Spring Garden Makeover: Elevate Your Gardening Game

If you’ve looked at your front yard and thought, “Hmmm, this really needs a makeover!” but you’re not sure how to connect with your inner landscape architect, don't worry - spring is a great time to find simple ways to add curb appeal to your home.

If you’re new at this, begin with a good landscape design. That should include “hardscape” elements, like rocks, walls, patios, or water features. Now consider your “softscape” elements, such as gardens, lawns, shrubs, and trees.

Think also about where you live, because your climate has a huge impact on what you can successfully plant in your yard. Consult the USDA zone map to find your zone, and that will help you figure out whether your yard will be tropical or if you should concentrate on plants that can take temperature extremes on both ends.

While you’re looking up your zone, think about what you want your yard to be. Do your kids need play space? Would you like a family outdoor dining area? A vegetable garden? A space for the dog to play? A fire pit?  Once you’ve come up with a list of needs and wants, take the next design step. 

There are five basic elements that you should incorporate into your design.

  • Color: This is the most important element. Combine flowers with warm and cool colors or choose a color and keep it unified. 
  • Form: Consider the shapes of the plants and the way they branch out and grow. Trees do much more than just grow upwards; decide whether you want them to grow stiffly upright or droop down, or perhaps somewhere in between. The possibilities are endless.
  • Texture: This is primarily a visual element, focusing on a plant’s leaf size and shape. 
  • Line: Arranging the borders of your various flower beds directs the movement of the eye. You can use a line of trees as a wall to create a boundary, or a certain plant grouping. Other examples of lines are the use of fences, garden paths, patio borders, or pole-mounted bird houses. 
  • Scale: The components of your design should be in proportion to the adjacent elements. For example, if you have a smaller yard, make sure your choices are all proportional to the space. 

Focal points add “wow” factor 

A good garden design has a specific focal point, or perhaps even a few. It could be a sculpture, a water feature, a particularly beautiful tree or a cluster of shrubs. This is your center of attention, and this is what will stand out most in the minds of your visitors. 

Without a strong focal point, your visitors will not understand the space, its purpose or the atmosphere you intend to create. If you have a larger space with multiple focal points, just be sure they complement each other, rather than fight each other for attention. 

Vego Garden modern raised garden bed
Vego Garden modern raised garden bed

Landscaping do’s and don’ts

  • Do make a good plan, and perhaps show it to a more experienced landscaper for a second opinion. 
  • Do educate yourself about the needs of every plant, shrub or tree that you’re including in your design. Know the mature height and width of your plants. 
  • Do get rid of the dying shrubs or plants you may already have in your yard. 
  • Do consider shade structures for sun protection. 
  • Don’t disregard your environment. Ignoring nature will prove costly and time consuming. 
  • Don’t forget about drainage. That can lead to lawn diseases, pests, or other problems.
  • Don’t overplant, or plant shrubs or trees too close to the house. Shrubs retain moisture, which accelerates the deterioration of nearly everything near it. Some trees have very aggressive root systems and can cause structural damage to your home.

Looking at an empty yard can seem both daunting and exciting. Transforming your backyard into a beautiful oasis that complements your surroundings adds to your quality of life—and will add to the value of your house when it comes time to put it on the market.

Think strategically about your space and how you intend to use it, and remember, careful planning and designing can make your yard picturesque, relaxing, and easy to maintain.  


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