1.) pruning - mid-february thru 1st week of April is the ideal time to
get those trees and overgrown shrubs into shape and a more manageable size.
2.) shearing- not recommended on every plant! Some plants like physocarpus seem to thrive on hard shearing, as do spirea. Do not prune or shear spring blooming plants as you will cut off all the blooms that were set the previous year.
3.) Light cleaning- what I mean by this: some perennials are still tender and suseptible to frost when they peak out of the ground. So by leaving some of last years dead growth and leaves on top of them yet will help the tender new growth have a chance to harden off before they get burnt by frost.
4.) Turning mulch- take a rake or hoe and break up that top crust mulch gets from sitting. This will in turn allow water and nutrients to get into the soil.
These are just a few tips to get you started and make the flowers beautiful this year!