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Landscaping for Beginners:

Tooling around the neighborhood and seeing all manner of landscaping that makes each house pop with uniqueness it’s hard not to get the itch to design. What you may not know is that landscaping adds value to your home too. Beyond the aesthetics, a good tree can add as much value as $1,000 to a home depending on where you live ‚ and that’s without adornment!

The hard part for beginners is knowing what to tackle and where to begin. One word of warning: once you start landscaping can become very addictive. So start out small and leave yourself plenty of room to grow as your expertise likewise grows. With that size restriction in mind, the most logical place to start landscaping is either an area of your yard that’s really drab and disappointing, or any area in the frontage that will improve visual appeal (the latter is most recommended if you‚re thinking of selling the home in the near future).

Once you‚ve picked out a starting point, ask yourself about color, texture and what you want to star in your landscaping show. Color might be the easiest choice ‚ look at what you feel will best accent your home, then seek out plants in those hues suited to your soil and the amount of sun and drainage in that location. Matching the colors of your home makes a more formal look, while choosing contrasting colors has a whimsical appeal and affords more playfulness in your effort.

Texture has to do with foliage and any man made structures you introduce into landscaping. Bamboo, for example, makes a natural fence and great backdrop (like a painter’s pallet for gardening) but it can easily take over a yard if not tended properly. Railroad ties offer rustic borders for landscaping, as does layered slate. So again, the textures you choose should somehow reflect your home’s personality.

Third is what you might call dramatic effect and theme. If, for example, you‚re adding oriental styled statuary or fixtures to your landscape, you‚ll want them placed in such a way that the visual impact feels‚ Asian, and shows off those special highlights. Lighting is one way to achieve this goal, as is stonework, mulch, and careful lawn care. But now you‚re talking about larger and more complex efforts too (which also take more time and money). When your imagination starts running wild, by all means take notes for the future, but then go back to rule one and focus on that one spot and your goals for that area.

Plot out the land with the plants you‚ve chosen on a piece of paper before sinking in a shovel. Definitely invest in landscaping fabric to deter weeds. Dig out holes for the greenery and simply set the plants in (still in their original containers) and step back. How does it look? Do you need to move things, change heights, tilt or adjust? When thinking about this be aware that the plants will fill out and grow, so there’s going to be some natural white space at first. In any case, now’s the time to make adjustments before you sink the vegetation in the ground more permanently. Taking this approach also saves your flora from having root shock from being moved too much too soon.

Finally step back and enjoy your handiwork. Don”t worry if its not perfect. You‚ll learn as you go, and can always tweak your design next season.


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