7 Ways to Ruin Your Yard

There’s nothing more exciting than seeing daffodils and azaleas bloom in the warm weather. Inspired by the verdant blossoms in your neighbor’s yard, it’s easy to get carried away with unmanageable landscaping projects. This spring, as you consider your landscaping strategies, you may want to note these landscaping pitfalls so you can avoid lost time, wasted money, and tiresome maintenance.

  1. Projects with unmanageable budgets and maintenance. Underestimating the cost and time necessary to make your yard look good can cause a lot of problems down the road. Before you jump in headfirst, sit down and draft a landscaping plan. Estimate the cost of each project, revising your plan to fit your allotted budget and time commitment.
  2. Focusing on the backyard rather than the front. Just as you wouldn’t read a book from back to front, you don’t want to landscape from the back yard to the front. Creating curb appeal is one of the first things you should try to accomplish as you begin landscaping.
  3. Buying things you won’t use, like concrete curbing and lawn ornaments. It’s easy to get carried away in Lowe’s or other home supply stores. As you strategize your spring landscaping projects, whatever you do, don’t splurge your entire budget on one or two superfluous items. Concrete curbing is one of those luxury items that can easily cost upwards of $1,000. Large lawn ornaments, like outdoor fireplaces or statues, are expensive, and for the most part, unnecessary.
  4. Too many lights in your yard. Lighting can be a great way to accent your yard at night, especially if you have friends coming over often for parties on the patio. There are, however, homes that go overboard on lighting, which can lead to a higher electricity bill. To curb your monthly bill, place low-energy lights where they can be seen by you and your visitors. Stringing lights on trees and along walkways, as well as these other tips, are great ways to provide visual punctuation without causing an inordinate electricity bill.
  5. Overplanting. It’s an innocent mistake to pick plants and trees that breed quickly and soon overcome your house, your driveway, and your yard. If you don’t want to spend your days pruning endlessly, be mindful of the size of your plot. Choose varieties of plants that grow a size that suits your house and property.

    A similar problem can be planting too many of one variety. If you plant only crepe myrtle trees in your yard, how will your yard look once the crepe myrtle blooms have died? Balance out varieties with different blooming times so your yard will always have something special to offer.
  6. Outdoor kitchens in cold climates. Admittedly, there’s nothing more satisfying than grilling and cooking outdoors. If you live in cold weather areas, however, you’ll only be able to use your outdoor kitchen for one season. Outdoor kitchens are expensive, and you’ll get the most out of the investment only if you can use it year-round; or, at least three quarters of the year.
  7. Opting for pebble yard or patio rather than a lawn. It’s true that a patio or gravel yard is much easier to maintain than a lawn, but it can be an eyesore, especially if there’s no soft greenery to offset harsh surfaces. Grass in your yard provides padding for small children who love to play (and sometimes fall) outdoors. It can be a challenge to put grass down, whether growing it from seed or installing turf, but once it’s laid down, maintenance is minimal, and it lasts forever.
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