Every yard tells a story—relying on visuals rather than words. A yard portrays its author’s projections and serves as harbinger of what lies on the other side of the front door. The first glimpse of a yard is akin to reading the back of a book jacket—broad strokes, main conflicts, general ideas. A deeper dive reveals central themes, plot twists and memorable characters—recognized as focal points, juxtapositions and anchor plantings.
Each element of your yard communicates a different part of the story—fencing, plantings, pathways. Examine each with a critical eye and analyze its role in the message. Whether you decide on a total rewrite or some basic editing, here are some tips to enhance:
1) Notice the foundational plantings—the trees, shrubs and plants around your home’s foundation. Are they scaled to the space? If not, do they need pruning or replacing? In some cases, transplanting can create a win-win opportunity—opening up prime real estate while providing a mature plant for an overlooked or new bed.
2) Cake, meet icing. Adding a water feature can elevate your yard from beautiful to spectacular. Traditional, whimsical, or modern, water features and their adornments set your yard apart—creating impact that makes yards memorable. Scale water features to the size of your lawn—punctuate smaller areas with a cascading fountain, larger areas with an expansive pond and waterfall. Statuary fountains or curvy ponds serve as focal points and incorporate sound and movement. Water features attract local wildlife, providing action and entertainment. Incorporating lighting with your water feature infuses drama and creates evening ambiance.
3) Remember the value of planning—the “measure twice, cut once” principle. Impulsive buys and slapdash plantings can lead to frustration and extra work—having to unearth them after a few seasons and start anew. Consider each plant’s appearance in spring, summer, fall and winter. If you live in a zone that becomes cold during the winter, consider using a blend of evergreen and deciduous trees to provide a welcome glimpse of green during colder months.
4) Account for plant growth over time. When choosing plants, consider size at maturity. Not only its height, but factor horizontal spread. Mature plants should not hinder or block exterior views.
5) Infuse color into your yard with flowers and hanging baskets. Choose varieties that bloom at various times throughout the season to ensure a continuous pop of color.
6) Look at the grass with a critical eye. Brown spots (of any size) are the enemy. Like any good sidekick, vibrant, green grass makes its natural counterparts just look better.
Whether you choose to enhance over a weekend or an entire season, rewards will be tangible and payoffs big. Your yard will tell a story that matches your vision and endures time—just like any classic!