Home & DecorLifestyle

7 Tips and Tricks to Add Interest and Functionality to Your Yard

Smart landscaping

Smart landscaping can add interest and value to your home. It can benefit your health as well. But this does not mean that you have to break the bank to make a huge impression. There are several tips and tricks that you can use to make lawn care and landscaping in Potomac, MD fast, easy, and successful.

Use these seven tips to add texture, points of interest, color, and functionality to your yard.

1. Create a natural edge

Instead of buying metal or plastic edging, consider making a natural edge around beds. Edging will help create a specific look to your landscape. But more than that, a natural edge will allow for easier maintenance over time and offers more flexibility should you decide to make several changes to your landscape later.

2. Buy essential landscaping tools

Unless you have a wide yard to maintain, you won’t need huge, high-tech tools to keep your yard looking fantastic. Most of the basic landscaping tools are simple – you just have to be meticulous about their quality.  

Ideally, the tool’s weight and how it is distributed will have a massive impact on how it feels when you use it. So before you make a purchase, try it whenever possible. Also, choose those with D-shaped handles because they provide an easy, comfortable grip.

Here are some of the essential tools you should buy:

  • Rake – You will need a steel rake for moving soil, compost, gravel, and mulch. Getting a lighter leaf rake is also crucial for moving lightweight debris like twigs and leaves. Wooden handles work fine for both rakes.
  • Shovel – This is a simple tool that you will often use, so it pays to splurge a bit on it. It should be easy to clean, strong, and lightweight.
  • Pruning shears – These tools can remove branches that are getting out of control.   
  • Lawnmower – Don’t hesitate to buy a high-quality lawn mower because this will allow you to finish the job accurately and quickly.
  • Lawn aerator – Hand-held aerators will keep your yard healthy. Aeration involves digging up holes to allow nutrients, water, and oxygen to flow through the soil.
  • Garden hose – The foundation of your lawn’s life is water, and it is crucial that your hose can spray and reach all the corners of your yard. Choose a hose with an adjustable nozzle so you can control the spray radius and water pressure. 

3. Go native

When choosing plants for your yard, opt for native plants because they are the easiest to grow and maintain. By planting lots of native plants, you can become more confident with minimal hassles.

Though there are plenty of non-native plants that may have adapted to different areas, most of them are notorious for disease and pest problems. Some may even need special care. To learn about the native plants in your area, visit the nearest nursery or contact a pro in landscaping in Bethesda, MD.

4. Fertilize wisely

The right amount of fertilizer given at the right time will make a huge difference between a thriving landscape and a struggling one. Mainly beneficial for fruits, veggies, flowering plants, and any plant growing in containers, fertilizers are also crucial for your lawn. However, too much can ruin your lush lawn. Thus, make sure to know the right balance before feeding your lawn and landscape.

5. Invest in a tarp

A tarp or tarpaulin is a smart investment for a landscaper. Available in different materials and colors, a tarp can be used in a variety of ways.

First, you can use it to cover and protect plants, furniture, and tools, especially during winter. For best protection, you must use a durable tarp that is large enough and waterproof, perfect for covering your gardening tools and plants to protect them from freezing.

Secondly, it can be used to make the transplanting of plants less messy and more manageable. Place the plants on top of the tarp, and then drag it like a sled to where you are transferring your plants.

Thirdly, it can be used for soil solarization, which is heating the soil to prevent problems like weeds, pests, bacteria, and fungi. It is done by covering the soil with a tarp for six weeks during the hottest days of the year. The trick is to use transparent or clear tarps instead of dark-colored ones to allow heat to get to the soil. Also, wet the tarp before placing it over the soil so heat can penetrate faster and deeper.

Lastly, tarps can be used as a cover for your compost piles to preserve moisture. It ensures that there is enough air and moisture flowing to the compost materials that you will use later to nourish your yard soil.

6. Use landscape fabric strategically

Landscape fabric is used primarily to control weeds. But use it diligently. Otherwise, it will do more harm than good.

It works best around trees and shrubs where it can be mounted and topped with mulch to last for years. But since it is meant to be left in place, avoid using it on your annual flower beds or vegetable gardens.

Other benefits of this special type of fabric include minimizing the need for herbicides, retaining soil moisture, and controlling soil erosion on slopes prone to washout during heavy rains. 

The key is to use a high-quality landscape fabric and proper installation practices so it can be efficient and long-lasting. 

7. Install functional lighting

Lighting is vital in outdoor spaces. Besides ensuring safety, it will also guarantee that the best architectural features of your home and the best-looking flora are emphasized, especially at night. You can choose from many outdoor lighting fixtures, such as sconces, wall fixtures, and lamps.

Although you can place outdoor lighting almost anywhere, some areas make it an absolute must. These include the walkways, driveway, steps, entry door, patios, and gazebos.

8. Visit your yard regularly

By spending time roaming around your yard, even for just 10 minutes each day, you can develop a valuable bond with everything that grows in it. A daily visit to your lawn and landscape can also help you detect certain problems before they become worse. For instance, you can spot plants that require more water or sunlight and weeds or pests that should be dealt with immediately.

Achieving a lush, healthy lawn and landscape does not have to be complicated. Use these techniques and tools used by professional landscapers and make more proficient use of your time and money.

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