10 Rules Every Homeowner Should Follow When Landscaping

Working to make our home beautiful is one of our top goals, not only the inside but the outside as well. Over the last several weeks, we have shared our problem area near the street where the grass was dead and the weeds had taken over. We installed a stone walkway and planted shade loving plants in landscape beds around the trees. Today we are wrapping it all up by installing the new sod and sharing landscaping tips with our 10 Rules Every Homeowner Should Follow When Landscaping.

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Everyone wants a yard that is beautiful and easy to take care of! These 10 Rules every homeowner should follow when landscaping will make it easy and fun for you! Click on the Photo to learn more!

Growing up, my Dad prided himself on how well groomed his yard was. So it has been a goal of ours to have a beautiful yard. Of course, I’m not sure we will ever come close to my Dad’s yard, but we are certainly trying. One of the things I remember doing as a young girl is laying on a blanket and picking out shapes in the clouds. That is difficult to do if your grass is not nice and soft. We are thrilled to share our new landscaping (& 10 Rules Every Homeowner Should Follow When Landscaping), complete with sod with you!

Everyone wants a yard that is beautiful and easy to take care of! These 10 Rules every homeowner should follow when landscaping will make it easy and fun for you! Click on the Photo to learn more!

In case you didn’t know, I’m very blessed to have a hubby who knows his way around soil, a shovel and landscaping. Doug has a degree in Agronomy, so today, he is sharing his landscaping tips with 10 Rules every Homeowner should follow when Landscaping!


Landscaping Tips

1.  Choose your style – The outside of your house should reflect your personal style as much as the interior of your home. Do you have formal parties with business associates? Is your style more casual and just go with the flow? Use your landscape to set the tone for visitors and friends alike.

2.  Design the landscape to work for you – There are some elements in every landscape design that should be thought through that most people don’t consider when designing their landscape that make maintaining it so much easier. Unless you are designing a formal garden, avoid designing beds with sharp curves and angles. These make mowing more difficult and necessitate the use of a trimmer when with some planning you could avoid. Additionally design so that the distance between the different elements of your landscape are far enough apart that your mowers and other equipment have room to maneuver through.


3.  Sketch out your ideas before doing anything else – Draw, redraw and redraw again if necessary. Getting your ideas down on paper will let you weed out all the unnecessary components and keep the elements that are really important to you.

4.  Plan for the future – Most of us quickly realize that doing your own landscaping is a labor of love, and we are fine with that. But there are few things more disheartening than spending time and money on one area of the yard and then realizing that when you want to make some changes you need to tear out plants and hardscaping that could have been avoided with a little future planning.

5.  Budget, Plus 15-20% – Be realistic when designing your project and keep in mind that there will be setbacks and unexpected expenses that will need to be addressed to finish the project. So be objective when setting the budget for your project. But try as you may to list every item you will need, you should add 15-20% to your budget to cover these expenses.

6.  Take care of problems before they finish you – This can include everything from amending the soil in the landscape beds with compost to improving the drainage of tight soils to prevent diseases. And let’s not forget about weeds, taking care of problem weeds with Weed & Grass Killer before you go through all the hard work of planting or sodding your yard.


7.  Plant in odd multiples – Years ago in college I took several courses that included basic landscaping rules and the single rule that I’ve never strayed away from is planting in odd multiples. It works well for interior design; doesn’t a group of three candles look better grouped together than just two? The same goes for plants so aim for 1’s, 3’s, 5’s, 7’s, 9’s. Now once you get into double digits you can relax the rule slightly but I’ve always strived for odds unless planting species like ivy, vinca and other ground cover.

8.  Plant in mass but don’t overcrowd – There’s no better way I know of making a statement in your landscape than by planting plant varieties in mass. This rule goes hand in hand with planting in odd multiples. Think of it this way, say you have two Hosta varieties that when mature have a 12 inch spread and the other has a 30 inch spread. To get a spectacular show you would need to plant a greater number of the 12 inch spread variety than the 30 inch variety. But don’t just plant for the sake of planting.

9.  Keep plant records with a drawing – After you have the last plant in the ground and before you clean up your tools, take the time to do a drawing with the placement of what you have just planted. Include plant names including the variety along with the planting date and where you purchased the plants from. All reputable greenhouses and stores have at least a one year guarantee on perennials, shrubs and trees and the information you record at this time will help when you have a plant that perishes due to natural means. This record is especially handy when you decide to plant Spring flowering bulbs and need to keep track of where you plant them.

10. Have a maintenance plan in place – After spending all that time and effort to make your yard look great you don’t want to drop the ball now. And with everyone’s busy schedules you can’t and don’t need to spend hours laboring in the midday sun to keep it looking how you intended. Understand that perennials will occasionally need to be divided and replanted to keep them healthy. And spot applications of weed and grass killer on the difficult to control weeds will take the worry out of maintaining your beds.

Everyone wants a yard that is beautiful and easy to take care of! These 10 Rules every homeowner should follow when landscaping will make it easy and fun for you! Click on the Photo to learn more!

Wow, what a difference! Do you love it as much as I do?

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  1. I like that you said that the outside of your house should reflect your personal style. I think that if your yard is how you want it then you might appreciate it more for longer. If I was redoing my yard then I would want to make a plan to customize it how I want.

  2. Thanks for the great tips on keeping your landscape looking great. I hadn’t thought about having a maintenance plan in place after spending your time making sure your landscape looks good the first time. I will keep this in mind but if I get too busy I will have to hire someone.

  3. Great article for DIY crowd. I couldn’t help but think of the flip side of “how to” rules by considering things to avoid i.e. mistakes homeowners make when attempting to design and landscape their homes. A couple I would suggest would be:

    1) Don’t go to the nursery and fall in love with plants and not know where you are going to plant them.
    2) Not researching plants as to mature height and width, hardiness and sun/shade tolerances.

  4. Wow, that is such an amazing transformation— I love it! your advice was really great too. Right now I’m trying to figure out how I want my backyard to look, but I’m having a little bit of trouble with the planning phase. When I get a chance, I’ll definitely try sketching out the design I want. Hopefully that will help me envision my new yard more clearly.

    1. We are currently working on a backyard makeover, so stay tuned for more inspiration. If you subscribe to our gardening emails, you will receive the information.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. This is a great article. I am not sure if you listed them in your order of importance but point number 1 really is the most important. Don’t pick bits of pieces from different landscape supply shops and try to make them fit together, instead pick a theme and shop around the theme style to ensure a consistent and more professional look once you are done.

    I also like your tip of “avoid designing beds with sharp curves and angles” this ties in well with point 10 regarding maintenance. It is much easier to mow a circle or curves then it is a square or sharp angle, plus more times than not, curves look better than square looks in regards to landscaping given it can be difficult to line up all the different angles to ensure they complement each other.

  6. When we bought our house, our gardens were a mess! I’ve been working on one big project a summer trying to get it the way I want. Thanks for the great tips!

  7. Great tips! I need to work on the landscape at my house. Pinned and tweeted. Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday, hope to see you again next week!

    1. Madeline from HoosierHomemade says:

      Thank you, Chelc!

  8. Your transformation is amazing – I’ve been looking for inspiration myself as we need to work on our “curb appeal”. Thanks for providing these guidelines – very helpful!

  9. Deborah Dobrian says:

    We recently had a lot of hard scape work done to the entire backyard. Raise deck (south end) concert work to the west side & south yard to address some drainage issues. We had inside of fence (3) Austrian Pine (1) tree that in summer has a 3-4 foot canopy & on the east corner & west corner outside fence a Pondasrosa pine – which are now almost 20′ tall. Now I need to address the soft scape of our back yard. I would like a flower bed on east side and some scrubs along the southwest wall of house below Windows and some perennials below the deck on the facing south. We have a casual home and want the same for our yard which permits casual entertaining & cook outs. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Madeline from HoosierHomemade says:

      Which plants you choose is personal preference. Just make sure to check the hardiness zones: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

      If you head to your local nursery they will have lots of ideas on what grows well in your area and what grows well together!

  10. Pingback: Planning for a Landscaping Project? Check Out These Tips
  11. We just bought a 1930s house on 1 acre. We have a wide front yard to spruce up plus a Huge backyard. So big is almost overwhelming to even start! Right now it just looks unkept instead of pretty an trim. Gathering as much information and ideas before we even think of starting! Thanks for the info!

  12. Very good advice! What alternatives to herbacide do you have for organic gardeners that want to keep weeds under control easily?

    1. Douglas Latham says:

      Sarah, the best option for controlling weeds organically is to use full strength vinegar with some dish soap added to help it stick to the leaves of the weeds better. There are a wide range of opinions out there on the mixing ratio you should use but a good starting point is adding one(1) tablespoon of dish soap per gallon of vinegar and then applying it with a handheld sprayer.

      A little more information, this works best when applied in full sun but it will work in shady or overcast conditions like you may have on the west coast. It is also a non-selective treatment, which means it will injure or kill desirable plants if you overspray them so it works best in non lawn areas like gardens and landscaped areas.

      This treatment only kills the top growth so multiple applications may be needed to kill some plants.

      I hope this answers your question. Let me know if you need any more information.

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