All you need to know about landscaping


Smart landscaping can add interest to your lawn and boost your curb appeal. But you don't need to break the bank to make a big impression. Use these professional tips to add color, texture, functionality, and points of interest to your landscape.

Plan for Year-Round Appeal

Evergreen shrubs retain their leaves or needles all year long, so they’re constantly providing cover and color. "This gives you some interest even in the winter," says Rich Cording Jr., co-owner of CLC Landscape Design, Inc., in Ringwood, N.J. He says evergreen plants advantageously placed near the house, such as in front of corners, can help soften the vertical lines of the house, giving it a more inviting appearance.

"For 12 months out of the year, you soften those vertical lines," Cording says. "With evergreen material, you’re always going to have curb appeal."

Connect Points of Interest With a Walkway

Instead of trampling down the lawn, resulting in a makeshift path of dead grass between your patio, fire pit, and garden, create an attractive walkway using concrete stepping stones, natural flagstone, decorative brick, or crushed stone. "It’s all about connecting elements in your landscaping to pull those elements together," says Craig Trenary, owner of Terra Forma Design in Bloomington, Minn.

Trenary advises constructing a pathway, walkway, or any other landscaping feature from material that’s the same or similar to what’s used on the exterior of the house, such as a brick or stone, because it will tie the path aesthetically to the home. Or use the material to provide a striking edging along the walkway.

Break up a Monotonous Yard With a Big Rock

A simple way to make a statement with your lawn is to plunk down a giant rock or two. We’re talking about the kind of rocks that are too big to fit in your truck bed. "Having a certain type of boulder in the landscape will break up the monotony with a different material," Trenary says.

Not sure what type of rock to get or where to put it? Trenary says to ask a pro. "It gets you going on the right path," he says, adding that a consultation with a landscaping expert can cost $35 to $90 for an hour. Bringing in pictures of the yard and even measurements can help the pro make recommendations for your property.

Bring a Corner to Life with a Berm

One way to add pizzazz to the landscape is to build a berm, a mound that you can cover with a rock or flower garden. Berms add color and texture to an otherwise flat, plain lawn with colored stone, flowers, or foliage. They can also add height by being built as a mound. You can place them anywhere, although they’re especially effective in corners of the lawn.

"I find that the corners are often unused areas of the landscape," Cording says. "A berm can let you arrange flowers in the lawn on an unused space.

Make a Water Feature Look Natural

A water feature, even a small, self-contained unit that stands alone on a patio, should look like it belongs in its surroundings, Trenary notes. "You can use natural stone to build it up," he adds. "You can use the same stone or material that you find on the house."

However, Trenary advises not to use too many materials or the effort may backfire. "A good rule is to use no more than three elements in one area, or the area can get too busy and work the opposite way for you."

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