Do-It-Yourself Tips for a Beautiful Landscape

DIY landscapes are the pride and joy of hardworking homeowners. Because so much care goes into the landscape design, homeowners are intent on creating the perfect yard that delights their senses and impresses anyone who graces its presence.

Some DIY landscape designers are complete novices while others have a “green thumb” and are ready to go with bells on. Regardless of the experience, homeowners who use their own blood, sweat, and tears are dedicated to beautifying their landscapes and applying the effort required to fulfill their dream of a landscape design.

Here are some DIY tips to help you turn your landscaping dreams into a reality:

Seasonal Interest

Novice landscape designers easily forget about catering to the four seasons with their foliage. If you want to create a year-round masterpiece, use plants that will last in the cold months of the fall. The spring and summer will do well with flowering plants, while structural elements are perfect for the winter.

Don’t forget about Annuals

Perennial flowers are often the material of choice because they come in so many beautiful shapes, styles and sizes. Unfortunately, perennials only bloom for specified periods of times. If you don’t fill your garden with annuals that bloom all year round you will have empty spaces in your garden. Consider annuals to fill in the spaces when your perennials are not blooming.

More than Flowers

DIY landscapers are so enthusiastic about flowers and plants, they forget about the additional elements that pull a landscape together. Hardscape features provide the majority of the beauty of the winter landscape and offer a stunning backdrop for your spring and summer blooms. Consider fences, patios and decks along with arbors and other hardscape features that can connect your indoor environment with your outdoor space and frame your yard beautifully.

Maintenance

DIY landscapers are concerned with the maintenance of their yard. They do not want to hire a professional but sometimes the maintenance is more than they bargained for. Before you break out the hefty equipment, research low-maintenance flowers, plants and features that will still beautify your yard, but not require countless hours to maintain.

Water Features

Along with hardscapes, water features add intrigue and interest to every landscape. Water features serve as focal points and offer a “zen-like” aura, creating a relaxing vibe and overall calm feeling. Water features are not difficult to install. If you are a novice, start with a small fountain and work up to a waterfall when you feel confident. Consult a professional if you need the assistance.

Flower Planning

Prepare for the scorching summer sun by using drought-tolerant plants. The worse experience for a DIY landscaper is to plant beautiful flowers in the spring only to see them sun-scorched in the summer.

Also, take notice of the space where you plant the flowers. Each area will have its own soil and light requirements. Pay close attention to the external elements of your yard and which areas receive the most light. Choose your flowers accordingly.

Ready to take on your beautifying yard project? The completed landscape is a DIY landscaper’s dream come true. All the hard work and effort will be worth it every time you step outside into your backyard oasis.

 

Dealing With Wildlife in Your Landscape

If you’re the proud owner of a well-landscaped home in the country, then you know all too well the frustrations of garden wildlife. Nothing is more discouraging than planting a beautiful bed of petunias only to wake up one morning to find them nibbled to death.

Destruction of property isn’t the only damage that unwelcome wildlife in your landscape can cause. When wild animals sneak into your yard, they can also carry diseases and deliver germ-laden ticks and fleas right to your front door. Your yard is a prime target for wild animals since it has all the good stuff they love – water, plenty of food, and shelter on a cold, rainy night. Following a few simple guidelines can keep wildlife from becoming a problem in your yard before you encounter any surprise guests.

Physical Wildlife Barriers

For country homes, the biggest wildlife concerns are generally deer, raccoons, and rabbits. A simple, sturdy physical barrier can get the job done in a weekend. Many people opt to add a high fence to their yard and have enjoyed great success with this method.

Surround the entire perimeter of your yard with fencing material and ensure there are no openings or visible holes during installation. You can use a range of materials for perimeter fencing – chain link, plastic mesh, wire, or wood are all great options. If you opt for wood, select a pre-treated style that can withstand moisture efficiently. You can also utilize the existing trees in your yard as natural posts for your fence to add character to your landscaping and save money in the process.

Other Ways to Fight Landscape Intruders

Pesticides are another method for fighting wildlife in your yard. If you choose to go this route, buy products specifically designated as “animal repellants” and don’t use random household items such as mothballs in your yard. This could potentially pollute or kill your plants, and if you have edibles in your yard, you could possibly become sick from consuming them as well.

In addition, if it’s unusually hot and dry outside, consider keeping water dishes and fountains to a minimum. A scarce water supply attracts pests, so don’t leave standing water anywhere in your yard. If you have a birdbath, however, place it high above the ground. Birdseed from feeders is a prime target for wild creatures, so store your seed inside your home or garage and check often for stray birdseed on the ground below your feeder.

Garbage is another biggie. In woodsy areas, this not only attracts deer and raccoons – bears could come sniffing around your home, too. To combat this, keep your garbage in a tightly sealed container that wild animals cannot knock over or easily open. Store it in an out-of-reach area close to your home.

These rules are easy to implement. If you prepare your yard and work these suggestions into your daily routine, you will get your wildlife problem under control and begin to enjoy your yard more fully.

Basics of Outdoor Landscape Lighting: The First Steps

If you spent good money on some killer landscaping for your yard, but the streetlight situation in your neighborhood leaves something to be desired, don’t fret. Outdoor landscape lighting is a wonderful way to brighten up your yard and enhance your property’s visual appeal long after the sun goes down.

However, before you dive in blindly and buy lighting fixtures, learn the ropes of outdoor lighting for your landscaping. The two basic types of landscape lighting are fixtures that rely on electricity and those that depend on the sun.

Low-Voltage Landscape Lighting

When you opt for outdoor landscape lighting that relies on electricity for its power, choose a low-voltage option. Low-voltage landscape lighting is safer than its powerful high-voltage counterparts, and is much simpler to install. You will also enjoy a much lower power bill.

Low-voltage landscape lighting is a fantastic way to light up a hidden garden path or showcase trees and shrubs in your front yard at dusk. The dim lighting is a hauntingly beautiful way to display the best your lawn has to offer, and it provides enough light to create great ambiance for an outdoor party or cookout. You can also use the fixtures to light a sidewalk to “up” the safe navigation factor during the nighttime hours.

A system of low-voltage lighting requires a few inexpensive items for installation: a transformer to supply power for your lights, cords, and the light fixtures themselves. The transformer will protect against electric shock if something severs a wire. Typically, landscapers run the cords below ground for greater aesthetic appeal, and they hide the wires by covering them with rocks or other landscaping elements.

Solar Landscape Lighting Options

If you don’t feel comfortable with electricity in your yard, you still have some options. Solar landscape lighting is an alternative way to give your yard a bit more character at night. In the past, landscapers dismissed solar fixtures as weak landscaping lighting systems that failed to stand the test of time.

But, things have changed. Many solar landscape lighting models have batteries with a much longer life span, and they have the ability to hold more energy from the sun than previous versions. Solar lights work by collecting energy from sunlight through solar panels. At night, that energy charges a special battery that produces bright, powerful light-emitting diodes (LED).

LED is a newer technology that allows solar landscape lighting to burn much brighter at night than other battery-powered models, and many can hold a charge for up to ten hours each night. LED lights are great for use around your driveway and along walking paths. They not only lights up your home beautifully, but they also add vital illumination that will help you park your car safely at night. When placed strategically, LED lights can guide you to your porch without tripping, and enable you to unlock your front door without fumbling for your keys in the dark.

Once you choose your preferred lighting method, stand in front of your home and take careful inventory of your yard’s landscape. Decide where you would like to place your lights and install the fixtures. Once the sun sets, you’ll have a revamped abode that will light up the night.