Landscaping 101: 8 Tips for a Successful Yard

Now is the perfect time to start planning your lawn and landscaping for the year. Read on for tips on how to best plan your yard and landscaping.

1. Start big.

To start planning, you'll want to establish "anchors" or focal points in the space you have available. Anchors can include large plants (like trees, big shrubs, etc.) or even structures like a pond, gazebo, statue or more. Once you've planned for the big things, then you can fill the rest of the landscaping in around them.

2. Consider your house.

If you don't include your house in the plans for your yard, the two will look disjointed. Your home and landscaping should complement each other in terms of scale, style, colors and materials. For example, trees can hep frame your home (but not conceal it), while smaller plants can help give the entrance to your home a welcoming approach.

3. Understand your space.

You might know what your home looks like in a springtime morning ... but how does it look different in the afternoon or evening? Or different seasons? Take pictures of your yard at different times of day, from different angles and in different weather conditions to learn where the sunlight falls, where it gets shady,  drainage patterns and more. Then, make sure you choose plants and flowers that work best within your yard.

4. Look to the future.

The thing about nature is that it grows - which means your yard will be constantly evolving. That means you need to consider possibilities into the future, and not just focus on the now. When your new trees reach their full height, how will it impact the sunlight patterns you have now (both in terms of plants and natural light that flows into your home)? Will new structures impede sunlight and plant growth? Are you considering mature plant sizes and allowing for enough space between plants? You can move some plants later, but your basic layout should incorporate changing shade patterns.

5. Get the inside scoop.

What's your ideal landscaping view looking out from inside your home? Sit on your sofa or at the kitchen table and look out the window - what do you hope to see there? Plan how your yard will look from the inside-out so you can enjoy your landscaping just as much when you aren't outside.

6. Plan smart.

With plants and materials (and labor, if you need it), landscaping costs can add up quickly. To start, compare local garden centers - and consider online nursery prices as well. Create a budget and a priority list if you're not able to afford everything at once. While planning, make sure you're being realistic. First-time gardener? Don't go all out with 25 different types of veggies. Tricky flowers or aggressive vines? Only plant them if you'll really keep up with them. The same goes for structures or features, like fences that need to be repainted and sealed, or water features that might need some extra love. The last thing you want is a yard in two years that's out of control!

7. Light it up.

You've gone to the trouble of creating a beautiful new space - now make sure you can see it! Make lighting a priority in your landscaping design so it can be seen - and so it's safe to walk through your yard after sundown.

8. Be true to you.

Your yard is an extension of your home, so make it true to you! Take inspiration from neighbors or Instagram, but keep copying to a minimum. You'll enjoy it even more if you just do it for you!

Happy landscaping!