Having your own plot of land is a great privilege, even if it’s just your yard that we’re talking about. Here, you have so much freedom to tame nature and make it bend to your own will and inclinations. Most importantly, you have a chance to reclaim a small piece of outdoors that your ancestors called their home eons ago.
In modern terms, with the right landscaping, you can get the most value out of your property, potentially even raising its resale value. Here’s how you do it.
1. Analyze soil and understand your climate
Getting a soil analysis is something that a lot of people fail to do for a number of reasons. The majority of people are unaware that this is even a thing. After all, can’t you just plant something, water it, and watch it grow?
Sure, but you can do things much more efficiently than that.
You see, taking your soil for analysis just once can give you such a head start. First, it can help you figure out what your soil lacks in terms of nutrients and structure. This way, you can either add various soil amenities or you can just find something that can thrive even under these circumstances.
Most importantly, this is quite inexpensive and doesn’t require a complex process. This means that you can check nutrient levels on a regular basis. This will help you avoid over-fertilization, which already gives you two major advantages. First, it prevents over-fertilization, which means that you’ll save quite a bit of money on fertilizers. Second, it minimizes the environmental impact.
This analysis can even give you more insight into your current water saturation and drainage, which will give you a chance to adjust your irrigation system further (something we’ll discuss a bit later on).
2. Learn how to make compost
If you’re really into organic landscaping, you have a lot to learn about composting and mulching. First, you need a compost bin that you’ll place in a designated area. You can either buy it or make it yourself since it’s really not a piece of high-tech equipment.
Then, you need the right ingredients. Generally speaking, what you need are carbon sources that can usually be found in “brown” materials. We’re talking about shredded newspaper, cardboard, twigs, straw, etc.
You also need sources of nitrogen, which you’ll get from green materials. Tea bags, grass clipping, fresh garden waste, and vegetable peels will all do the trick. You can get this even from eggshells.
In other terms, the only two food leftovers that you can’t use for composting are milk and dairy products.
Remember that you want to kickstart microbial activity in the compost bin, which is why you want to add some water to the mix. Most importantly, you have to mix it all and aerate the compost. The majority of people use a common pitchfork for this, while you can get a specialized compost-turning tool.
3. Improve irrigation
When it comes to irrigation, you have to carefully balance between wasting water and hitting just the right spot in terms of soil saturation. Too much water can sometimes be as bad as not enough water, which is why a lot of property owners look for professionals to install their landscape irrigation.
The first step should always be the soil analysis. You need to check how saturated your soil is and if the plants that you’ve chosen have enough water. Then, you need an irrigation system to supplement it.
The best way to approach it (even though it’s a bit more expensive) would be to install a smart irrigation system. This way, you can program the exact amount of water you want to be used and even control it remotely.
Still, it would be naive to assume that you need to employ so much technology for one of the first agricultural setups that humans have ever invented. Just remember that regardless of what you choose to do with the irrigation, something has to be done.
4. Learn about proper lawn care
Proper lawn care is definitely the skill that will determine the overall aesthetics of the majority of your yard. After all, your lawn is the largest surface in the yard, and it serves as a background for anything else you decide to “plant” there.
First, you need to learn a thing or two about mowing, that is, unless you decide to go with instant turf.
Even if you do want is shorter, you should never cut more than one-third of the height of the grass at a time. This way, you’ll destroy its ability to be self-sustainable and cause it to dry out.
As for the watering, it’s better to water deeply and less frequently rather than shallowly and often. This better replicates the cycle of water in nature. Also, you will ideally water it in the early morning (which you can program with the right irrigation system).
As for the fertilization, you should adjust it to the season and avoid overfertilizing.
5. Plan your design and set up a focal point
Another thing you should consider is planning your overall design and layout. If you want flower beds, you need to know how many, how tall, and how they’re going to be aligned.
You also need to decide how much lawn will you have and what will be its layout. Some people choose to split it into segments using hedges or by paving a path. This can lead to some interesting patterns but makes lawn care somewhat more difficult.
One of the most important tasks is to pick a focal point. In some yards, this is a gazebo or a fountain. The thing is that this is a central point, the one that attracts the most attention and gives character to surrounding structures.
This task is far more complex than it seems, which is why a lot of property owners look for professionals to help them out.
6. Wrap up
In the end, proper landscaping takes a lot of work, but when done right, it can increase the value of your property quite drastically. Even better, it can increase the amount of pride and pleasure that you get from it, which is what this is all supposed to be about. Lastly, it helps you do all this in an organic, cost-effective, and ethical manner. It’s a clear win-win scenario if there ever was one.