10 home landscaping rules you should never break

Whether you like to enjoy the garden from your living room window, host regular barbecues in the backyard or practice youth soccer outside on the weekends, the exterior of your home is important. Planning the right landscaping – for aesthetics or utility alone – is essential to helping you achieve the right look and level of maintenance that suits you.

Homeowners’ use of their front or back yard can vary widely — and includes everything from a patio spa or herb garden to a full outdoor chef’s kitchen for entertaining. Despite the many options you have for making the most of your outdoor space, there are still some basic rules to ensure your landscaping is a success.

Here are 11 basic rules that will help guide you to a thriving, comfortable yard that suits your needs.

1. Think about plants suitable for your climate. From the lawn to the trees to the shrubs that line your walkway, you have choices to make not only regarding the right aesthetic for your home but also regarding which plants are best suited to the part of the country you live in and how they will perform outside. Your home.

Chris Keyser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute in Alexandria, Virginia, stresses the importance of “the right plant in the right place,” which means taking advantage of native plant species that will thrive where you live and in the right part of your home. yard.

He recommends avoiding plants that require a lot of water if you’re in a dry climate or grow too large and choke out other plant life. Choosing the right type of grass is essential, as the wrong types are likely to die or require more maintenance than they’re worth.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of species of grass, so you don’t want to put lush Kentucky bluegrass in Southern California where it’s water-challenged — you want Bermuda grass or buffalo grass,” Kiser says.

2. Understand your space. Although it’s tempting to choose plants and hardscapes that you like and try to find a way to group them together, the best approach is to carefully consider the space you have. How will you use your space and create the perfect ambiance with the landscaping in which you will thrive?

“Now that people live most of their lives outdoors, think about the larger purpose of your outdoor space,” says Keyser. “Do you need an outdoor office? A play space for kids and pets? Or a more entertaining space? Plant trees, shrubs, grass and flowering plants according to your needs as well as the climate zone.

You might want a pool here, a fire pit in the back, and a flower garden with seating to the side, but you’re probably overextending your garden and your budget, explains Chip Weed, a master carpenter known for his roles on HGTV shows like “Ellen’s Design Challenge” and “Ellen’s Design Challenge.” Curb Appeal: The Block,” and lead creative design at Wade Works Creative in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Keep the event close to home, and focus more of your budget in one place,” he says. “It will make the overall end product more effective and higher quality.”

Additionally, having too much pavement in your yard can cause runoff issues when it rains. Don’t install a backyard pool that’s so large that you’ve removed all the space for plants, which can help you avoid basement flooding issues.

4. Plan to get appropriate professional help. As with any do-it-yourself project, be aware of your limits and know what home improvements require a licensed professional to ensure the work is done properly. Expect to book a skilled contractor at least a few months in advance during the spring and summer. Chris Holland, owner of Black River Landscape Management in Rockaway, New Jersey, says that by early March, his company’s calendar was already full through part of May.

“If you can call someone in March and they can say, ‘Hey, we can be there at your house tomorrow,’ maybe you should worry about why they have the ability to do that,” Holland says.

5. Know your maintenance limits. When you choose your outdoor living plan and landscaping, be realistic about how much work you will be willing and able to do on a regular basis.

If you’re not the type to maintain a garden of flowers that need to be transplanted annually, take a closer look at perennials that grow back year after year. Likewise, if you don’t see yourself cleaning an outdoor kitchen every week or cleaning your pool regularly, reconsider those features as well.

6. Plant seeds and aerate your garden appropriately. Keeping your garden alive is very difficult for many homeowners, and it is important to be proactive about your garden to keep it healthy year after year.

The most important thing is to seed and aerate your lawn at least once a year, preferably in the spring, Holland says. “It opens up the space and basically frees up space in your lawn so the grass gets stronger,” he says.

If you tend to use your garden a lot for entertaining or backyard sports, Holland recommends repeating the process in the fall.

Wade adds that regular tasks are also key to keeping your lawn looking healthy: “Fertilizing combined with establishing a good watering routine and keeping your mower blades sharp is the best recipe for a beautiful lawn that you can feel confident in.”

7. Find out what local laws allow and require. While planning a patio, pool, or outdoor kitchen, read about local codes and any restrictions set by your homeowners association (if you’re part of one) to ensure you stay within development boundaries and know which projects may need to be permitted.

“Depending on your state, town or county, there are certain restrictions on how much space you are allowed to cover,” Holland says. You may only be allowed to cover 30% to 40% of your property with a sidewalk, deck, or other structure, which means the majority of your lot — including the home lot — must be free land to absorb stormwater.

8. Make sure roofs are not directed toward your home. Regarding rainwater, take care to ensure that any hard surfaces, such as a patio, do not slope toward the foundation. Otherwise, you risk directing runoff directly into your basement or under your house, which Holland points out is a common problem when hiring less reputable contractors.

“We had to make emergency repairs as people tried to save a few dollars,” he says. “Then we show up and there’s a puddle of water in the basement because their entire yard is in the direction of their house.”

9. Keep shade in mind while planning. As you locate plants and structures in your landscaping plan, keep an eye on the path the sun shines through your garden. If you place a shrub that requires little sunlight in a location that gets sunlight all day, it probably won’t last long.

“You can waste your money very quickly, and (all your plants) could easily die on you,” Holland says.

10. Contact your homeowners insurance provider. For any scenarios where you build an outdoor kitchen, install a pool, or add a shed in the backyard, you will need to contact your insurance provider. “If you add a section to your home that increases its value, be sure to ask your representative if you may need more insurance coverage to protect your investment,” Wade says.

While the added value of your home may mean an increased premium, the alternative is that the new addition is not covered if damage occurs to your home. Or worse, an undisclosed addition could jeopardize the rest of your home coverage if you need to file a claim.

11. Don’t limit yourself to the existing layout. Tearing down walls inside your home can be an expensive and time-consuming process, but doing the outdoor equivalent doesn’t have to be. If you make the wrong design and a shrub dies where you planted it, or you simply don’t like the way it looks, you can change the look of your entire backyard, Keyser asserts.

“The nice thing about living landscapes is that you can plant other landscapes. You can move this and move that,” he says.

You can still follow the basic rules of your landscaping and have plenty of room to experiment with color, structure, and overall look until you find something that thrives and you can enjoy.

    (tags for translation) Devon Thorsby 

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