It is time for Spring to come a-knocking on your doorstep. After a typically harsh Winter season, Spring brings a new feeling of freshness and activity. That would mean the arrival of bright flower blossoms, new shoots of green leaves, and cool spring breeze.
It is the perfect time to have outdoor gatherings like tea parties, barbecues, spring weddings, and most importantly, Easter egg hunts. However, for these gatherings, your lawn or garden needs a complete renovation. From clearing up frosted soil to trimming the grass and planting new saplings, it can prove to be quite a large chore.
Nevertheless, rest assured! Lawn designing and landscape gardening becomes easy and manageable with this simple guide to tending them. So dust the cobwebs off your gardening tools and land mowers, for Spring is calling!
Steps to Landscape Your Garden
Soil is as important and integral to a garden as water and food is to us. The grass, the plants, and the trees get their nutrients from the sand and soil around them, allowing them to grow healthy and green. Therefore, it is essential to know which soil is best for your greens.
Different plants need different soils depending on the drainage, moisture content and nutrition they require. You can categorize your plants according to their soil requirements and design your lawn that way. Organic compost derived from pine bark, peat moss, dried mushrooms and fungi or leaf molds add natural fertility to your soil.
Lay out your landscaping plans, especially hardscapes like pavements and tree surrounds, before you start planting your saplings. Is it very convenient to start landscaping if you have a general idea of the extent of your lawn, where your pathways are going to be, garage or shed space, seating areas like patios or fire pits, and so on.
Keep a small corner of your lawn available for future upgrades like a swing, playhouse, gazebo or a water feature. This can help avoid last minute changes, unsatisfactory designs and unexpected flaws in your garden. After all, it is better to make changes beforehand, than installing anything permanent and then having to remove it.
- Using Leaf Blowers and Lawn Mowers
Leaf blowers and manual rakes are your best friends when you have a lot of foliage around your garden. Raking or blowing away fallen autumn leaves will prevent rotting of the grass cover in winter. Leaf blowers also help with blowing away frost, light snow, and cobwebs. Remember not to use the leaf blower on freshly applied pesticides and insecticides, gravel, and loose soil to avoid toxic dust clouds.
Lawn mowers provide a simple technique to trim your turf to perfection. However, excessive use of it will make your lawn have bald and patchy grass work. This gives space for weeds to grow and germinate quickly. For a lush grass cover, never mow the grass blade more than a third of its length.
- Variety in Vegetation
The best way to landscape your garden is to introduce a variety of plants and trees. Choosing a varying range of saplings that bloom in different seasons will keep your garden perennially floral. Experimenting with colors will increase the appeal of your shrubbery.
For example, purple, blue and green roses will make your garden look unique. Introducing Rozanne geranium, which blooms from June to October, will add color when spring plants cannot. Planting native species of plants is an amazing idea if you consider going for low maintenance shrubbery.
- Garden Decor
Decorating your garden can increase its personalized charm and convenience. You can mark a path by installing a pavement using slate, crushed concrete, pebbles or bricks. Patios and benches can provide a nice seating arrangement in the nature’s lap.
Landscape LED lighting can illuminate the pathways and highlight the important points of your garden. If you choose organic illumination instead, using solar fairy lights will certainly transform your garden into a quaint fantasy-land, perfect for parties and gatherings.
Set up a water body in your lawn to bring a realistic and natural look to the landscape. A fountain will flatter the proportions of your lawn if fixed in its centre. An empty looking corner can be utilized for a waterfall or a duck pond.
Most estate agents will suggest you to maintain and upkeep your lawns for a better curb appeal. How attractive the exterior of your house looks, and how it can lure in potential buyers is known as curb appeal of an estate. Landscape gardening is one of the ways to increase your property’s curb appeal, and eventually its resale price by around 5-10%. Thus, lawn and garden landscaping can prove to be a worthy investment if you ever decide to put your property up for resale.
Some Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Garden
- Plant either lemongrass or lavender within 6-8 ft of your house. They have a soothing aroma that is carried indoors with a fresh breeze. Their medicinal properties also act as insecticides and keep bugs and mosquitoes away.
- Fertilize grass in fall or just before colder months. However, large plants should be fertilized in warmer months like springs. Fertilizing larger plants in winter or before it can damage young saplings. Lining your garden beds with mulch can keep the soil fertilized naturally and prevent any growth of weeds.
- Use pots for small plants and place them around your porch. To control drainage of the soil, line the bottoms of pots with coffee filters or paper tissues before filling them up with soil. This will keep the soil moist, yet well aerated for proper root development.
- Avoid yellowing of grass and formation of yellow patches on your lawn. Nitrogen is the biggest culprit that causes yellowing of grass blades by “burning”. Fresh fertilizer and animal (pet) urine can create concentrated pools of nitrogen. Thus, dilute its effect by dousing it with watering the area liberally.
- You can create variation in the grasses of your lawn. To avoid constant mowing, blend “no-mow” varieties of grass like clover with your regular grass. Replacing small patches of grass with edible ground cover like herbs will add a soothing aroma to the air whenever you lounge around your lawn. Wintergreen, sage and thyme are good options for this. Make sure you place them in a place of least trampling.
- Create curved edges around flowerbeds for an organic and fluid design. Using flagstones, slate tiles and crushed rock can make your landscaping look natural. Plastic edging is not recommended as it gives the garden a cheap look. Constant exposure to heat and sunlight will also deteriorate its quality.
- Watering your plants might seem a task that can be done with eyes closed, but don’t let it fool you. Different plants have different moisture requirements, so make sure you place plants with similar hydration in clusters. Water the plants near the soil and not their tops. The best balance between moisture retentions and evaporation can be achieved if the lawn is watered by 9 am.
- Weeds create havoc for all its neighboring plants by hogging all the moisture and nutrients from the soil. Some plants creep around the foundation of your house and might overgrow than previously anticipated. Their root system can cause serious damage to the property, so uprooting them is the only best way to curb their wild growth.
- Using crushed stones and small pebbles in flowerbeds has proven to be a very convenient xeriscaping technique. Pea stones and pebbles come in varying size and colors. Although replacing them is not necessary, you can keep changing the sizes and colors to match the aesthetic of the seasons. It also helps with prevention of weed growth and allows a natural ecosystem to thrive in your backyard.
Inspirational Designs and Ideas
We had a look at the basics of lawn and garden landscaping above. You can go freestyle with your garden design depending on your budget and available space. We have listed a few designs and idea you can take inspiration from. Give them a quick glance:
- Frame Your Lawn
Creating a frame with trimmed bushes around your lawn can make your garden look absolutely majestic. Boxwood hedges are the most popular way to frame your lawn area, whether they have round or squared edges. These hedges can snake around your pavements and make them look attractive. Designing mazes with high hedges can be a challenge for time and efforts, but not impossible at all.
If you do not mind having abstract designs for your hedges, you can choose a zigzag design with flowering saplings planted into the pockets of the hedges. Lining the hedges with bright flowers like marigold can give a fresh look to your lawn. You can use lavender, lilac and azalea shrubs or ornamental grasses for your hedge. Keeping them well trimmed will certainly add beauty and color to your lawn.
- Contour Your Landscape
There is not much experimentation you can do when you have a flat lawn. You can add relief – some ups and downs – to your lawn. This can be an exceptional feat for your lawn, especially if your house has hills around.
A gentle sloping berg or mound covered with sods or grass can look refreshing amongst neighboring flat lawns. Since its gently sloping, it can be easily mowed with en electric lawn mower. Kids and pets might find it fun to run and jump around on your contoured lawn.
- Tread New Pathways
When you tend to a lawn all year round, you simply cannot have people trample over your beautifully maintained grass. Hence, it is necessary to have a pathway directing people around your lawn without causing any damage to your grass and shrubbery. The pathway should lead you around your lawn and connect you to the decks and patios, while giving you the illusion of adventure and mystery every time you walk over it.
You can construct affordable pavements, temporary or permanent, using simple resources like leftover flagstones, pebbles, concrete tiles or wooden planks. You can grow thyme and clover between disjointed tiles to give it an ancient feel. Illuminating your pavements will make them look otherworldly. You can even go for a themed look, like The Yellow Brick Road from The Wizard of Oz.
- Step Along the Stairs
When you add contours and relief to your lawn, it is essential to make the higher ground accessible through stairs. Steps can prove to be convenient as well as contributive to the improvement of your landscape’s appearance. They complement the bohemian look brought in by the pathways in your garden.
You can use stone or concrete blocks, clay bricks, rock fragments, slate and limestone tiles as your literal stepping stones. Raising your patios and decks to a small height, and making them approachable with stairs can make the entire setting look charming and royal. Lining the sides of your steps with floral plants will make them look pretty and non-tiring.
- Gather Around
Your backyard or lawn can be an exceptional party and gathering venue for your family and friends. A summer tea party, barbecue, outdoor wine-and-dine, you name it. You can create a cozy little nook or a picnic corner in your garden, with benches or tables and chairs.
Putting a foundation of flagstones or slate tiles will make the deck area sturdy and convenient to maneuver furniture around. Decorate it with pebbles and lights, with a fire pit in the centre. It can certainly be a great place to gather around the bonfire with friends and family over food and drinks on a chilly night.
Gazebos have been very popular since medieval times, mostly used for weddings and parties in the mansion lawns. You can bring about that dramatic period atmosphere by installing one in your own lawn. It will look unique in combination with your thematic European gardens.
You can also create a dining area with a barbecue grills or countryside oven in your garden. A patio set up on a wooden platform can be your place of solitude and relaxation. Lounging around on a summer morning or evening, while feeling the breeze play around, will be an amazing way to unwind.
- Light `em Up
A wonderfully designed landscape garden needs to be admired in all its glory, not just in daylight, but also at night. Gardens can look brilliant and romantic under bright moonlight, but adding your own illumination can make your backyard look straight out of a fantasy book. Lights can highlight your pavements, hedges, trees, and deck areas like patios and fire pits.
You can use solar powered rope lights at regular interval around your pathways. You can hang lamps and stringed bulbs around your decks and patios. Mason jars have been quite a trendsetter when it comes to outdoor lighting, so you can definitely try it for a cheaper approach. LED bulbs provide bright white lighting for your lawns, and can illuminate your backyard as any other room in your house.
- Stump Out Three Stumps
Sometimes you lose an old tree from the backyard to a storm or a disease. This tree does not flourish or grow anymore; it just sits there, looking dead and dried up. In such cases, it is impossible to get rid of the trees by uprooting them, especially if they have a wide girth, leaving you with an awkward stump in the middle of your lawn.
However, you can disguise these stumps by converting them into something different. You can carve it to make a seat in the centre of your lawn, a piece of art, a fire pit, or a tiny tree house. You can incorporate it into your plans for a water feature or a planter too. There can be no better way to honor a tree after it is gone.
- Entwine Your Vines
One of the best ways to make your lawns look more approachable and naturally decorative is to introduce creepers and climbers to your collection of garden greens. Vines grow vigorously around any rigid support; they love being entangled around wood, stone, vinyl and metal. Their intricate growth pattern makes it a long term landscaping idea with periodic maintenance.
Vines can improve the artificial façade of solitary structures in your backyard like pergolas, arbors, trellises, privacy screens and lattices, or permanent fixtures like gazebos, fences, archways and gates. Raising vines around these structures can form thick green canopies with occasional floral bursts of colors. These canopies can provide a cool shade under a harsh summer sun.
- Let It Flow
Most natural spaces like woods and forests are known to have water bodies like rivers and lakes. Hence, it makes sense to have your own flowing water feature in your garden or lawn. You can construct fountains, waterfalls, duck ponds and streams around your lawn, and keep the water flowing with pumps and filters.
The presence and the gurgling sound of water soothe your mind and relieve stress. Birds and small animals gravitate towards such water sources, especially a birdbath, making your garden look like a land out of time. Building a small bridge over stream and raising vines around it, can make your lawn look beautiful and magical.
- Accessorize Your Lawn
Although you might think of making your landscape garden look natural, it is also essential to make it look like a part of your house. The best way to do this is to introduce small accessories around your garden. Flowerpots can make the space look earthen and colorful.
If you think potted floras look mundane, you can go for an abstract twist like the one shown in the picture. It is a pot of bright flowers spilling around your flowerbeds. Garden gnomes and statues can add a wonderful look to your backyard.
Now that you know the way to get around the concept of landscaping, it will not be difficult to undertake the task of your garden’s makeover. There are certainly a lot of inspirational ideas you can integrate in your lawn. Let us know which ideas inspired you the most, and share your landscaping experience too!
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