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How to Landscape Your Home or Start a Garden

Who doesn’t want a picture perfect yard that’s magazine worthy? Although many would love to have the ideal end result, many people unfortunately avoid outdoor home improvements because they believe it’s “too hard” to do. However, the answers to these frequently asked questions about the seemingly far fetched idea of having a beautiful landscape may prove otherwise.

Where do I start? The first step in any do-it-yourself project is to develop clear goals. Before you start any landscaping, you want to plan around the purposes of your yard. Do you want a yard that is simply pleasant to look at or do you want a yard that you can also work and play in? Do you want to blend into the neighborhood or stand out? Are there architectural elements of the house you want to emphasize...or de-emphasize? Find an objective for your yard-to-be.

Do I have to spend a lot of money? You can create a lovely yard, no matter what your budget may be. The trick is to establish your budget right at the beginning of the process so that you can then find ways to get the most value for your money. For instance, younger plants generally cost less. The younger plants will give you a good display two or three years down the road. “Bare-root” (we offer bare root in the spring-early summer and in fall) plant material are also a low-budget option. They are sold in a dormant state and will serve you just as well as others, but are better economically for a small budget and are easier to plant.

Do I have to work hard? Of course! A beautifully landscaped yard doesn’t happen by accident, after all. Don’t be swayed by the challenge, though. You can easily tailor your lawn or yard design to suit your preference for yard work. For some people, the opportunity to work outside is one of the best reasons for landscaping. For others, yard work is more often avoided. Either way, you can still enjoy a beautiful yard. Just decide what kind of person you are before choosing a low-maintenance or normal-maintenance yard. We do offer an affordable Installation & Maintenance Services should upkeep be of worrying to you.

Can I get away with department store plants? Of course you can, but you may find yourself disappointed before long. Low budget or not, it’s important to keep the quality of your plant material in mind. You do get what you pay for. Our high-quality plants can survive transplanting and thrive through the years because they are grown in the same conditions and can withstand the harsh Wisconsin winters. After all, like any home improvement project, it’s an investment for your home. Ask a few questions about the plant: Is it hardy plant material? Has it been properly shaped and pruned? Are instructions for spacing and use provided? Was it grown in Wisconsin? If you can answer yes to these few questions, you can probably rely on the plant.

Do I have to prune the trees and shrubs I plant? When you’re focused on wanting your new plants to “hurry up and grow”, it can be tempting to leave all growth on the plant. For bare-root plants, pruning is the single most important help a tree can receive for transplanting, and adequate pruning usually results in a tree achieving almost full normal growth the year after transplanting. Although pruning is less critical for balled-and-burlap or container plants, it can still lighten the load and relieve transplanting stress on the plant. Pruning can not hurt a live plant irreversibly, but nothing can fix a tree or shrub that dies from lack of pruning. Thinking of pruning as a haircut for your nursery stock. It’s necessary for healthy growth, but be sure you’re doing any major cutting back during the right seasons.

How should I water? We all know to water at the time of transplanting, but you don’t want to stop there. As the plants grows a larger, more extensive root system, it becomes better able to supply its own needs and requires less and less care. See our video on YouTube on how to properly water your plants. Plants prefer deep, infrequent watering, as it then forces the roots to become more deeply established in the ground. Your goal is to maintain slightly moist soil. If you have doubts on the moisture of the soil, slice into the ground with a shovel and if the ground is dry 4-8” below the surface, it’s time to water again. Our shredded bark mulch can be a big help, as it stabilizes both soil moisture and temperature. Contact our landscape services for more information on mulch pricing and deliveries.

Should I use fertilizer? If you have average soil, resist the urge to fertilize right away. Adequate trimming, cultivation and watering are the tools to use the first year. A fertilizing schedule can begin during the second year if desired.

Remember, you are not alone! Don’t wait until you are disappointed by another year of a dull lawn, or by a number of plant failures. Instead, talk to friends and professionals who know about landscaping. Their advice can save you much frustration. Once you’ve followed these tips, you are well on your way to having a beautiful yard that reflects your personality and interests.

Contact Story Landscaping, LLC for all your planting needs and landscaping designs.


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