Looking for simple, low-cost ways to beautify your yard? Look no further. Follow these ten steps and you’ll have a yard fit for a king in no time.
10. Make a Small Yard Look Larger
If you’ve got a small yard, there are things you can do to make it look larger. For starters, you could invest in a curved ivy fence. According to landscape designer Louis Raymond, this type of fence prevents others from seeing the entire yard no matter where they may be standing or sitting. The rationale is that if they’re unsure where it ends, it will seem bigger.
Another option is to mix different heights to create the illusion of depth. For example, you could put low shrubs in front of a slightly higher fence and place taller shrubs near your house.
9. Do More in a Limited Space
If your yard is small, then it goes without saying that space is limited. But, that doesn’t have to stop you from beautifying your outdoor area. If you have a porch, you can attach hanging baskets with plants inside to the porch ceiling. Or, if you’ve got a blank wall or a bare fence, you can plant a vertical garden. Here are some additional ideas to get you started:
-Stack plant pots on the rungs of a ladder.
-Hang a shoe organizer on your wall and use it as a planter.
-Liven up that blank wall or bare fence with climbing vines.
-Grow plants in a window box.
-Attach old rain gutters to your wall and use them as planters. TIP: Make sure to drill holes in the bottom for drainage.
8. Water Your Lawn Properly
Give your lawn a thorough soaking every now and then instead of doing frequent waterings. It takes time for the moisture in the soil to be replenished, especially during extremely dry conditions. Small, frequent waterings will be quickly absorbed by the topsoil but won’t penetrate through to the roots, the part that soaks up the water. Remember, it takes a slow and steady rain to recover from a drought, so you should apply the same principle when it comes to watering your lawn.
TIP: Concentrate more on watering your plants, trees and shrubs during drought conditions. According to Country Living magazine, watering your lawn won’t do much good because the grass will just go dormant until the drought is over.
7. Get Rid of Pests
There’s nothing worse than putting in all that hard work just to have pests come along and destroy it all. Here are a few tips to keeps pests off your lawn:
-Repel ants with plants from the mint family (e.g. peppermint, spearmint, pennyroyal)
-Marigolds keep mosquitoes at bay. That’s because they hate the smell of them.
-If you’re planning on planting a vegetable garden, you can keep slugs away by filling a small bowl or plastic container with beer and setting it out near whatever the slugs have been eating. Once the slugs find it, which should be in a day or two, they’ll drown themselves in it. Cruel, yes. But, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
-To keep deer from feasting in your garden, try this trick: Mix two raw eggs and water in an empty spray bottle and let it sit in the sun for a spell. Then, spray whatever the deer are eating. They won’t like the smell, and they’ll move on–hopefully to someone else’s garden (just kidding about that).
6. Attract Butterflies
It’s easy to attract birds to your yard. Just put up a bird feeder, add some bird seed, and they’ll come. But, how exactly do you attract butterflies? Well, you just use the same basic concept? Add their favorite things! These include blooming herbs like blossoming weeds, coneflowers, hollyhocks, nasturtiums, and sunflowers.
Something else that attracts butterflies is vibrant color. So, make sure you plant flowers that are yellow, orange, purple, and red. And, plant those flowers in bunches. According to Reader’s Digest, butterflies are more likely to visit clusters of plants than a single plant.
TIP: Butterflies need shelter from the wind, so make sure you plant flowers next to things that blocks the wind, like a wall or a vine-covered fence.
5. Beware of Harmful Plants and Chemicals
Plants like azaleas, poinsettias and rhododendrons are toxic and can potentially be deadly. So, if you have children or are planning on having them, it’s a good idea to avoid these plants.
As for controlling weeds, look for natural solutions without harmful chemicals. Not only do natural chemicals kill weeds, they also kill helpful insects.
DID YOU KNOW?
Red mulch is dangerous as well. It contains arsenic and other harsh chemicals that can be harmful to kids, pets, and your soil.
4. Take Care of Your Soil
Speaking of soil, it’s important that you pay just as much attention to it as you do to the rest of your yard. Start by aerating your lawn. This will promote thicker grass growth next spring by giving grass roots a boost of oxygen. To aerate your lawn, simply create some holes in the soil with a lawn aerator. You can rent an aerator from Home Depot or you can purchase one from Walmart for about $60.
Next, have your soil tested to make sure it has enough nutrients to give it that rich green color we all long for. Your local County Cooperative Extension office can test it for you. Just bring in a sample in a bag. You’ll need to dig down about six or seven inches to collect a decent sample. Then, mail off your sample, await the results of the test, and follow the advice of the folks down at the Extension office.
3. Understand the Importance of Mulch
Mulch is more than just a decorative cover for your flower beds. It works overtime to protect against cold weather and erosion, and it keeps fall weeds at bay. Follow these tips for the best results:
-Use straw mulch to keep the soil warm.
-Spring for organic mulch instead of the inorganic variety (e.g. shredded rubber, brick chips, etc.). It’ll help keep the ground cool, hold in moisture, and enrich the soil.
-If you have a mower that can mulch, use it to mulch the leaves that have fallen on your lawn.
2. How to Transplant Trees and Shrubs
If you’re going to be moving your trees and shrubs, you need to make sure you do it correctly. With that said, moisture is necessary for a successful transplant. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to transplant on a sunny day. If you do, the plants will dry out. Instead, wait until it’s cloudy or do it just at the edge of dark. It’s also important to make sure the soil is still damp from rain.
Experts also recommend that you wait until the fall to move your plants. “By autumn, plant growth has slowed and the plants themselves become dormant in preparation for winter. Use the cooler weather to your advantage, and plan the landscape of your garden beds,” DIY Network said on its website.
TIP: To make sure your plants have enough moisture, water each one as you go along.
1. Know How to Cut Your Lawn
Make sure you’re not cutting your grass too short and too often. It should be no shorter than two to three inches tall. Also, trim the edges of your yard to give its borders a shape-up, if you will. And, trim tight spaces near planting beds, too. This can be done with an ordinary weed eater.
And, if you’re looking for a more hassle-free option, consider “no-mow” grass. Developed in 1994 by a plant nursery in Westfield, Wisconsin, No Mow is a “slow growing, low maintenance lawn” for both small and large landscapes. The No Mow Lawn seed mix quickly forms a thick carpet of grass and offers the following benefits:
-Reduces mowing to once or twice a year
-Requires little if any watering
-Inhibits weed invasion
-Requires no fertilizers or chemical treatment
-Withstands moderate foot traffic
There are plenty of other gardening tips, but these are just a few to help you get started. Have some tips of your own? Why not share them with us in the comments below? Thanks for reading!