Secrets to Creating a Beautiful Front Yard
We all take notice of homes with an amazing front yard – we judge a book by its cover, so to speak. If you want the prettiest yard on your block, it requires a little sweat equity, getting your hands dirty, and some insider knowledge on how to pull it off.
What do people with amazing front yards do that you don’t? Here are a few tricks that will bring your landscaping dreams to fruition:
Figure out exactly how much sun and shade the area you are working on will receive through the spring and summer months. This will help determine which types of plants will flourish. Then map out your yard on paper, marking the areas where different plants and shrubs will go. Keep in mind plant height, color, and bloom cycle so there is always something in bloom.
When you go shopping at the local garden center, inquire about any specific conditions (soil, light, and water amounts) the plants you are selecting will need, and research different plants’ needs and limitations before you buy them. This will save you a lot of time and effort trying to give your garden everything it needs and still falling short in meeting your plants’ demands.
For areas of your yard that have a slope, rock gardens guard against erosion and anchor your plants. Choose randomly-sized rocks across the sloped area and dig holes that are slightly larger than each rock so that they are “planted” in the ground. Then you can fill in the gaps with mulch, alpine plants, grasses, or other flora.
If you need to spread topsoil over a large area, a single cubic yard of topsoil weighs more than a ton. So, it may be wise to have this material delivered. You should also know how much you will need. For reference, one cubic yard of mulch or topsoil spread two inches deep covers about 120 square feet (or about 80 square feet at a depth of three inches). Flower beds require four to five inches of mulch, while mulching around bushes and trees needs to be between three and four inches in depth.
Weed your beds and water any plants before spreading mulch. Make certain there are no parts of old weeds or sod left in your soil because these can grow back. Don’t mulch too early in the spring; your soil may not be warm enough, and the mulch will keep the ground cool.
Often, the most beautiful part of your outdoor landscaping can be the colorful, thriving bed of flowers surrounding your home. Space your plants according to your design plan, keeping in mind if the plant will spread out as it grows.
Water right after planting and then according to each plant’s needs. If the needs of your plants vary, it may be wise to label the design you mapped out beforehand with how often each type of flower needs watering.
Lawns need care too. Aerate spots where you can’t push a screwdriver 6” into the soil, where water pools, where grass looks thin, or where there is heavy traffic. If you need to fertilize (speak to a garden professional about your soil type), use natural fertilizers or slow-release fertilizers, such as sulfur- or polymer-coated urea. These products release nutrients slowly over a longer period, allowing the grass to absorb nutrients more efficiently.
Finally, mow your lawn once per week, allowing the grass clippings to remain to naturally fertilize the soil. This will be the finishing touch to a beautiful front yard your neighbors will envy.
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