Top 10 Ways To Revitalize Your Landscape (In a not-so-great economy)

Hey! Just because you may be strapped for money this year doesn’t mean that you can’t add some excitement to your landscape.  There are numerous things that you can do that won’t break the bank, but will give your yard that new sparkle and curb appeal that you can feel good about. For 2012, here are the “Top 10” things you can do to revitalize your landscape on a budget.

  1. Divide and conquer.  Double the amount of plants in your planting bed by splitting up your clumping perennials (e.g. daylilies) and ornamental grasses.  Just take a shovel and make a clean split right down the middle (or even into thirds for really big plants).

    By digging and splitting bulbous plants you can easily start new populations and spread plants throughout your gardens.
  2. Give it an edge.  Take a shovel or edger and give all of your beds a clean edge – you’ll be amazed what a simple, clean line can do to a planting bed.
  3. Trading spaces.  Plants tend to grow how they want to, and not necessarily how we intended.  Move around those shrubs that are too big for their space or give your perennials that are being shaded out a fighting chance.
  4. Focal element.  Add or replace an existing focal element in your planting bed or landscape.  This could be a new plant of your choosing or something material, like a scrubbed up bird feeder, sculpture or whatever art project is hiding in your garage that needs a seasonal home.

    A colorful birdbath accents native bee balm – a perfect rest stop for hummingbirds and other pollinators!
  5. Clone your favorite.   You want to add a hedge row but don’t want to spend a lot – take cuttings of the shrub you want to propagate (some work better than others) and get started on growing your own shrubs.  This method takes time and patience, but you can’t beat the value.
  6. Plant swap.  Get together with friends, family and neighbors and swap a couple of your plants for new ones.  You’ll not only have new plants, but special reminders of your loved ones too.
  7. Add some detail. For everyone with a plain concrete pad in the backyard – it doesn’t have to be that way!  For a weekend’s worth of hard work, you can turn your boring patio into a cool, interesting space just by using leftover building materials, like bricks or stone, to add a detailed edging.  This not only increases the space you have, but makes it unique as well.

    Build an attractive border around an unsightly concrete pad, add potted plants, and you’ve got a re-vamped backyard seating area.
  8. Get your shears.  Just a simple trim can make your yard look like new.  Lightly shape up shrubs and limb up trees to give your spaces some definition.
  9. Start with seeds.  Seeds are inexpensive and a great way to add annual color to your planting beds.  Don’t be shy – plant on the heavy side and thin them out as they come in.
  10. Break out the brushes.   This may be the most labor intensive of the list, but it probably needs to be done at some point.  A good staining or painting, and an attractive fence can make all the difference.

Dena Chandler, LEED AP

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