I never even thought about having a pro do a consultation and design. I always figured if you consulted a pro it was to have them do all the work too which was obviously out of our budget. We designed our own yard plan and I do like it but I could see how a pro would have a more critical eye for details than we did. I will have to keep this in mind when we purchase a larger place someday.
A woodland backyard near Chicago designed by Hursthouse Landscape Architects and Contractors features pavers and shredded bark. Care was used to respect the existing trees while also creating additional privacy for the homeowners. Plants include Annabelle hydrangeas, Pachysandra 'Green Carpet' ground cover, and Mission Arborvitae evergreen shrubs. 
Your home may be your castle, but rather than surround it with a moat, use any of these ten wonderful yard landscaping ideas to add warmth, color, and texture to the place you love to live. From growing blooming shrubs, to planting annuals and perennials, to deer-proofing your garden, there are many beautiful and wonderful ways to make your home inviting and appealing. Some of our best landscaping ideas include adding height with planters and baskets, and creating spaces where outdoor party guests can sit, relax, and enjoy drinks and company. Each of these yard landscaping ideas is both attractive and functional, so let them stir your imagination. Then, use our best landscaping ideas to help you create the stunning outdoor living spaces you know you will cherish.
Another thing about lawn care watering: I have discovered that if you are going to water an inch, it is better to water half an inch, wait 90 minutes and then water another half an inch. Maybe do this once a month. Sometimes when the soil gets really dry, it will repel water. This is called "superdeflocculation" (I think Mary Poppins would be impressed with this word!). If you put a little water in first, wait, and then put more, the soil is better prepared to take in more water.
You can grow your very own mini-orchard on the balcony of your apartment. There are a number of fruits that are well-suited to apartment gardening and grow beautifully outdoors in a pot or window box. For most of these, you’ll need a pot that’s at least 30″ in diameter and has holes for drainage. You’ll need at least 1 foot in depth, plus room for good drainage material, like pebbles or stones. And don’t forget something like a pan underneath to catch any water, especially if there’s another balcony below yours. Apartment gardening means being a good neighbor, as well. Here are some fruits that you can grow:
Retaining walls are a great way to create levels of interest in your backyard. You can use them to create a raised garden to surround your entertaining space or make a quiet corner to relax. Retaining walls are also a good way to flatten out areas of a sloping block and add extra space for the kids to play or for you to entertain. Depending on the look you want, retaining walls can be built from logs or treated pine sleepers. You can also use purpose-built materials for retaining walls that are interlocking, long lasting and come in a range of colours.
Having a container that looks immaculate does not have to mean sourcing an antique or making an expensive purchase—although you may want to look at some of the beautiful, historical containers that remain available to the present day. If a simple approach that only looks like it cost a pretty penny is more your style, there is always a way to update your standard plastic planter. A gel stain was applied to this pot for a richer finish. It was then filled with a selection of Ivy, Ferns, Impatiens, and Caladiums, for a bold, multilevel container design that is both elegant and affordable.
Sometimes design is actually all about the form rather than the function—like when plants with distinctive visual features create amazing sights in a gorgeous garden setting. For such an approach to work, you’ll have to pay special attention to how the forms work together. For this design, textural plants construct a beautiful sense of high drama. This homeowner helped to create this sensation by adding spiky and vertical plants, such as ornamental grasses and caladiums, to her pots. Against the vast, multileveled, linear expanse of her back garden, with its beautiful pool, she created a sense of lightness and height simply by using plants that were always reaching towards the sky. Let your container gardens aim high!
Choosing the best plants, grasses, mulches and soil blends all differ by the region you are in.  Typically, local landscapers will have amassed this knowledge over time.  If you’re doing your own landscaping work, you may find conflicting knowledge about what to do simply because different authors live in different areas, and are only familiar with the best practices for their own area.  If you do decide to DIY, be sure to check out sites like WikiLawn Lawn Care and Plant Native that provide locally relevant information, as well as your state’s turfgrass extension.

We're making our list of Container Gardening Ideas great with a tip that will have you thinking outside the box—or planter. Consider using a cast-concrete pool for a miniature garden. You’ve probably already considered these for many other garden design applications, but they are far better suited to container gardening than you might have imagined. Because these pools are made to accommodate plumbing, there are already holes in the bottom that allow for drainage. Make use of what seems like a fortuitous accident, and capitalize on their often-wonderful designs. Then place plants like hostas, violas, and blue phlox straight in. They’ll grow wonderfully in their new pool that’s become a smart new planter.
If you are looking for a simple but fantastic summer gathering decorating idea, one of the best is to add color to your outdoor party with potted plants. In the heat of the season in the South, there’s no need for a patterned tablecloth here. Potted petunias will add all the beautiful color you need under the glass-top dining table, and make a show stopping, sensational and unexpected addition to your outdoor party décor. These planters have a simple curved wrought-iron base that works well with the simple glass top of the table, but you can match the container to your own personal design and decorating style.

Go-to grasses and can't-fail lantanas mark the advent of a bright new season. And the coming of fall doesn’t mean the end of container garden beauty. It simply means you have to pay new attention to what needs to be planted—and where. Consider moving your planters indoors; consider plants like fountain grass, which is sun-loving and forgiving; and add in some lantanas, or some sweet potato vines, for color, thrill, and excitement. Focus on your fall containers too. Use bright pops of color, particularly if you plan to bring your containers inside. Or, use a clean neutral, like black, or white, and let the flowers and foliage truly shine. 
Get out the wire patterns and get ready to make some amazing shapes because once you have boxwood in your container garden you will want to give them their own unique identities. Boxwood’s willingness to be clipped, shaped, and trained makes it the perfect candidate for a classic topiary. There are guides for learning tips and tricks to achieve the perfect topiary design. We’ve got images of the amazing topiary skills of Pearl Fryar—and you may one day wish to emulate his creative skills—so get clipping, and with skill and patience you’ll soon have your boxwood topiaries in tip-top shape.
There are do-it-yourself kits available from some lawn care services or lawn and garden shops. The cooperative extension offices in many states will also test soil for free or for a low fee. Private companies also provide kits and testing for a fee. Once you get the results returned, you will see what you may need to add to the soil in order to get the lawn of your dreams.

If you are thinking about doing this lawn care thing as a bidness, then I would like to point you toward my buddy Patrick's lawn care business stuff. He has been helping folks make a go at lawn care income for damn near ten years. He provides all sorts of bean counting, newsletters, advertising and ... the center showpiece, lawn care software. As an added bonus, for every 100 people that click on this stuff, Patrick has agreed to give me pie. You want me to have to have pie don't you?

Nothing ruins the view in a small backyard faster than a set of garbage cans blown over in the wind. Instead of having your garbage in plain sight, build a wooden surround to keep them contained. Here, a set of stylish wooden panels camouflages the homeowners garbage with a little space left over for bags of potting soil and extra garden tools. When the gate panel is closed, everything is completely hidden.
A month after we received our plans, a local nursery had a 40%-off “going out of business” sale.  With the designer's list in hand, we were able to purchase about a third of our total plant materials at a substantial discount. We were worried because we weren't anywhere near ready to put them into the ground yet. Fortunately, we live in a mild climate, and the plants survived several months in pots. 

Or opt for hard non-gardening materials to contrast with the softness and monotony of nature’s green. “Make a table using an oversized flower pot or lobster trap filled with something that represents your passion — golf balls, sea shells — and cover the container with a wood or glass top,” says Fraynd. “These can be fun to talk about and give a unique personality to your yard.”
More outdoor space means more chances to entertain in warm weather — and less work for you. "Creating outdoor living spaces lends itself to low-maintenance landscaping because you can extend your home while having fewer grassy areas to care for," says Peyton. The couple has a stone patio with a grilling area, dining table, and separate fire pit area in their home. Similarly, a deck is an equally low-maintenance option.
A beautiful backyard doesn't have to cost a fortune. With a little effort and a lot of creativity, you can create a professional-level outdoor space at an attainable price point. Think retaining walls for flower beds, pretty garden paths, and bubbling water features. These landscaping ideas for your yard are cheap, easy, and guaranteed to turn heads!
Get out the wire patterns and get ready to make some amazing shapes because once you have boxwood in your container garden you will want to give them their own unique identities. Boxwood’s willingness to be clipped, shaped, and trained makes it the perfect candidate for a classic topiary. There are guides for learning tips and tricks to achieve the perfect topiary design. We’ve got images of the amazing topiary skills of Pearl Fryar—and you may one day wish to emulate his creative skills—so get clipping, and with skill and patience you’ll soon have your boxwood topiaries in tip-top shape.
If you are starting with a blank slate, choosing the right kind of plants for your yard can be an overwhelming experience. There are so many options and each plant has a particular kind of soil and sun exposure that they grow best in as well as different moisture requirements. Doing your own landscaping will require a lot of reading up on native plants in your area as well as the possibility of pulling plants that you think are weeds.
As you saw earlier, a small lawn can be helpful to a small-space garden because it opens up the area and makes it feel less claustrophobic. Well, if you’re not going to be walking on the lawn all the time, you might consider substituting a groundcover. You not only avoid mowing, you also integrate the area into the landscape. With a groundcover, your lawn becomes the garden.
These arrangements look best when you combine plants with three different profiles – vertical (such as upright fuchsia or fountain grass), horizontal (like impatiens or heliotrope), and cascading (like the asparagus fern or wave petunias). This striking landscape display only costs about $50 for the planters and $30 to $50 for the plants, depending on the types you purchase.
This pink ‘Dragon Wing’ begonia—a hybrid—is the perfect plant for a hanging outdoor container because it will grow to be about one to one-and-a-half feet tall and ten to twelve inches wide. Begonias will grow particularly well in containers in general. The ‘Dragon Wing’ begonia drips with flowers throughout the summer and into fall. For an even more exciting container, combine it with ‘Silver Falls’ dichondra for a splash of color against shimmering foliage. You will marvel at the dichondra’s heart-shaped leaves, and its silver-toned leaves will glisten.
If you like the idea of celebrating the architectural impact of some truly special containers you’ve selected, you can elevate them for impact. In this elegant semi-formal garden, a pair of oversized urns are raised, then filled with pink verbenas and white bacopas. The urns are each set on a simple, flat stone capital atop a flagstone column. They create a columned entryway onto a flagstone path through the garden. The verbenas and bacopas cascade over the sides, creating a whimsical sense of movement, echoing the graceful lines of the garden’s architecture.
Landscape petunias—new hybrid petunias that are well suited to growing conditions in the South—are a great choice if you would like to include these wonderful flowers in your container garden plans. All petunias need good drainage, which growing in a pot (with at least one hole in the bottom) provides. Be sure to use a cascading variety for a luxurious planting. Whether your petunias are mounding or trailing, you’ll have flowers that are dense and full and, in most places, in the South, they’ll bloom from early in the spring until late in the fall.

The natural hues of the sweet potato vine and pennisetum make the trio of pink geraniums, petunias, and angelonias pop. Petunias look incredible in containers because they come in an amazing array of colors. They’ve also been adapted to grow well in our humid Southern climate, and often bloom continuously from spring until fall. Take advantage of all the eye-stopping excitement that will bring to your front porch. Here we’ve used three different sizes of pressed-metal planters with decorative embossing and a copper-toned finish to hold these incredible container fancies.
There are three classes of caladiums—fancy leaf, strap leaf, and dwarf—and all three will work in containers. Once they are established, and their basic needs for water and fertilizer are met, they should thrive. The colorful foliage of caladiums has tons of drama. Pots containing three different caladiums add color and variety to this entry in summer. From left to right: ‘June Bride,’ ‘Pink Gem,’ and ‘Aaron’. You can probably find a wide range of caladiums at your local garden center, but if you need to find a wider selection than what may be locally available, caladiums are also available online. 
Sodding: If there is no grass in your yard, then sodding is something any homeowner can handle. Do a good deal of stretching first, both upper and lower body, because this is grueling work, and you will be sore after. Read up on how much water is needed once the sod has been rolled out and how to maintain it after. The trick is to find someone who has the yard you want and ask them what they did to get it.
Quality products, skilled craftsmen and flawless execution are the cornerstones of our superior construction.  The entire construction process is customized and monitored using a sophisticated scheduling system for optimum control and efficiency.  You will have total access to project data 24/7.  Our system allows you to view schedules, drawings, material order and correspondence online … real time.
One of the beauties of container gardening is the ability to create visual variety. Containers are the perfect canvas for unique approaches to color, texture, and composition.  These showy snapdragons, in a cacophony of bold colors, add height to your containers. They pair well with a mixture of flowers that will act as your fillers and spillers, including Penny violas, tulips, parsley, and ivy. Each of these has its own wonder and surprise, rich with color, tone, and texture. This container garden feels incredibly expansive without taking up a great deal of space, so it works well in any number of locations.
Outdoor fairy lights can be bought online all year around and they're a quick, simple and cheap way to bring a pretty glow to a patio and beyond. You can arrange them through tree or shrub branches, attach them to fences and furniture, or suspend them from canes stuck into the ground. They can be run from a plug inside the house, so you don't need an electrician.
If you ask anyone what the easiest way to transform the look of your home landscape is, they’ll definitely tell you: blooms. Blossoming flowers, shrubs, and trees make an incredible impact across a yard, and you can add color in just one lasting step. For major impact, we recommend Chinese snowball, which we think is one of spring's showiest shrubs. White flower clusters—that grow 6 to 8 inches across—festoon its branches in late spring. It’s a thrill to behold. The plant gets big; we’ve seen them grow from 12 to 20 feet tall and wide. And by the way, though it looks like a hydrangea, it's actually a viburnum.
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