Kristin's Fundamental Tips


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 Have a plan
It is easy to get excited while in the garden stores. Bringing home plants and randomly digging holes will result in making you feel unsuccessful. Start with a plan.

 Be realistic about what you can handle
It may look good on paper to put in that water feature, those perennials, or that fence, but who will maintain these things over the years? 

 Focus on the basics first
Take the time to invest in the building blocks of a good landscape: soil, drainage, hardscape (structures) and well-chosen trees and shrubs.  The fun stuff (i.e. exotics, perennials, annuals) comes later.

 Consider Native Plants
Intersperse native perennials/shrubs/trees (indigenous varieties) throughout your landscape plan. They tend to perform better than their exotic relatives and will make you feel more successful as a gardener!

 Personalize your landscape
Your landscape says a lot about your personal style. Have fun with the design!  Straight lines can be boring – go curvy!  Don’t do what the neighbors did – make your yard your own work of art.

 Think about the end user(s)
Planning a formal garden when you have youngsters and several pets may not be practical.  Be sure to take into account who will be using the garden and if someone is doing the planning for you, let him/her know this from the start.

 Let there be light!
Lighting should always be a part of your initial landscape plan – not an afterthought.  At the very least, you need lighting at entrances, exits and pathways for safety.  Light can enhance the utility of your landscape for play and entertaining in the evening.  

 Give careful consideration to going organic
At a time when the world is realizing the impact we are all having on the environment, acting responsibly locally is the first step.  Using chemicals is not necessary for achieving a healthy garden.  Consult the extension office, the web, or a local organic expert for recommendations.

 Don’t get sticker shock
Be realistic about landscaping costs.  If you haven’t been out shopping for landscape lately, get some estimates.  Re-landscaping an entire yard can cost as much as remodeling an entire kitchen.  The enhancement to your property value is just as significant.  Hire reputable landscapers to do the work.