You just bought a house you really love. Every time you step inside the front door, you can’t help but smile. It really is your dream house. Only trouble is, you don’t feel the same way when you’re going out the door. That’s when you have to look at the front yard. And it’s definitely not the landscape of your dreams. What were the previous owners thinking!?
You know that simply plopping a few new plants in the ground isn’t going to help much. Your yard needs a major makeover. But your bank account needs time to recover after that big down payment on the house. So you can either put on a thick pair of rose-colored glasses or roll up your sleeves and get to work. Maybe you can’t afford professional help just yet, but there are a few things you can do to get things moving in the right directions.
- Collect pictures of landscape designs, and check out professionally designed landscapes in your neighborhood. Make notes about what you like and what you don’t like. Browse the photo galleries of TNLA member sites (Such as Southern Botanical and McDugaldSteele).
- If your yard is seriously dated (a generic single-file row of plants along the foundation and property lines), you’ll probably want to create wider planting areas, at the very least. Consider replacing oversized or drab shrubs and perennials arranged two or three deep, with smaller plants placed in front of larger ones (check the mature size listed on the label).
- Add seasonal blooms, but keep in mind that foliage can add interest too, so seek out plants with red, purple, or variegated leaves in a variety of textures. Think about shapes too—a tall slender conifer placed near a full-figured viburnum creates a compelling contrast.
- Set aside ample space for hardscape and trees. Stone walkways, arbors, and benches add function and create “the bones” of your landscape, the framework that you see year-round, when flowers are in bloom and when they’re not.
- And finally, create a focal point. Depending on the size of your yard, a small ornamental tree or a large potted agave might be all you need. Or try a piece of sculpture or a bird bath to balance the size and shape of other landscape elements. A focal point provides a pleasant place for your eyes to rest. And it can also help to distract you from elements that aren’t so easy on the eyes.
When the time is right for you and your budget, consult a certified professional to help you take your landscape to the next level.
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