The long, hot days of summer require you to treat your landscape with extra care. But with the right maintenance, your yard can look its best. Use these top five tips for a beautiful landscape in summer.

1. Let Grass Grow Higher

It can feel like your grass grows at a wild rate in the summertime. But it’s important to cut your grass high in the summer. Depending on the species of your grass, you can let it reach a height of around 4 inches. This will help the soil retain moisture and prevent the grass blades from over-exposure to the sun.

2. Water in the Early Morning

The next tip for a beautiful landscape in the summer is to water your plants and grass in the early morning. At this time of day, most of the water will soak into the soil and nourish the plants’ roots. At midday, much of the water evaporates. In the evening, leaves can stay wet for too long and create an environment ideal for unwanted fungal growth.

3. Apply Mulch

Another great tip for summertime landscaping is to apply mulch. Mulch helps the soil retain moisture by slowing down evaporation. Mulch also creates a protective barrier that lowers the soil’s temperature. And since mulch suppresses weeds, your plants won’t have to compete for water.

4. Avoid Pruning… Usually

Even trees that look lush and vibrant need protection in the summer. Pruning in the summer can lead to your tree not growing well next year, and the new growth can stress a tree in summer’s heat. Avoid pruning trees unless your tree has broken or hanging branches or if the tree poses a safety risk. If you have a sappy hardwood, you can consider pruning in the summer to avoid oozing sap that comes out in winter or early spring.

5. Deter Pests

While you appreciate beneficial species in your landscape, unwanted pests can make your time outdoors uncomfortable or even unsafe. You can include plants that deter insects, such as citronella, in your landscaping. And be sure to eliminate standing water on your property, including in clogged gutters.