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Springtime Is the Right Time for Backyard Landscaping

by Brett Freeman, All About Lawns Columnist

If you've decided that this is the year you're finally going to make your backyard landscaping great, the time to get started is now. Yes, it may still be cold outside. Sure, there's rain in the forecast. You're right, it is muddy out there. That just means conditions are perfect for you to get started on those backyard landscaping ideas you've been planning for years.

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  • Less weeds
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Don't Just Work, Work Smart

It can be tempting to throw on the gardening gloves and get busy the first weekend the temperature climbs into the 60s. But you'll save yourself a lot of effort if you take a little time to decide exactly what you want out of your backyard landscaping. Putting hardwood mulch or pine straw in planting beds can look great and protect your plants from excessive heat or drought, but it should be done after you do your planting and pruning. If you're planning on putting down a heavy ground cover such as gravel or river rock, make sure the ground is firm and dry, or your wheelbarrow could leave ruts and maybe even tip over. On the other hand, tasks such as planting trees, building planting beds, and installing borders are easier when the ground is wet and soft.

As you make your list of backyard landscaping ideas, be realistic. Working in the backyard can be a pleasure when the weather is still relatively cool. But do you want to do a lot of maintenance when the temperature creeps into the 80s? Or the 90s?

Take Time Now to Save Time Later

One effective way to decrease summertime maintenance is to install borders along your planting beds. The immediate effect of installing a border, whether plastic, manufactured stone, or natural stone, is to provide a bolder, more visually arresting degree of separation between your lawn and you planting beds. Later in the summer you'll appreciate them more, as they can save you work down the road by keeping your grass from spreading into the planting beds, and keeping your mulch from spilling onto your lawn.

If your backyard has a swing set, you might also want to consider putting a plastic border around its perimeter and replacing the grass underneath it with pine mulch. It's a softer landing surface, and let's face it: you're never going to get the grass to grow again under those swings.

After an entire winter cooped up indoors, most folks are dying to get outdoors again. Just be sure to get the most out of all that pent-up energy this year.


About the Author
Brett Freeman is a freelance journalist. He also owns a landscaping and irrigation company in North Carolina. Previously he has worked as a beat reporter, a teacher, and for a home improvement company, and he used to own a bar/live music venue.

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