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Landscaping Your Yard

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The moving process doesn't end with unloading the moving truck or even getting all of your belongings unpacked in your new home. If you've moved into a house with a yard, there's still some work to be done outside of your home. There's a lot you can do to utilize the space around your house and to give it your own personal touch.

Decide how to use your yard

There are many different things you can do with your yard space. The beauty of buying a new home with a yard is that you can tailor your space to your needs. This also allows you to give your new home your own personalized look.
  • Deck or patio - Plan on having a lot of barbecues over the summer? Use some of your yard space for a deck or patio. There are many options available to you. For example, you can have a classic wooden deck with an awning or a screened-in patio.
  • Pool - A pool is a great way to escape from the summer heat. An in-ground pool is the most expensive but most durable option. Above-ground pools are cheaper and can be incorporated as part of your deck. Hot tubs are also a great option for soothing relaxation.
  • Garden - Gardens allow you to grow all sorts of things. You can grow flowers to keep in the garden, put in your house, or give as gifts to others. You can also plant your own vegetables. A vegetable garden is a great alternative to buying frozen or canned vegetables from the store.
  • Open space - You might want to leave some open space in your yard. Having some open space makes your yard very versatile. You can use it for sports, campouts, and even events like weddings.
  • Other ideas - There are countless options for your yard. Consider installing a fountain or buying lawn furniture, lawn sports equipment, or a hammock.
Clearly, the possibilities are endless, so having a plan of action before you start doing work will allow your yard development to go more smoothly. Here are some tips for creating your plan:
  • Create a blueprint - Make a sketch of your yard. Visualize what you want to do with each part of your yard, and then mark it on the blueprint. It's a good idea to take your blueprint out into your yard to get a better sense of where things should be.
  • Plants - If you want to have a garden, first research the plants you'd like to have. You can determine which plants grow best in the local environment and select those which you will be best able to care for. You should also decide if you want a flower garden, vegetable garden, or both.
  • Yard Accessories - Determine which types of accessories you want to have in your yard. For example, you might want to install a fountain, pool, or rock wall. Contact installation professionals for ideas and quotes, and then arrange for installation. You can also choose to do some of these projects yourself. If so, make sure you do some research so you know exactly what you're doing.
  • Landscaping - You may choose to hire landscapers to come and restructure your yard, plant trees or bushes, etc. Make sure you do extensive research to find the best price and to make sure that any work is within legal zoning restrictions. Also check with a building contractor to see if you'll need any building permits.
  • Budget - Make a budget for your yard projects. If there are things you can't afford to do right away, save that section of your yard for when you are ready.

Consider the season

When organizing your yard, you should think about what season you're in. Different types of grasses, as well as other plants, grow better in different seasons. For example, fescue and rye grass both grow best in the fall. If you have your heart set on certain types of plants, find out the best times to plant them. You may have to wait for the right season to roll around.

Fall is the best time to fertilize your grass. Grasses store fertilizer as carbohydrates and use it during the winter. Fertilizing your grass in the fall will better prepare it for growth once spring arrives. Spring is the best time for growth, so make sure your plants are planted and ready to go before spring begins. You'll want to take full advantage of the spring months for developing your yard and garden.

Maintenance

Now that your yard is set up just how you want it, you'll want to keep it that way. Regular maintenance is very important for a good quality landscape.
  • Weeds - Weeds grow up around your plants and grass and choke them by soaking up all the nutrients in the ground. You should check for weeds often and get rid of them as soon as you can. There are many different chemical weed killers available, but often the best option is to pull them out by hand. Make sure you get the roots out so they don't grow back.
  • Pruning and lawn mowing - Many plants require periodic pruning. This prevents them from growing out of control. In the same way, you'll want to trim your grass every week or so. Grass grows quickly and doesn't look as nice when it's long and unruly.
  • Fertilizer - Fertilizing your plants regularly will keep them fresh and looking nice.
  • Pool and fountain maintenance - Pools and fountains need to be cleaned regularly and often need chemical treatments to keep the water free of algae and bacteria.
If you don't feel like doing maintenance yourself, you can hire landscapers or other professionals to take care of it for you. Most landscapers bring their own tools, fertilizer, etc. This can save you a lot of hassle, but IT is a much more expensive option than caring for your landscape on your own.

Sean McClain  Posted by Sean McClain on August 27, 2009

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