscaping ahead of decorating your New Jersey lawn in December.

lawn and landscapeClean and Clear

By the time Thanksgiving comes around, most of the leaves in your trees should be on the ground.

How to Eliminate the Leaves

Collect the leaves, either by mowing them into fine particles with a mulching mower or raking/blowing them into large piles. Turn these leaves into mulch for your spring garden or take them to your nearest yard waste recycling center. Make sure to get any leaves that landed in your landscaping shrubbery and in your gutters. Use this time to change out any harvest decorations as well. That means hay bales, pumpkins, squash, scarecrows and inflatable turkeys.

Winterize Perennials

Perennials lay dormant in the winter so they can survive and bloom every spring. Take a few steps to ensure your perennials come back next year.


Cut back any dry stems after the first frost. This removes any possible pest eggs that may hatch in the spring or diseases that may lay dormant. Plus, this creates room for the strong stems with seeds to bloom and blossom even better for a higher yield.


Compost any dead plant matter into organic compost and soil conditioner. Active piles of compost kill diseases and weeds, whereas dormant compost doesn’t. Remove any diseased or blighted plant material before composting. Otherwise, you may have a problem in the spring when the disease invades your garden.


Disinfect evergreen plants by removing diseased limbs and throwing this material in the trash. Do the same with regards to any old mulch that is rotting.

Add Mulch

A six-inch layer of organic material, added as mulch to the top layer of soil, does a few things. It insulates your plants’ root systems from harsh winter temperatures. It also serves as an anti-rodent barrier. Prevent mice, gophers, chipmunks and rabbits from getting into your soil with this mulch. Pine needles mixed with chopped leaves, or all of that material you gathered by raking/blowing your yard, make a great winter bed of mulch.

Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting spruces up an outdoor space instantly. Keep projects basic in colder months.

Pathways and Entrances

Before you string up any holiday lights, add some strategic landscape lighting along pathways so your house guests can see where they are walking. Keep in mind it gets dark close to 5 p.m. in December, so having dinner guests over after work on a weekday or a Saturday night means it will probably be dark when everyone arrives.

Simple Additions

Landscape lighting is a tasteful addition to your outdoor space, and it’s not hard to add. Consider solar, low-voltage or battery-powered LEDs that brighten a space efficiently. You want to add any simple landscape lighting before the ground becomes too hard to penetrate with a shovel or trowel.

Holiday Lights

Once you get your landscape lighting in place, plan your holiday light display. Know how many strings of lights you need, the effort you have to put into it, and the amount your electric bill goes up when you turn on the lights. The possibilities are endless, including inflatables, icicle lights, string lights, runners and so much more. Make sure you take down your inflatables after Christmas is over, otherwise your lawn may show bare spots once the grass starts growing in late March or early April.

Live Decorations

Live decorations are a great way to make your porch, yard and garden look great every December.

Holly Bushes

Place some potted holly bushes in strategic areas. By the time winter rolls around, these plants should have plenty of red berries amid the green, pointy leaves. A porch that receives some sun at some time of day is a great choice for some holly plants.


Live wreaths also add an extra dimension to your outdoor space. Your front door is the most obvious choice for a wreath, but also consider your garage door, the aforementioned large oak tree, and posts on your front porch as ways to add tasteful greenery.

Just because the weather outside is frightful, it doesn’t mean your yard and garden has to suffer in dormancy. Take a weekend or two and decorate your yard for winter no matter what style you favor.

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