A good landscaping project, whether it’s limited to the garden or extends beyond it, is a chance to unleash your inner Picasso. The artful expression available to a homeowner has few, if any, bounds. The biggest obstacle is often the indelible questions, “Where the heck do I start?”
The first step is to take a moment to dwell on your sense of style and how you can carve the outdoor aesthetic to help complement it. Think in terms of general artistic movements: classical, contemporary, minimalist, or modern. You may also want to consider some landscaping looks inspired by cultural influences: Japanese, old Spanish, or classic Americana.
The next step is to get to work. We know everyone is taking advantage of this time of year and time at home to spruce up their yards. Here are seven simple projects to get you started.
1. Plant a Flowering Vine
Flowering vines give you the best of multiple worlds. You get stunning, bright flowers as well as the kind of coverage you can shape, guide, and depend on to grace the lengths of virtually any façade you please. Best of all, they grow quickly, so you could see results right away. Many flowering vines produce flowers in cycles, with new ones popping up every few days. As the season progresses, the cycle continues, giving you fresh flowers in new locations for months at a time.
If left alone, flowering vines will explore in any direction that gives them access to sunlight. But with a little forethought and effort, you can turn them into sculpture. If you provide the vines with structure on which to grow, they will move along whatever trellis you design. You can also run them along a wall, entryway, or stone feature. As they grow, they use their own attachment process to adhere to whatever surface you choose. Whether you grab a morning glory, climbing rose, or even a big, dramatic bougainvillea, with a flowering vine, you’re well on your way to a quick, powerful landscaping transformation.
2. Set the Stage with a Sculptural Plant
Sculptural plants often act as statement pieces and cool conversation-starters that grab the eyes and imaginations of visitors. They add a modern touch to any landscaping project, thanks to their large size, dramatic colors and unique profiles. In warmer climates, you could consider a Madagascar Palm or a San Pedro cactus. The spiney, yet colorful euphorbia greenwood is particularly nice when viewed up close.
When in doubt, you can always throw up some bamboo, which will grow horizontally and create a natural fence-like structure.
3. Trim Your Trees
Trees are often taken for granted. In many cases, they were there long before you and your family. It’s easy to forget to trim and prune them. But beyond keeping them healthy and safe, trimming your trees can give them a shape that adds flavor to your landscaping. Here are some of the best reasons to trim and prune your trees:
- Encourage healthy growth
- Accentuate their natural shape, whether it’s round, cone-like, or oval
- Clear leaves and branches so desirable elements of your home or landscaping can be seen better
4. Plant Some Statement Shrubs
Shrubs are an old-standard of quality landscaping. They’re hardy, easy to care for, and adaptable to a variety of climates. Considering how much a good shrub can cover, they can also give you great bang for your buck. A boxwood or a dwarf yaupon holly can be used to cover over unsightly elements along the edges of your yard or house. When trimmed properly, they provide a shapely, façade-defining appearance to previously drab areas. Flowering shrubs like hydrangeas, weigelas, or andromedas can make a whole area explode with color while simultaneously providing cover and consistency to your landscaping.
5. Make Your Patio Pop with Dramatic Pots and Plants
Even if you prefer a straightforward, one-dimensional grass-covered yard, you can make your landscape’s social focal point, the patio, pop. The fastest and easiest way to redefine your patio space is to grab some statement pots and plants to match. Try the following:
- Oversized pots at least 18-inches tall at the corners of your patio
- Artistically designed pottery that compliments the overall milieu of the patio
- Dark pots to help accentuate brightly colored flowers planted inside
- Terracotta pottery to add a classical flavor to your patio’s look
6. Build a Rock Wall
Rock walls not only look great, but they provide a sense of permanence and stability to a home, boosting its curb appeal. They also make an attractive, friendly dividing line between you and your neighbors. You have two basic choices when building a rock wall:
- A dry-laid wall is built with stones stacked on top of each other. You choose each stone according to its shape and size, and the end result is a like three-dimensional puzzle. One advantage of a dry-laid wall is if the ground shifts and displaces a stone, you can just pick it up and put it back in place.
- A mortared wall is created by using mortar to hold the stones together. You also need a footing in place before you start. Thanks to the mortar, you don’t have to be quite as precise as you choose each stone and its location; the mortar can help fill crucial gaps.
7. Install Some Outdoor Artwork
Landscaping isn’t limited to natural elements. You can make your home’s exterior shine with some artful lighting fixtures or make it stand out with weather-resistant wall pieces. You can also choose sculptures that instantly transform your outdoor space into a mini-museum. Guests can explore each sculpture as they walk through your yard. You can also set them up to frame a more pleasant morning coffee area or an outdoor reading nook.
The exterior of your home can be as pleasing as the inside. You can also use landscaping to boost your home’s value. With a little work, some imagination, and the tips above, you can make your yard a true work of art.
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