Plan for Vacation Mowing
If you're going on vacation for more than a week, arrange to have your lawn mowed. The rule of thumb is to remove no more than 1/3 of the growth at each mowing. So, if the grass gets to be 6 inches tall while you're away, you'll want to mow it down to a height of 4 inches, then wait at least 5 days before mowing it again.
Plant Late-Blooming Perennials
Include some late-summer-blooming perennials, such as rudbeckia, sedum, helenium, eupatorium, Russian sage, and goldenrod cultivars, in your garden for an extended bloom season. Many annual flowers will continue blooming into fall with adequate fertilizer and frequent deadheading.
Remove Spent Flowers and Vegetables
Remove spent annual flowers and vegetable plants, compost them, and cover the bare patches with mulch to prevent weeds from taking over. Or, replace them with cool-loving flowers and vegetables. This will keep the garden looking tidy, and help you get a head start on fall cleanup.
Place orders for peony roots now, in anticipation of planting in September. You'll want to plant the roots about a month before the average first frost date in your area.
Prune hollies, boxwoods, and yews now, and they'll have time to develop sturdy new growth before the cold weather hits. If you wait too long, the tender new growth might be damaged by cold.