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10 Tips for Picture Perfect Landscaping

Perfect landscaping.

 

If landscaping was as easy as snapping your fingers, everyone would have a yard worthy of the glossiest of magazine covers. However, it’s not that easy. The good news is that it’s not that hard either. We’ve compiled 10 simple steps for a picture-perfect landscape.

Keep It Super Simple

This is especially true if you’re a beginner as the temptation to “go wild” is very strong. Instead:

  • Choose to plant smaller flower beds with pathways (hardscape, bark or decomposed granite), seating areas, synthetic turf or drought tolerant grass in between.
  • Plant flowers and hedges that don’t need much pruning. Evergreens are much easier to tend than deciduous shrubs.
  • Plant a container garden with decorative clay pots. You’ll have portable flowers and herbs with the extra design element of the pots.
  • Use stone blocks to build a fire pit.

Just a Little Off the Top when Mowing

Cut your grass to about 2″ – 3″ tall (usually the highest setting on push mowers) for a healthier lawn. If you take off more than a third of the grass’ height, it results in stunted root systems and less moisture. Plus, you’ll get more weeds if your grass is too short to overshadow them.

Whack the Weeds

Once you see a weed, grab your organic weed killer and do the deed. Make sure to get the root systems or new ones will grow. If you have barren spots in your lawn, apply organic fertilizer to get the grass growing. Weeds love barren spots.

Change is Good

If your current landscape is overgrown or rough-looking, don’t feel bad about tearing it out and putting in a new one. Never settle.

Measure Twice, Plant Once

Don’t just start digging and planting. Map out your landscape design with twine, chalk spray or even your garden hose. Grab a pen and paper and draw up your ideas. You’ll end up with a more appealing design.

Look to the Future

What will your landscape look like when done? Keep that big picture in mind as you plan and plant. For example:

  • Don’t toss a flower here and a shrub there randomly.
  • Split different sections of your landscape with cylinder blocks filled with plants like roses. Ornamental grasses add texture, different colored flowers create borderlines. Plants of different heights work well, too.
  • Create focal points with color. This is an easy way of highlighting your entryway or sitting area.
  • Add some edibles to your design for fresh snacks to harvest.
  • Make a path through your landscape with pavers, masonry blocks or broken pieces of stone.

Location is Key

You’ll have the most success if you choose plants that are right for your climate. Always follow the directions on the plant tags regarding water & light preferences, feeding, height, etc. Space your plants about 1′ – 3′ apart to avoid overcrowding.

 

Think Small

We’re talking about plant sizes. Don’t forget to consider height when you’re planning your landscape. Remember that taller plants will overshadow their smaller neighbors, which will stunt their growth. If you have shade-loving plants, face them to the north. Taller plants are good for areas closer to your home, with their shorter neighbors in front of them. Just don’t plant the taller ones in front of windows! You’ll end up relocating them.

Foundationally Speaking

Avoid planting trees near your home’s foundation. That tiny transplant could grow to have roots that are almost three times the tree’s height. This can cause damage to your foundation that requires expensive repairs. A good rule is:

  • Plant small trees no closer to your home than 15′, and
  • Plant medium or large trees no closer than 30′ – 50′.

Avoid Shocking Surprises

Always check with your local utility company for service locations before planting, especially trees. Roots can cause dangerous damage to underground pipes and lines, such as gas, phone, cable and electricity.

Follow these 10 simple steps and you’ll have a picture-perfect landscape!

 

16 Comments

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  1. My husband and I have a goal to improve the look of our backyard because our son is planning to have his wedding reception in our backyard in about three months! We want to make the landscaping as great as possible, and I appreciate that you say we should plant flowers that don’t require a lot of pruning. Also, I think it is a good idea for us to get the best landscaping supplies so that our plants have the best chance of looking great.

    • Congratulations to your son! It is sure to be a beautiful reception, and we are so happy you found this to be helpful. Flowers with less pruning means more time to focus on all the other aspects, as we are sure you have lots to plan and prep for this kind of event. Definitely a great idea to make sure you have the proper tools to handle the job, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or get advice from local nurseries or landscapers!

  2. I didn’t know that your grass should be 2″-3″ tall but I’ll have to try that this summer. Last year, I cut my grass way too short. This year I’ll make sure to do it right.

  3. As you mentioned, it is a good idea to plant flowers and hedges that don’t need much pruning. In doing this, you won’t have to spend as much time doing the upkeep. We just moved into a home that currently doesn’t have any landscaping. I will have to keep these tips in mind as we get the ball rolling on landscaping.

  4. Thank you for reminding me that I should start with something simple and plant flowers and hedges that require easy maintenance in order not to overdo it as a beginner in landscaping. We have a spacious front lawn and since I don’t do much now that we’re in quarantine, I want to focus my energy on something productive. It might be a good idea to have some lawn care treatment first and start from there.

  5. Thank you so much for pointing out that there should be a plan for where plants go; they should not just be placed randomly. About a month ago, I moved into a new home that doesn’t have much of a yard: just dirt. I want a beautiful, luxurious backyard where I can unwind after a long day. Unfortunately, I am too busy to do it myself. I will have to look into landscaping services that can follow your tips and get me something incredible.

    • Hi Greta, we are so glad our tips are going to be helping you create a beautiful and luxurious backyard. We wish you the best in your search for landscaping services. Let us know how it turns out in the future!

  6. All great tips. Lots of awesome info. Height of the plants is sometimes not thought of until the last moment, and this can cause issues with the flower bed. Especially planting taller plants by the window! Thanks for the article!

  7. As a professional landscaper, I totally agree with you and I’m glad you pointed out that one of the great tips for homeowners is to measure the landscape area so it will not result in either overcrowding or the plants are insufficient. Just to share, my nickname for shade loving plants are “north face plants” to serve as a reminder for all homeowners on where to place it in case they decide to add more plants.

  8. My best friend has been wanting to improve her garden’s landscape because she will be selling her home soon, and she believes that this could help increase its value. I’m glad you shared this; I’ll make sure to remind her about the importance of panting flowers that won’t require much pruning. I also like your idea of planting plants on decorative and beautiful clay pots.

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