If you have a house, then you probably have a front and back yard. They may be postage-stamp sized, but you have them. If your yards our small, it may be even more difficult to landscape than a larger yard, because every single thing in the yard will be magnified and a wrong item will stand out all the more. But there’s no reason why even a postage-stamp yard can’t be beautiful – after all, take a look at your postage stamps and see the miniature masterpieces on them!
And if you don’t have a house, but rather live in an apartment, don’t think that there’s no landscaping you can do. If you’re fortunate enough to have a balcony, you can create a tiny garden out there!
Ideas can be just around the corner
Before you do anything….think about it. There’s plenty of magazines out there on gardening and home care to give you inspiration…there’s plenty of books in the library. And of course the internet is a never ending buffet of great ideas. And then you can always see what your neighbors have done with their yards.
Make a plan, follow the plan
At the same time as you’re searching for ideas on how you’d like to landscape your front and backyards, have a couple of maps of those yards, drawn to scale. Input all the items such as trees, ponds and buildings that are already there. Decide if you’re going to keep all the trees or if you’re going to cut any down. It’s best to have one master plan, and then use lots of tracing paper to mess around with various ideas until you find one you like.
Sun, wind and rain
The success of your landscape will depend in a large part on nature. Mark down those places in your yard that get the most sun and at what times. Find out from your local weather service which way the prevailing winds blow – you might need a windbreak. And does your area get a lot of rain or only a little rain? That will determine the kinds of plants, flowers and trees you’ll want in your yard, and where you’ll place them so they’ll get the most sun – or the least amount of sun.
Prepare the ground
Conduct some soil tests to find out what kind of soil you have – and add the appropriate fertilizer or other materials to turn it into soil fit for growing. Sandy soil is not as good as soil that is well-intermixed with clay, for example. Also, what’s the pH balance of your soil? It’s easy for you to purchase a kit and do the testing yourself. You want your soil to have a pH balance of between 6 and 7. Anything higher than that is alkaline, anything below that is acidic. You’re striving for a neutral balance between the two.
Do you have any dips or slopes in your yard? Consider filling them in – it will save time in mowing!
Consider the way your lawn drains rainwater. In fact, go out after a rain and walk all the way around, seeking any soft spots. If your soil is predominantly clay, water is retained easily – if its sandy, the water leaches away.
Finish off your lawn, flower and vegetable beds with just the right touch. Colored pebbles finish shrubbery beds off nicely and hide the weed fabric underneath which will prevent pesky weeds from popping up and ruining your carefully cultivated look. Statues and fountains can look nice – just don’t choose something too big for your yard.
Care and maintenance
Once you’ve designed and implemented your landscape, you can’t just let it go. Overgrown yards never look attractive. So make sure you mow your lawn on a regular basis. Don’t cut the grass too short – for that will stress it out. Water your lawn thoroughly, but be careful not to over-water. Once a year you’ll probably want to aerate the ground to keep it healthy.
But with a little love and attention, you’ll be able to enjoy your landscaped yard for years to come, and so will your friends and neighbors.