8 Landscaping Tips

by Jane VanOsdol on May 24, 2011

If your yard is about as far away from the latest cover of your favorite gardening magazine as it can get, don’t despair; you can change things for the better by following these tips.

First of all, you need to come up with a landscaping plan for your yard. If this seems overwhelming, tackle it bit by bit.

  1. Know your soil. You need to figure out what kind of soil you have so that you know what kind of plants you can grow. The three main types of soil are clay, loamy, and sandy. Loamy is the ideal because it is the perfect medium for growing many types of fruits and vegetables. However, both clay and sandy soils can be amended so that you can still have a successful garden. Compost will improve both of these soils. It will loosen the clay soil so that it drains properly, and it will help retain the moisture that would otherwise drain right through sandy soils. For a more in-depth analysis of your soil, contact your local Cooperative Extension Agency for testing.
  2. Are you sun or shade? Or both? Some plants thrive in shade, while others require sun, so you need to know what the conditions are in each area of the garden you will be planting; then research and purchase those plants that will thrive in those conditions. If you would rather not do all that leg work, contact a local landscaping service. They already know all this information and will be able to make recommendations for your yard.
  3. Enter the zone. Consult the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to know which zone you live in. The zones (1-11)are based on year-round temperatures and will help determine which types of plants will thrive in your area.
  4. Decide on annuals or perennials. Or a mixture of both. Perennials are convenient because, providing you’ve planted them correctly according to what zone you live in, they’ll grow back each year. Annuals complete their life cycle in one year, so you will need to replant them each year.
  5. Include your favorites and try out some new varieties. Be sure to plant your favorite flowers and then always try something new. That way you’ll inject some variety into your landscaping instead of having the exact same thing year after year.
  6. Include hardscaping. If you’re making any changes this year by adding or taking away patios, decks, and the like, be sure to include that in your overall plan.
  7. Add in your extras. Plan for any extras you’d like to include such as water features and bird feeders.
  8. Stick to your budget. As in anything else, landscaping can be an economical or a budget-busting home improvement. Figure out ahead of time what you want to spend and stick to it.

Once you’ve completed the work, you’re ready to figure out the details. Keep in mind that most landscaping services today have many options for using their services. You can have them do all the research, come up with the plan and do the work, or you can just have them draw up the plans while you do the work. Or you can do the whole thing yourself.

Choose the plan that works best for you, and before you know it, your yard will look like the one gracing the cover of your favorite magazine.

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