Ringing in Spring

As warmer weather settles over the Tri-State after a chilly spring, homeowners are eager to head outside and tend to their gardens. Here are a few tips to help get you started.

Start with a plan. This may sound simple, but a lot goes into laying out a landscape. I recommend working with a professional to guide you through the process. First, consider how you intend to use the space, factoring in kids, dogs, site issues, and any special features you want in your garden.

Show your personality. Much like dressing yourself in the morning, a landscape is how you dress your home. Incorporate your favorite plants, colors, and accent pieces. If you are more traditional, plant a formal garden; if you are more eclectic, mix it up with an unpredictable plant selection.

Treat your landscape as an extension of your home. A landscape is far more than a few plants along the foundation of the house, and there are many ways to divide the space up into smaller, usable spaces like you would find inside the home.

Aim to touch your senses. The best way for people to connect with nature is by not only seeing it, but by feeling it, hearing it, smelling it, and even tasting it.

Budget. Installing a landscape is a labor-intensive project. Whether you do it yourself or pay a professional, be prepared for the costs that can be involved. Remember that you can complete your landscape in phases, and it is best to do it right the first time and work toward your end plan.

Choose wisely. When shopping for plants, make sure they will fit the conditions (size, lighting, moisture, etc.) for the designated space. Plan for a succession of color so you can add interest from early spring all the way through winter.

Add interest. Incorporate accent elements into the landscape. Water features create a relaxing sound and add movement to the garden. Lighting also can change the atmosphere of the garden at night and extend the time you spend outdoors enjoying the warm evenings.

Maintain it. Everyone wants a maintenance-free garden, but let’s face it: There always will be routine tasks needed to keep your landscape in order. To help with weed control, add a pre-emergent herbicide such as Preen. This will inhibit seeds from germinating, meaning fewer weeds to pull later. Ensure that your plants have a good layer of mulch to hold in moisture and control the weeds. Finally, regularly water and prune to keep your plants at an acceptable size.

— Brian Wildeman is a designer with Landscapes by Dallas Foster and Keep Evansville Beautiful’s 2010 community volunteer of the year.

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