One of the most rewarding ways to improve the curb appeal and beauty of your house is to add landscaping. Professional landscapers charge a hefty premium for their services, but it is quite possible to design and install your own landscaping without the help of professionals.
Designing Your Landscaping Plan
The key to successfully landscaping your house is to layout a landscaping plan before you begin work. The plan should represent the majority of your time and effort — don’t just buy plants and place them in your yard without a comprehensive plan. You will probably not be pleased with the results.
In order to begin your plan, think about the kind of landscaping that appeals to you. Do you like dense or sparse foliage? Lots of color or mostly green? Take a walk or drive around your neighborhood and look at the types of landscaping your neighbors have that you like. Try to figure out the features you know you want in your landscaping and the features you (just as importantly) do not want.
Once you have an idea of what you like, draw a landscaping map of your own yard. Start by sketching an outline of your yard on paper, and make notes of yard features like trees and buildings. Decide which parts of your yard you are going to landscape and then examine them in more detail. Make note of any specific areas you want covered up (ugly areas, utility boxes, drainage pipes, etc.). Lastly, categorize each area of landscaping with whether it is full sun, partial sun, or full shade. This will determine the types of plants that will thrive in your area. Also make note of any particularly damp or dry areas — damp areas will need water-loving plants, and dry areas will need dry-loving plants or regular watering.
Now that you have your basic landscaping map, you can begin to fill it in with types of plants. At this stage, you don’t need to know exactly what plants to put where. Right now, you are mostly considering types of plants: trees, shrubs, flowers, green plants, tall, short, etc. To decide what to put where, follow a few basic rules:
1. Taller plants in back, smaller plants in front.
2. To pull the eye toward an area, use contrasting plant types (tall next to short, flowers next to trees, color next to green).
3. To pull the eye away from an area, use the same plant type throughout.
Remember to pick out types of borders (stone, wood, brick) and filler (mulch or rock) to put in each space.
Picking Out Plants
With your landscaping map in hand, go to your local plant nursery and pick out plants that complement your landscaping plan. As you make your decisions, consider the following:
– Watch out for annuals; they will have to be replanted each year
– Ask the staff about the aggressiveness and hardiness of each plant to make sure it will thrive
– Ensure the plants you choose prefer the amount of sun in the place you intend to plant them
– Find out how much maintenance each plant will require (such as pruning).
Planting and Aftercare
Now that you’ve designed your landscaping map and picked out plants, the rest is easy. Build your borders according to your landscaping map and add the correct type of filler. Put the plants you’ve chosen in their correct areas, making sure to loosen the soil around them so the plants can root properly.
Once everything is planted, make sure to water your landscaping thoroughly each morning or evening for the first few weeks until your plants have taken root.
Lastly, enjoy your beautiful new landscaping and the amount of money you saved by doing it yourself!