Landscaped yards and gardens have a significant effect on curb appeal, property values, and can be beneficial to the plants and wildlife that live in and around them. Landscaping projects are perfect for DIYers, as small portions can be done at different times, eventually leading to your home having an entire exterior makeover.
While there are a lot of simple landscaping jobs you can do by yourself, you should also be aware of what can go wrong while doing these “simple” jobs. Some mistakes can turn the positives of DIY landscaping into negatives very quickly. The effects can be costly for your home, your wallet, and the surrounding wildlife. In this article, we’ll talk about things that can go wrong, and the ways to do it right.
Filling up your gardens with beautiful flowers, shrubs, and ferns is a great way to add color, fragrance, and fullness to the spaces around your home. But not every plant is ideal for the environment it’s grown in. Invasive plants are aptly named. When they are introduced into a new area, they spread fast and take over, choking out other native growth along the way. Let loose, they can cause environmental harm and even become a danger to humans.
You won’t find dangerous plants like these in your regular garden center, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally buying them. But sometimes you might not realize you’ve come into contact with them. If you are camping or hiking, check for seeds that may have attached themselves to your clothing and remove them before you leave. Don’t pick and bring home wildflowers if you don’t know the species. Find out which plants are considered invasive in your region so you can look out for and avoid them.
If you are looking for something to fill your gardens, research and find native plants to buy. Like their name indicates, plants native to the region will enhance local wildlife and thrive in the temperatures you live in. There are 11 hardiness zones in North America. Know which zone you live in and you can find an entire range of native plants to boost your gardens’ beauty and usefulness.
There may come a time when you want to reseed your lawn or sod over a garden. Both of these jobs require you to prepare the ground and possibly add new soil. When it comes to spreading out the new soil, simply leveling it out isn’t enough. Improperly grading the soil can cause water damage to your lawn – or even worse, your house.
The biggest mistake made while grading soil is not paying attention to where water will flow when it rains. If your lawn is improperly graded, the rain will flow to and pool in low spots. Grass will become water-logged and unable to grow here.
When grading around your house, the flow of water needs to be considered even more carefully. If the grade of your soil goes toward your house, rain water will be directed at your foundation. This can cause leaks and flooding inside and weaken the foundation over time, which is a costly repair.
Luckily, paying attention and taking your time while grading soil is the best way to prevent these problems. If you are grading soil against your house, the highest point should be against the exterior wall and everything else is a slight slope downward. This will ensure water always flows away from your house.
Every project around your home takes planning, but when your projects involve living things like plants, planning is like seeing into the future. Everything you bought from the nursery is new and relatively young and will take time to grow. What will those tiny plants look like in a few years?
One of the hard parts about landscaping is that you are planting things now that will change year after year. The little shrub you bought might be taller than your house before you know it. What was a small fern is now crowding an entire corner of your garden. Tree roots stretch and can make their way under the foundation of your house and change the density of the soil, which can lead to major problems down the road.
With a bit of research and foresight, you can avoid these issues and plan for a garden that will grow to complement your home.
When purchasing plants, read the instructions for pruning, find out how big they’ll get, and plan your garden accordingly. For a while, your garden may look more barren than you want it to be but, over time, your carefully chosen plants will fill in beside and around each other, and you’ll end up with a beautifully organized and nicely landscaped spot for years to come.