Planting and landscaping season is here. While I don’t have the brightest green thumb out there, I do take pride in what I’ve accomplished with the landscaping around my home.
Your yard can add a lot of character to your home, and express a lot of your personality. I love walking around the neighbourhoods we work on, taking a look at the way each homeowner has individualized their property. It excites me to see people taking pride in their homes.
Landscape design takes planning and preparation, whether you’re starting from scratch, or adding on to a yard that’s already in progress. Make a list of all the projects you want to complete for the yard and prioritize. Start with the big jobs, and trickle down to the small, detailed stuff.
Make a staged plan
Begin with your hardscaping. Hardscaping is the element of your landscape that will remain for years to come. This means your walkways, decks, and retaining walls. Adding or repairing these elements can make a big mess in your yard — you’ll need room for the materials, as well as allow access for your landscapers.
Next, you’ll want to define where your gardens will go. Pay attention to which areas of your yard get sunshine — and when. If you’re planning a small vegetable garden, for example, you’ll need to pick an area of the yard that gets at least a few hours of sunlight per day.
You may want to consider having your soil tested — this can tell you what kind of nutrients you’ll have to incorporate to build a successful garden. If you’re someone who struggles to keep plants alive — a soil test may give you the tools needed to turn it around.
Your last step should be to do your planting. You don’t want your tiny buds and saplings getting damaged or trampled while you’re adding your hardscaping.
What kind of greenery?
Lawns require a lot of resources to keep healthy. If you want a lush green space, it takes a lot of water — and you can’t always count on the elements to provide it. Some municipalities will allow you to set up a rain barrel or grey water system to utilize recycled water to take care of the yard — so for some of you, this could be a reasonable solution.
In place of a sprawling lawn, install landscape beds that feature local, low-maintenance perennials and shrubs. These can provide just as much curb appeal as a bright, green lawn but comes with a fraction of the water usage.
Ivy can look beautiful on a home but I’m not a fan of it. Why? As the vines creep up the home, it can cause damage to your roof, gutters or windows. It can eventually grow underneath elements such as your shingles or siding and start pulling them away from the home. Then you’ve created the perfect weak point for moisture penetration. It’s not good.
If you want the look of ivy, but without the hassle is to let it grow up a trellis about 8 inches from the home. Keep an eye on it, and keep it trimmed back when it starts to creep too close to the home.
Trees can provide some great shade on your home. Clever use of trees can help prevent the sun from streaming in through your windows, making it more difficult to keep the indoors cool during summer.
However, trees can be a major headache for homeowners who don’t plant wisely. Plant too close to the structure and you’re looking at a hazard from both ends. Branches that hang over rooflines can be felled during a bad storm and cause damage to the roof.
When trees are planted too close to the home, the roots can grow wild enough to break through your pipes causing leaks or blockages. My biggest piece of advice when it comes to adding trees is to check in with a landscaping architect before you plant. They can determine a safe place to add trees to provide valuable shade without damaging your home in the process.
To find out more about Mike Holmes, visit makeitright.ca