Landscaping improves the appearance of your property, helps to control maintenance and creates a comfortable outdoor living space. All yards have the basics, including grass or greenery and paving or hard surface walkways and driveways. Besides these major features, certain minor landscape elements deliver impressive performance, great value and a gorgeous look with little fuss, making them a must-have for every home. Check out what you need to incorporate into your landscape plan this year.
Trees of all kinds help to attract wildlife and create a healthier space around your home. But shade trees provide even greater value by lowering your cooling bills in the hot summer months. They also provide beautiful spots for a patio set or lovely shade garden.
Plant shade trees in good locations, keeping in mind the growth patterns of the tree. Width or spread allows you to plant trees away from gutters and overhead structures, without worrying about obstruction and damage when the tree reaches maturity. Height gives you an idea of how much shade the tree will provide and allows you to consider power lines and other possible obstructions nearby.
Mature trees filter sunlight and reduce the load on your cooling system. When autumn hits and those trees shed their leaves, more sunlight filters through to assist your heating system all winter long. Sure, you’ll need to rake leaves in the fall, but shade trees provide beauty, visual interest, and an unmatched vibrancy in your yard.
This hidden element in your landscaping plan deserves full marks for performance and value. High quality landscape fabric stops the spread of weeds and some aggressive plants, keeping your gardens neat and tidy while reducing the maintenance required.
Use landscape fabric to start a new flower bed. Simply lay the fabric down on the grass and cover with topsoil. The fabric stops grass from growing up, and will eventually breakdown enough to mix the soil on top with soil below creating a lush flower bed. Landscape fabric can also be used in garden borders, installed along rock walls or under mowing strips to make a clean weed barrier.
Always invest in good quality landscape fabric and follow installation instructions. Cheap products may be tempting, but weaker performance and flimsy construction will leave you frustrated in the end. Follow instructions to ensure the fabric is installed properly, including how to attach the fabric to various surfaces and how to handle any leftovers.
Lighting adds depth to your landscape design, as well as creating a safer area to work and play. Landscape lighting can brighten up your walkway, extend your evenings on the patio, and illuminate entrances for easier access. Exterior lighting also comes in a wide range of styles, shapes and designs to suit your tastes and architecture. Popular styles include lanterns, pillars, globe lights and sconces.
Solar lighting offers low maintenance illumination for gardens, pathways and patios. Low voltage landscape lighting systems run on small transformers suitable for outdoor use. LED and standard bulbs can be used, and some systems also operate with photocells, automatically coming on at dusk and turning off when the sun is shining.
Deck lighting can be installed directly into the deck surface, railing posts and stairs to create a flush, built-in look. Ask your patio contractor about cutting lights into your pavestone driveway or entrance. Combine motion lights with well lit doorways to improve security and discourage burglars. Landscape lighting provides a wide range of possibilities and should be included in every landscape design.
Low Care Perennials
Most homeowners want grass and a few shrubs to spruce up the house and create a uniform look around the property. Planting low care perennials takes that one step further, providing a splash of color and seasonal interest that grass cannot offer and complementing those shrubs to create a garden that is uniquely yours.
Low care perennials require very little watering and will not overrun the garden. Stay away from aggressive plants and ask abut native flowers, resistant to pests, disease and droughts. Create a worry-free garden by grouping perennials in blocks of three, five or seven plants (depending on the size of the garden) and laying down a generous layer of mulch to deter weeds and retain moisture.
You will need to clean out the garden in the spring and fall, cutting back old growth, pulling weeds and generally tidying up the area, but with the right perennials and healthy soil, that’s all the work you’ll need to do.
Yes, you read that correctly. Rocks play an essential role in your landscape plan. Adding texture, year-round visual interest and anchoring other landscape elements into the space, rocks of all different shapes and sizes should be strategically placed in your yard.
Incorporate patio stones into the front walkway, patios and driveway. Line those paths with rock borders or stone retaining walls. Use rocks to incorporate a low maintenance water feature, such as bubblers or small scale waterfalls. Rocks add a layer of natural beauty like no other element can. Permanence and stability resonate from rocks, and you can use rocks to introduce unique textures and colors into your outdoor space.
Mount your house numbers on a large accent rock or flank your driveway with interesting rocks or stone pillars. Lights can be installed on rocks, as well as planters, bird houses, mailboxes and many other outdoor accessories. These versatile landscaping elements remain permanently in place, require no extra care and make your yard feel more natural and established.
Look beyond your grass, walkways and driveway, and plan to include these five must-have landscape elements in your yard. Shade trees add value and splendour, landscape fabric cuts down on maintenance and keeps gardens tidy, landscape lighting brightens up your space, while low care perennials provide color and seasonal interest. Rocks round out this list, bringing natural beauty to the space. Be sure to incorporate these elements into your landscape design for a well-rounded, comfortable yard.