CONSUMER BLOG
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By : Brendan Mitchell, 05-26-2017


While we all learn as children not to judge a book by its cover, the same rule does not seem to apply when it comes to your home. Whether you like it or not, the landscape of your home says a lot about you to your neighbors, guests, and passersby. If this concerns you, fear not; we have compiled a list of five simple steps you can take to improve your landscape design.

1 Create a Focal Point

An example of a outdoor focal point
An example of an outdoor focal point
It doesn’t matter whether you’re working on your front or back lawn, focal points are a basic principle of landscape design. They draw the eye and help define the character of your yard. Choosing a focal point is the first step to improving your landscape because it will influence many of your other decisions. It could be anything from a water feature to a park bench, or even the front door to your home. While you can have multiple focal points, it’s important not to have too many; a cluttered yard is never impressive.

An example of an island garden bed
Island garden bed
You may consider having an island or berm as your focal point. In landscaping, an island is an isolated garden bed surrounded by grass. They are often placed in the center of the yard to avoid corrupting the symmetry. Similarly, a berm is a mound or small hill made of dirt. They are great for dividing your yard into sections or even just giving you some extra privacy.

Choosing your focal point is about deciding what you want from your outdoor space. Do you want it to be a quiet place of relaxation and reflection? An open space perfect for hosting parties? Determining the function of your yard is the first step towards improving the design.
 
2 Install a Path

A popular garden pathway design.
A popular garden pathway design. 
A garden pathway will add a touch of elegance to your landscape. There is a plethora of materials to choose from when creating the perfect path for your yard, but popular choices include rock, gravel, wood, and brick. Combine materials or use a multi-colored variety to create patterns that will make it even more striking.

A path can also help you incorporate curves into your landscape. If you want a visually stunning outdoor area, curves are a must. Curves can add depth, intrigue and privacy to your outdoor space.

3 Lift your Garden Game

An example of a well kept garden 
A well-kept garden.                               
In an article discussing the principles of landscape design, author and landscaper Rob Steiner says: “It’s better to plant a 50-cent plant in a $5 hole, than a $5 plant in a 50-cent hole.” Steiner’s point is, it doesn’t matter how expensive or exotic your plants are, if they aren’t planted correctly, your garden won’t last long.

In addition to ensuring you put them in the ground correctly, be sure to select plants that match the climate of your home and the level of care you’re willing to put in. There are plenty of plants you can purchase at your local nursery that are easy on the eye and require very little maintenance. Check out Better Homes & Gardens Plan-a-Garden tool for help with this step.  

You may consider having an edible garden in your landscape. Growing fruit, vegetables and herbs in your own yard is not just for hippies and farmers anymore. Edible gardens look great and are also surprisingly easy to manage, depending on what you’re growing.  You’ll find some useful tips here for starting your first edible garden.

A family tending to their edible garden
Planting an edible garden is a great activity for families to do together. 
The shape and style of your garden should also be considered. Every garden looks better when you consider the principles of geometry, especially symmetry & curves. We already discussed how important curves are, and your garden is a wonderful place to utilize them to your advantage. A symmetrical garden will look impressively tidy, even if you tend to neglect your plants. 

4 Make it Lit

An example of a well lit outdoor area.
A well lit outdoor area.
If you’re going to put a lot of time and effort into improving your landscape design, you should also ensure that the visuals can be enjoyed past sunset. Outdoor lighting can even be manipulated to accentuate the efforts you’ve made towards improving your landscape design. Shadows can be utilized to hide eye-sores, while assorted styles of lighting can be used to inject mood. For example, lanterns and fairy lights can be used to evoke a magical, playful atmosphere.

If you want to save on your electricity bill, solar lights can be very effective and look great when used to illuminate your pathway or the border of your garden island.  

Solar powered lights bordering a garden path 
Solar powered lights bordering an outdoor path.
Check out this article from craft mom blogger, Jamie Saunders, for some other creative ideas about how you can light your outdoor space.

5 Maintenance

Maintaining your yard is the key to it's success.
Maintaining your yard is the key to it's success.
9 times out of 10, the reason your yard looks a little lackluster is that you haven’t devoted enough time or energy to making it look good. And that’s okay – you’re only human, after all. If you don’t have time to maintain your yard, hire a professional who can – depending on the size of your yard (and budget), hiring a landscaper can be a cost-effective investment and will be well worth the results. 

Looking for a landscaper near you? We can help. Just type what you’re looking for in to the EZBZ app and we’ll connect you with reputable landscapers in your area, who will reply to you directly through the app. It’s a great way to find and compare local services right from your phone. Download the app for free and try it out!

Download the EZBZ App for free

Download the EZBZ App for free
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