9 Do's & Don'ts of Landscaping & Lawn Care for the First-Time Homeowner

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/26/16 10:00 AM

Topics: First Time Home Buyer DIY(Do it Yourself) Gardening and Landscaping Homeowner Tips

Owning your first home can be overwhelming as you adjust to the new responsibilities and tasks of homeownership. While you’re busy turning the interior of your house into your own home, don’t neglect the view of from the curb. Here are some beginner’s tips for making wise and budget-friendly choices when it comes to your landscape.

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Do pay attention to proper plant placement.

Don’t ignore the tag that comes along with your perennials; it’s there for a reason. A full shade plant needs to go in a full shade area. This rule also comes into play when planting trees. Not only do you need to call 811 before you dig, you’ll also need to take into account how tall and wide a tree is going to get.

Don’t cut grass too short.

One of the most common lawn care mistakes is mowing the lawn way too short. Longer grass blades mean deeper roots and grass with deep roots is more likely to withstand drought and fight off pests and disease. And contrary to common belief, mowing your grass to a shorter level does not mean you’ll get to mow less.

Do spread out your purchases.

Think of landscaping as a long-term investment. Though your home value and curb appeal grows as you add foliage, plants aren’t cheap. As first-time homeowners are often on a budget, focus your landscaping and gardening fund on items that will give you the biggest bang for your buck, like perennials.

You could also ask friends, neighbors or family members with perennial overgrowth to split their plants and transplant them into your own garden beds.

Do water at the right time.

Avoid watering during the hottest part of the day, typically from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The best time to water is between 6 and 10 a.m. because there is less wind, less direct sunlight and your lawn has longer to dry. Watering at night gives the chance for mildew and fungus to form, so if morning isn’t an option, try to water between 4 and 7 p.m.

Do purchase more than you think you need.

If you fall in love with a type of annual, buy a little more than you think you need. Sometimes plants fail even under the best care. Aim for success by planting a few backups.

Do set aside time for regular maintenance.

The truth is, proper and plentiful landscaping and garden beds require a lot of maintenance. From mulching and fertilizing to weeding and watering, you need to dedicate time out of your schedule to do these tasks.

If you don’t have much of a green thumb or prefer to keep your landscaping tasks to a minimum, invest in low maintenance plants for better success.

Don’t overlook lighting.

Landscaping isn’t all about the vegetation. Exterior lighting makes your yard and home more accessible and emphasizes all the hard work you’ve put into your home’s outward appearance. HGTV has several ideas for properly lighting your landscape.

Do compost.

Whether you plan on doing a vegetable garden or just want to give your flower beds a boost, composting is the way to go. Mulching with compost stabilizes pH levels in the soil, slowly releases nutrients over time, and makes soil easier to work with and less likely to erode. Check out our 1-step compost bin tutorial here.

Do make a plan.

Perhaps the biggest mistake homeowners make when it comes to their landscape is going at it haphazardly. Just like building a home or arranging furniture, you need to map out what is going to work with the space you have.

Start by making a list of needs and wants. Will you be starting a vegetable garden now or in the future? Do you need play space for kids or plan on putting up a playset? Will you utilize your deck as an outdoor living space? Will you add any walkways? Think about how you want your landscape to work for you.

Draw out a rough draft and slowly go forward with it. DIY landscaping is a process of trial and error.

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