To prune or not to prune: That is the question. And here’s the answer! If you have huge, old shrubs that are blocking your windows, interrupting your view and keeping the sun from brightening your rooms, grab a pruning saw and pruning loppers, and cut back those bushes by about one-third of their size. You can be even more aggressive if you like, but I’ve found that the one-third guideline is good to begin with.

And remember: Shrubs that get too big for their britches can make even a big house look small. It’s not being snooty to want your house to look at least as large as it really is, and one way to do this is to control the size of your foundation shrubs. But instead of carving them up into nice, neat cubes, let them have a looser, more natural shape. They won’t need pruning nearly as often, and that means a lot less work for you!

When pruning, sterilize your tools before moving from one shrub to another, especially if any of them show signs of disease. Use my Tool Sterilizing Tonic made of 1 part rubbing alcohol or chlorine bleach to 9 parts water. Soak the tools for several minutes before wiping them dry and moving on.

For more timely tips about trimmin’ shrubs and a whole lot more, check out my Backyard Problem Solver book—FREE for 21 days! You’ll find super solutions that are guaranteed to turn an ordinary yard into a little piece of paradise.