Are you ready to tackle your outdoor projects?  Here are some basic tips to make your gardening adventures a snap.

1.  Have A Plan:  One of the biggest landscaping mistakes people make is to start digging before they have a plan.  Give some thought to your particular landscape.  What are it's strengths?  It's weakness?  What feature would you like to have?  Planning your landscape before you start to plant can keep you from having to change course when you're half way through.

2.  Landscape To Your Location:  As much as you might love the sun loving plants, they just won't do well in the shade.  Before you invest in a multitude of plants, do your research.  Talk to a landscape professional about your area and what type of plants might work best.  You'll get much more enjoyment out of your landscape and enjoy minimal upkeep.

3.  Go With What Works:  While we all want to have the best yard on the block, your landscaping needs to be functional as well.  A relaxing sitting are might look great under that big tree but if it's too far away from the rest of the yard, it may not get used as much as you had hoped.  Likewise, a retailer that hopes to add some aesthetically pleasing walkways will want to make sure that they're still convenient for the customers.  By all means, pick plants and accents that you like but make sure that your vision allows you to get as much functionality out of your choices as possible.

4.  Remember Your Pets:  There are some plants and materials that are toxic to pets so if your prized pooch will be roaming the yard on a regular basis, make sure you've planned your landscape accordingly.

5.  Mulch:  Different mulches provide different benefits.  Bark and woodchips, for example, are good for providing insulation and drainage while stones and rocks are more suitable around trees and hedges.  Some mulches also add to the nutrient value of your soil giving an added boost of vitamins to your plants throughout the year.

6.  Be Creative:  Your landscape isn't limited to grass and a few flower beds.  Fountains, ponds, sculptures and other landscaping accessories can make an ordinary space become extraordinary.  Try stepping-stone walkways, arbors, gates and other structural pieces to give your landscape direction and depth.

7.  Irrigate:  While you want an attractive landscape, you don't want to spend all your time watering it.  Talk to a professional about proper irrigation so you won't have to worry about getting enough water to your plants.  Bear in mind, trees and shrubs will require different attention since their roots go much deeper than those of grass and flowers.

8.  Use Lighting:  Lighting not only improves your ability to see where you're walking, it also add an elegant touch to any landscaping style and allows you and your guests the outdoors no matter what time it may be.  

9.  See Into The Future:  Your landscape is going to look different five years from now so take that into account when you're mapping your layout.  Trees and bushes will have matured and you may find that what was once a sunny spot now actually has quite a bit of shade.  When planting long-term, think about how the plants will affect your yard in the years to come.

10.  Be Original:  Creating a landscape is like creating a work of art - each one is an original.  Or, at least, it should be.  There may be similar pieces from place to place, but each landscape should have it's own unique qualities.  When planning your landscape, forget what your neighbors are doing and find your own look.  Try different themes - country or Mediterranean for example - and experiment with benches, steps and awnings.  Factor in your normal outdoor activities and you'll end up with an outdoors that suits you perfectly.

Of course, we are ready, willing and able to help you with any of these areas should you find that you need it.



ICON Landscape Development LLC   |   371 Oak Ridge Road   |    Oak Ridge, NJ 07438   |    Tel. 973.697.7769    |    Fax. 973.697.7767

New Jersey Licensed Home Improvement Contractor:# 13VH03873300   |   2007 - all rights reserved