Planning Your Outdoor Space: Landscaping Tips

new home from Essex HomesHas the warmer weather got you motivated to spruce up your outdoor spaces in preparation of the long days outside enjoying the fresh air, sunshine and pleasant temperatures? If so, follow these tips to get your yard in tip-top shape for cookout season.

The first step is to remove any debris that’s accumulated over the winter months. Using a rake or blower, clear out the trash, sticks and leaves from the corners of your yard, along the fence line, in your flower beds, etc.

Do your research.

  • Start by getting inspiration from home and gardening books, magazines, websites, Pinterest, Houzz, and just driving around checking out the yards of neighbors. Visiting a local nursery is also a fun way to get ideas.
  • Before you actually buy, you’ll need to research what kinds of plants grow best in your climate. Look up your local cooperative extension service or the horticulture department at an agriculture university for your state and you should have no problem finding tip sheets specifically developed for your region. You can also ask neighbors and friends with green thumbs and yards that you admire. Or, visit a local nursery and talk to a professional about what plants grow well in your climate.
  • Likewise, select plants that will grow best this time of year. The resources mentioned above can also help you choose plants that will thrive for years to come, if planted at the time of year suggested by horticulturists.
  • Pay attention to the predicted size of plants and place them accordingly. You’ll be able to find out the height and width requirements for plants on the pots at the nursery. Make sure you give your plants the space that they need to grow to their full potential (and so that you don’t have to move them and risk killing them in the process).
  • You’ll also need to determine the positioning of your house and yard (as it relates to how much shade versus how much sun different places in your yard will get), so you’ll know what you can plant where.
  • Also, find out what pests you’ll need to plan for. It may be squirrels, moles, rabbits, deer, grasshoppers or mites, but no yard is immune to at least the occasional pesky critter. Come up with a solution for dealing with these annoyances in advance, whether it be special fencing, wire mesh or including some natural plantings in your landscaping plan to deter vermin and creepy-crawlies from destroying all of your hard work.
  • Plan for maintenance. Unfortunately, the work isn’t done once you’ve put your plants in the ground. Landscaping requires ongoing maintenance and care, from watering to weed control and pruning. Select plants that match your preferred maintenance schedule, or plan to hire a professional to maintain your landscaping investment. Regarding weed control, there are maintenance steps that can cut down on weeds to an extent, but an herbicide will likely be needed, and you should research which type of herbicide you’ll want to use.

Come up with a plan. Write out your landscaping plan, including which plants, mulch, decorative adornments (like bird baths and planters) or other projects (like fire pits, stone walkways or ponds) you want. Come up with a budget and using all of your research above, plan out what you’ll plant, where and when.

Spring landscaping is something that many homeowners look forward to. With the proper research and planning, your yard will be transformed into the outdoor space of your dreams. Go ahead and get started today!

Couple your dream outdoor space with your dream home from Essex Homes. Essex Homes currently has quick move-in homes available throughout both Charlotte and Columbia. For those buyers who wish to select the home site, floor plan and design features for their new home, Essex also has a variety of options available. For more information about these homes and communities, visit