The first thing your guests will see as they arrive at your home isn’t your front porch. No, it’s your landscaping.
While there are plenty beautiful parts of your home, they don’t necessarily make an impression like landscaping does. Sure, someone might lust over your marble countertops, but their first opinion is going to be formed when they pull into your driveway. Is your lawn cut? Do you have any bright flowers that welcome people inside? Consider your landscape a warm and welcoming hug. Without those arms open wide, people will probably pass right by.
With spring just around the corner, it’s more important than ever to make sure your landscaping is in tip-top shape. It’s time to prepare for shaking off the harsh winter months that might have taken a toll on your precious plants. Before you can even think about what you might want to do with your lawn for the spring, there are a few things you must do to make sure it’s ready for the season.
Prepping Your Lawn for Spring
Getting your lawn ready for spring is probably more important than how you plan to decorate. You can’t even begin to bring in new flowers or plants until the space has been cleared and treated. The entire country experienced some unseasonably cold weather this winter, so there’s a high chance that your landscaping suffered as well.
To make sure that everything is kosher before the spring, there are five steps you must take.
Clear Your Lawn
First, The Garden Continuum recommends getting all of the branches, leaves, and other debris out of there! Not only does a cluttered lawn look unattractive, but the junk can cause a lot of problems. Removing the clutter will help prevent mold and bacteria from growing. Even though it’s important for mold and other fungi to break down your lawn debris, you want to make sure that it is growing in your compost pile and NOT in your garden. Cleaning everything up is especially important if you neglected to do it in the fall or before the winter hit.
Keep Sharp Edges
Next, you need to make sure that you’re keeping up-to-speed with your garden’s edges. While stone or concrete edging looks nice, using an edging tool can help make sure your plants stay in a crisp and clean area. You may not have to do this right now, but it’s a good idea to start thinking about it. You only have to do this once a year, but getting a head start and doing it while you’re getting everything else in order is easy.
Stay on Top of Pruning
The next step is all about trimming your plants and other shrubbery. You’ll want to be on the lookout for broken, twisted, or bent branches. Those are the ones you should prune. It doesn’t matter what kind of plant this is happening to, if you notice a flaw, cut it. Plants typically heal faster from a clean cut than a twist or tear, anyway. If you don’t stay on top of your pruning, there’s a chance your plants could sustain even more damage. Keeping your plants safe and healthy is what pruning is all about! And don’t forget about your flower plants, either. Pruning your rose plants is just as important as pruning all of your other shrubs! Prepping for spring is the perfect time to do this.
At first, you should avoid pruning anything that looks brown and dead. Just because it looks that way doesn’t mean it is. Wait a while and see if the plant flowers. If it does, you’ll have saved a beautiful plant! If you prune it too early, you’re risking cutting something that could have been saved. Many plants have a tendency to trick people into thinking they’ve been killed, but most will come back to life when spring arrives. If nothing ever grows, feel free to then get rid of it.
Beware of Landscaping Problems
Unfortunately, all of your landscaping debris is perfect breeding ground for animals, bugs, and rodents. This not only causes issues for your yard, but also poses a problem for your home. Any critters living in your lawn may eventually make their way into your home because it’s a close place with consistent opening pathways. If you want to prevent rats, mice, and birds from entering your home, remove excess debris immediately.
Along with rats and mice entering your home, damages to the house due to the landscape are also major concerns. For example, it’s crucial that your lawn is graded downward at least six inches within the first 10 feet moving away from your foundation. Unfortunately, problems like these can cost a homeowner much more than they planned. For example, landscape flooding correction can cost a homeowner anywhere from $500 to $20,000.
Divide Your Plants
The last thing that you’ll need to do is work on dividing your plants if necessary. If there are any spaces in your landscape that seem a bit crowded, they’re going to be even more so once summer arrives. While this might seem like something you can put off, it’s best to take care of it during the early spring months before everything starts growing. Make a list of every plant you feel needs to be divided and mark the most urgent projects with a bright yard flag. This will make it easier to distinguish what you want to separate and what needs to stay the same.
Now that you’ve done all you needed to do to get your landscaping ready, it’s time to move on to the fun stuff.
Spring State of Mind: Planning Your Landscape
With all of that prep out of the way, it’s time to start creating your springtime yard. When doing this, Fresh Home says there are a few things you absolutely must keep in mind.
What you buy to put in your yard is actually pretty dependant on where you live. Not only should you figure out what kind of climate you live in, you should determine the average weather your yard sees. If your yard is constantly subjected to the sun, you’re going to want to get plants and other landscape pieces that are adaptable to the contact. Does your home see a lot of rain throughout the spring? Try planting a rain garden. A rain garden is cool because it can actually help prevent flooding in your lawn. The best part? It’s a simple fix! Simply designate a garden space in an area where there is a lot of runoff and plant everything in a bed with a three-to-six inch depression.
Another thing to consider is the bugs and animals that are in your area. These neighborhood critters, though helpful in some instances, can cause some serious damage to your landscaping. You’ve put so much work into the space! Why should the local wildlife get to destroy it? Once you’ve figured out what types of critters are local your neighborhood, you can think about ways to prevent any damage from happening. Consider installing wire fencing around your garden or other plants that naturally fend off intruders. About 90% of Americans say they prefer to live in a home surrounded by trees, grass, and other plants. With all that beautiful shrubbery surrounding your home, it’s important to take steps to protect it.
When thinking of plants that you want to include in your landscape, it’s important to consider longevity. In other words, make sure you’re planting for growth and for protection. These two things are extremely important for a homeowner to consider. Think about it — do you want to buy new plants, bushes, and trees every single year to replace the ones from the year before? When planning out your landscape, include pieces that will last you for a long time to come. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind the potential height and width of the plants you’re bringing in. This matters because you don’t want to place a tree that might grow 30 feet wide right next to your home. Eventually, that tree would start growing into your home and causing damage.
You also want to plant with protection in mind. Just like you have to consider the climate, you have to consider what the plants can do to protect you. For instance, a large tree can actually soak up and filter 36,500 gallons of water each year. Planting trees is a great way to help prevent potential flooding and damage to your home.
If you have absolutely no idea what you want to do with your landscape area, look for inspiration. Watch home and garden shows on TV, scour the internet for this year’s latest trends, and drive around your neighborhood. Some homes near you might have really cool designs to take inspiration from. They might even have functional elements you could incorporate. For instance, one home might have a pond in their yard to collect water and help prevent flooding. About 98% of homes in the United States will see water damage to their basements during their lifespan. A small retention pond is a great way to prevent that from happening, and it looks really cute in a yard.
Once you have an idea of what you want in your head, it’s time to plan. Get the dimensions of everything you plan on putting in your yard and draw a map. Measure your yard and figure how much space you’ll want to utilize. It’s a good idea to physically section off and mark areas where you’re planning additions. This will really help you visualize everything before you put it down permanently.
What to Know Before Taking on This Project
Landscaping can seem like a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. Since the plants you’re incorporating into your yard are living things, they’ll need a lot of care. You’re going to have to check on them frequently to make sure that they’re doing okay, water them consistently, and trim them as needed. Much like humans, plants need water and good to survive. Give them plenty of what they need, but be sure you aren’t overdoing it.
Cost Is a Factor
SFGate says that cost is a major concern for many when they plan to take on a landscaping project. It’s no secret that these major projects are going to cost a lot of money upfront. If you choose to do the work yourself, you might be saving money on the labor, but ultimately, if you break something, that’s going to cost you even more money in the long run. Regardless of project size it’s always best to hire a professional, even though it might seem costly. It’s just the best option to prevent anything from getting damaged or being installed improperly.
After the initial installation of the plants and landscape features, the cost doesn’t stop there. You’ll need to be prepared financially for a higher-than-normal water bill, fertilizer, sealants, chemicals, and other products that can help care for the space.
Even if the consistent work and money seem like a bad thing, it doesn’t have to all be bad. Taking the proper steps to incorporating the nature around your area can not only help to save money, but it also protects the environment. These natural plants require less maintenance, less care, and less money. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!
Don’t Let Money or Maintenance Stop You!
Money and time are two things everyone is short of sometimes. We often find ourselves thinking there aren’t enough hours in the day and there isn’t enough money in the world. But by putting your time and money to good use, the end result is well worth it.
It’s almost the spring, so it’s the perfect time to get outside and start caring for your home. Clean up your lawn, get rid of any leftover fall debris, and plant some new, eco-friendly plants. Spring is the best time of year to get all of these tasks completed.Start thinking about it now and you’ll set your yard on the path toward a full year of success.