We start making plans for our yard and garden in anticipation of the warmer months.
We consult home and garden magazines, watch HGTV programs, and just generally daydream about how spectacular our flowerbeds and walkways are going to look this season.
The tendency is to dream big or unrealistically when we see what other people have achieved. It’s fine to go all out if that’s what you want, but you should be armed with all the best information before you start spending time and money on the plants and trees you thought looked prettiest in somebody else’s yard.
Here are questions to ask yourself before you actually start turning up the soil on your property.
How much time am I actually going to be able to devote to maintaining my garden once it’s in place? Will weeds get out of hand, or plants wither, because I don’t have the time to keep up with the yard work?
Am I looking at plants native to where I live? How big will they grow? How much rainfall can I expect, and what are the temperature ranges in my area? What kind of plants can my soil support?
Perhaps the single most important determination to make is the primary function you desire from your yard. Do you have kids who will be playing there a lot? Do you like to barbecue or host a lot of events? Do you view your yard as your “quiet space,” a spot for reading, reflection, or perhaps bird watching? The answers to these will shape the kind of yard that works best for you.
Additional things to take into consideration before breaking ground or making any big purchases is to determine how much sunlight and/or wind your proposed garden area will receive. Ditto for placing a new patio or barbecue pit. If your proposed area for a patio will have your guests sitting in shade in late September, or in direct sun in mid July, it might be good to re-think those plans.
A good landscaper can help you make those kinds of decisions, and a friendly employee at your local nursery or home improvement store can guide you to informed choices for the plants that will thrive in your garden’s soil and surroundings.
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