After buying a new home, many homeowners start looking to personalize their yard. Maybe that new homeowner is you, or you are looking to revamp your yard before a sale, either way landscaping is in your future. In fact, a well maintained landscape can add as much as 12% to your home’s value.  If you decide to go with a contractor, make sure you have a plan of what you want ready before they arrive on the scene.

Landscaping your own yard isn’t difficult, and is so rewarding. Hello beautiful new curb appeal and outdoor living in the beautiful Southern California weather. These 8 tips will help make sure you are prepared to successfully landscape your yard.

1. Make a Plan

The first step to your perfect backyard is mapping out what it will look like. Where do you want your flowers, trees, and shrubs to be in the backyard? Are you planning on adding walkways? If so, where? Take a look at your yard and be realistic about what you can fit into it. Once you have a plan of the result you want, run it by a friend to make sure it’s as practical as you see it.

2. Empty Space is as Important as Planted Ground

Filling up all your open space with plants will make your yard look cluttered. Without the lawn or cement or brick space, your yard will look cluttered and unusable. And, even if you like the look of yard full of plants, by next spring you will have a nightmare of a time cleaning up the weeds and pruning the plants.

3. Know How Much You Need

It can be easy to underestimate how much soil, mulch, gravel, etc. you will need. Measure the space you will be filling to be better prepared to buy enough, and don’t forget about how deep you are going. Keep in mind that one ton of sand, dirt, or gravel can only cover about one cubic yard, or a space equivalent to about 3 feet by 3 feet, and 3 feet deep. Most likely you won’t be needing to fill a space deeper than a few inches, but make sure you take that into consideration when doing your measurements.

4. Properly Situate Planting Beds

If this is your first time landscaping a yard, be careful about where you put your planting beds and how small you make them. Don’t put them too close to a wall and make sure you make them wide enough to accommodate plants. Plants need space to plant roots and get nutrients from the soil, so keep them at least a foot from the wall and have the plant bed stretch out more than 4 feet.

5. Don’t Buy All At Once

Landscaping can become expensive. The best way to combat this problem is to spread out your purchases. Get the essentials for starting the garden and then buy plants as your budget allows. If you have saved up for this project, ignore this tip and buy all the plants

6. Consider Price Carefully

Be wary of buying fertilizer that’s too acidic or tools that will break just because they’re the cheapest. Ask for help from an employee or head online for advice on what the best and most affordable options are. However, sometimes, the cheaper items are just as good or better than the more expensive. There is no shortcut to knowing which is which. Be aware, ask questions, and educate yourself.

7. Like a Plant? Buy More Than One

Plants fail sometimes. If you fall in love with a flower or shrub buy 3 or more and plant them together. If they all survive, you’ll have a charming bouquet of flowers. But more likely is that only one or two will survive. Don’t break your heart over losing plants if you don’t have to, buy a few backups.

8. Don’t Over Water Anything

Over watering is a leading killer of many plants. Plants need the air pockets in soil to absorb nitrate gasses. Too much watering will drown your plant, grass especially. For grass, water it about 1 inch a week, or a little bit every day if it’s a hot time of year. Other plants vary in how much water they need. Read the packaging and check online to see how much water each needs.

Landscaping can be a giant project or it can be as simple as clearing away grass and planting flowers. Regardless of your project, be prepared with a plan and research on how to do it right. Once it’s all done, you’ll have a beautiful yard to relax in. When you decide to sell your home, having a well maintained yard will significantly increase it’s value. If you’re already ready to start the selling process, contact a First Team real estate agent today to get started.

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