Tips from a Professional Landscaper for Your Home
I've been working in landscaping for year now. And before that, when I was a kid I used to do my chores, which included, mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, cleaning around the yard, cutting trees for fire wood, and more. So I've been doing landscaping type work for a decade. I've only been working in professional landscaping for around 2 years, but in those two years I've learned a lot.
In this article we're going to start by first making sure that your grass looks good. If your grass looks good, for the most part the rest of your property's look is improved drastically. Then we're going to move on to the look of the trees, which can change whole sections of your yard, from shady and dark to bright and sunny. After that we're going to look at the plants that you have in your mulch or rock/gravel beds. Once we've gone through the entire gambit of the things that can exist in your yard, we're going to be looking at your house; can it be just powerwashed, or does it have to also be painted?
To make your lawn a perfect work of art, you're going to need to look at your lawn right now. Best case-scenario is that your lawn is all green and all grass. No weeds, no patches of small amounts or no grass.
But what if...
I have a lot of weeds growing in my yard? Well that's not a fun issue to fix. Sometimes it's expensive, sometimes it's very difficult to maintain. Your neighbors might have the same problem, and the weeds might be coming from their yard into yours right after you fix the problem. Or maybe you have a giant yard, full of weeds. Sometimes it's just better to leave a yard alone with all the different types of green plants growing. Sometimes it's just not worth it.
But sometimes it is. So, how do you get rid of weeds in your yard? Use chemicals and/or pull them out. Once you nuke your yard, they shouldn't comeback for a long time. A few good products we use are: Spectricide's Weed Stop and Turf Builder Weed and Feed.
I have a lot of places with weak, or no grass? You can buy some sod and put it in, if you want there to be grass there instantly, but remember to water it like crazy twice a day. Especially if it's hot out. But that's expensive. A much cheaper option is to plant some grass seed. Start with a quickly germinating seed like rye, and then once it's up, plant a more hardy, permanent type grass. In Missouri we use Bluebrass for the most part, but depending on where you live, cold or hot, wet or dry, you might need different types of grasses. Do further research into this when you're doing it.
The best way to plant grass seed is to just rake the dirt up a bit, so the top quarter inch is not compacted. Add seed to it and mix it in with a rake. Water twice daily.
The best time to plant grass seed it in the fall, and if you miss your chance, in the spring. Doing it in the winter will get it eaten by birds, and in the summer it won't grow as well due to the heat. In the fall it gets in the ground, but doesn't start growing due to the cold. Throughout the winter it gets pushed down into the ground by the snow and ice melt. In the spring it germinates at the perfect time. The spring is also a good time to plant, right as your grass comes out of dormancy.
Trees are a bit different than the rest of the things on this list. You can cause a lot of property damage, get hurt, or even get killed doing tree work. Don't do anything you're not 100% comfortable doing. Trees are big and heavy.
Sometimes trees are hanging over your house. Sometimes they're too close to your house, maybe the roots are growing around the foundation of your home, possibly causing damage. Sometimes you're just sick of picking up after them. In these situations you might need to fully cut down and remove the tree. In this situation I recommend getting a professional's help.
Other times you just want to trim a tree. In this case a pole saw and a few hours will get you some really nice results. Just remember to properly cut the limbs and branches, or you can cause excessive damage to the tree, making it vulnerable to infections. A good tip is to raise the crown, or cut the bottom few limbs of a tree. This usually gives your tree and yard a new look. It opens up new sight-lines, giving sight to other parts of the landscaping.
So you have a beautiful lawn and great looking trees-or whatever's left of them. But what bout those spaces around your home, filled with mulch or gravel? No plants? Need new plants every year? Try perennial plants like Hastas and Boxwoods. You don't have to use these two, since they are quite common in landscaping due to their ease of maintenance, and cheap installation. But they are nice and easy options. There are other options, depending on where you live as well.
Often times these are planted in beds of mulch or gravel. Often times under the mulch or gravel there are these fabrics called weed blockers. They keep weeds from growing down into the dirt. So they don't grow quite as commonly, and when they do, they are much easier to pull out. Just remember to cover up all of the fabric with mulch or gravel so they you don't see ugly corners sticking out. And remember to cut out generous amounts of space for the plants to grow through. Often times people put fabric too close to plants and end up suffocating them. Plant roots need air.
Some people's homes are damn near perfect, but there's something wrong... it just looks bad. A lot of times it's because it's dirty. Leaves everywhere... driveway hasn't been washed since it was put in... the house either...
A good investment is a leaf blower for cleaning up your grounds, and for cleaning dirty surfaces like the sides of your home or the concrete or brick around your home, you might want to look into a power washer. You can get a blower for a few hundred dollars and a power washer for a few hundred as well.
What's your favorite part of landscaping?
Landscaping is not easy. This takes days, if not weeks to do. Just getting all of the materials can be quite expensive. The tools can be just as pricey. But if you keep in mind that these tools can be used year after year, the initial investment becomes worth it.
In the end, if you followed these tips, you should have a beautiful landscape that you can't resist being proud of. All the work you did, all the things you learned, all the mistakes you made are making you a better landscaper. It's okay if it doesn't look perfect, as long as it looks better. You can always improve later on.
Thanks for reading my article. If you have any questions or things that I could add, please leave it in the comments! Thanks again!