It doesn’t matter how modern and deluxe your home’s interior is if your outside spaces are drab or dead, it might give people the wrong impression. Your garden can be gorgeous year-round — if you put in some time and effort to keeping your spaces green and your flowers blooming. In fact, maintaining a luscious landscape isn’t terribly difficult if you know the secrets to gardening success. Here are four simple rules to help you keep a beautiful outdoor space all year long.
1. Know Your Plants Well
Hardscaping might be easier to maintain, but the foundation of a garden is vegetation. To keep your outdoor spaces looking gorgeous year-round, you must be careful about selecting and maintaining your plants. The proper process for knowing your plants requires just two steps:
- A) Know your region.
Though you might dream about verdant outdoor spaces in glossy home and garden magazines, the plants they use in those landscapes might not be suitable your yard. There is a reason the desert is filled with cactuses instead of willows: Different plants require different growing conditions. By forcing non-indigenous or otherwise unsuitable plants into your landscaping, you are asking for dead shrubs — or at least a dramatic increase in your utilities bills. You can buy a gardening book specific to the area where you live, or you can talk to a local expert at a nursery to gain insight into the best plants for your yard. You should do the same if you plan on installing a lawn, as grass comes in regional verities, as well.
- B) Know plant health.
There are some obvious signs that plants aren’t doing well: wilting, drying, browning, etc. When you first purchase your plants, you should be careful to choose specimens that lack any indication of ill-health. Then, after you place your plants in the ground (or long-term containers) you should continue to be on the lookout for signs of disease of discomfort. If you are unable to diagnose the issue using the web or any gardening books at your disposal, you should call in a landscaping expert to help. Most first-time homebuyers might need lawn care tips so that their plants stay beautiful year-round.
2. Work Within Your Space
It’s easy to love wide-open gardens with generous lawns and ample flower beds, but few homeowners have such luxurious landscaping opportunities. It is vital that you be realistic about your space. Small gardens can be beautiful, but not if they are jam-packed with overlarge plants and decorations; likewise, spacious yards require careful attention so they don’t appear desolate or sparse.
Regardless of the size of your garden, you should consider compartmentalizing different areas, such as entertainment space, play space, and decorative space. This tends to add order and comfort to outdoor areas.
3. Keep Pests at Bay
Pests never sleep: If locusts aren’t devouring your plants’ stems, worms are munching through their roots. If birds aren’t stealing your ripe veggies, rabbits and voles are pilfering the leafy greens. If bacteria aren’t killing your grass blade by blade, a fungus is turning it bright pink or dull gray. To keep your garden healthy, you must be diligent about keeping pests out, which might mean planting natural pest deterrents, like sage and marigold, or else using physical barriers like fences and nets.
4. Change With the Seasons
While it is possible to find evergreen plants and perennials that don’t require replanting, you can add vivaciousness to your outdoor spaces by switching some of your vegetation with the seasons. Here are some tips for gardening year-round:
Spring. Spring is the time of year to focus on your lawn. Most of the plant life in your yard will be turning bright green, so adding a few annual spring bulbs to your flower beds is advisable for variation in color.
Summer. Typically, your perennials will thrive during the summer, so you shouldn’t have to add much new vegetation. Still, you must pay attention to water levels, since the heat can dry out plants fast, requiring you to replace dead flowers and shrubs.
Fall. Cooler temperatures often kill container plants, so if you don’t want to move them inside all winter, you should swap in evergreens like Daphne shrubs.
Winter. This season tends to highlight your trees. Trees add structure and privacy to your garden while sheltering attractive (and beneficial) wildlife like owls.