Spring is the perfect time of year to update your landscape design by planting new perennial plants, adding to the visual appeal by putting up a gazebo or a water feature, and sprucing up existing plants and shrubs. Landscaping increases the curb appeal of your home and serves to create an outdoor space you and your family enjoy.
Whether you are new to landscaping or looking for new ideas to add to your lawn or garden, spring is the perfect time to get started. Some plants, bulbs, and flowers do best when planted in the spring. Color is an essential part of the visual appeal of your landscape design, so the first step is deciding what colors you want to add.
Bulbs planted in the spring will be ready to bloom throughout the summer months. There are a few tips for planting bulbs to ensure that they grow strong and healthy. The depth you plant the bulb should be approximately two and a half times the depth of the bulb. So, if a bulb is two inches tall, you would plant the bulb about five inches below the surface. Most bulbs prefer well-drained soil, so avoid any soggy areas in your yard. Compost will help nourish your bulbs, so add a few shovelfuls of compost to the area where you will do your planting.
Hardy bulbs that do not require extensive maintenance to do well include:
- Chinese Ground Orchids—these orchids only grow to about 18-inches in height and do best in shady areas. They come in purple, lavender, and white and will eventually develop an entire colony.
- Hardy Begonia—as the name implies, these bulbs produce a low maintenance flowering plant that reaches approximately two feet in height. These Begonias can survive cold winters and come back to bloom year after year.
- Oriental lilies—these beautiful flowers make a great focal point in your lawn or garden. They come in a broad range of heights and colors and will need to be staked as they grow. The flowers they produce are heavy, and they will need extra support.
Perennial flowers, in a riot of colors, scream that spring is finally here. Pansies are a classic favorite, used in beds, containers and window boxes. They can take full sun or partial shade, and last well into the depths of summer. If you have a woodland theme, the Bloodroot perennial is a great choice. The plant produces a white flower that lasts well into late spring or early summer, and thrive in shaded areas.
If you have never tried organic gardening techniques, this year is the perfect time to give it a try. One of the many benefits of organic gardening is that it makes sense to leave some part of your outdoor space vacant to allow wildlife to thrive. Leaving an area wild means less work, but adds a place of visual interest with no effort. Birds and insects that will thrive in this area will help pollinate your plants, and they will reduce pests that cause damage.
Other organic gardening ideas include:
- Use three inches of mulch in organic beds. Mulch serves to keep weeds from growing, retains moisture in the soil and nourishes your plantings.
- Consider the bio-intensive technique for a gorgeous look, or if you are planting in limited space. Biointensive planting places all plants close together, which prevents weed growth and saves water. Do your research about what plants thrive in tight confinement. You can combine things such as Tuscan Kale, Swiss chard, beets, and colorful herbs. These combinations give your garden a unique look while providing delicious organic food.
- Water conservation, or even restrictions, are critical considerations in some areas. An organic, environmentally friendly way to water plants is to recycle a pretty bottle by filling it with water, then turning it upside down quickly and shoving it into the soil. The water will slowly leak out, providing a constant source of slow watering.
- Use recycled cardboard to choke out weeds in your garden. Clear your space, cut the cardboard to fit your area, then layer with mulch and compost. The best part is that the cardboard will decay, nourishing the soil as it does.
- Be creative in creating containers for your garden. Old boots, no longer needed handbags, wine crates, or salvaged wood can all be turned into one-of-a-kind containers that are budget and environmentally-friendly.