The first order of business is using a good sharp pruner. I love my Fleco #2 and always sharpen it before the start of the season with my trusty AccuSharp tool.
I've got lots of tall grasses that benefit from cutting back this time of the year. I like to leave them in the garden all winter. They are beautiful and will provide seeds for the birds and habitat for beneficial insects. Chopping them down to about 12 inches will rejuvenate them as spring arrives.
Lots of flowering kale left out in the garden which bloomed past December, but it finally succumbed to near-zero temperatures.
The perennial bed was left with lots of woody stems left for the birds, now they have to go. Well, they don't have to, but it gives me something to do in the garden.
Usually when things are brown that means dead, but in the case of some spring and summer bloomers that's not true. NEVER cut back hydrangeas until you're absolutely sure the stem is done (late May early June). Those little buds on the tips might just bloom. Just about everything is fair game.With warmer days, there's lots of winter clean-up to be done and it's fun before we're thrown into the craziness of spring.