You just bought the home of your dreams. But the yard? Not so dreamy. In fact, it’s a mess – so overgrown it’s hard to know what to tackle first. Take heart, you’ve got this! It’ll be a lot of work, but the results will be well worth the effort. Just take things one step at a time.
Tackling the entire yard renovation in sections will make the project seem less daunting. And as you complete the clean-up in each area, you will be even more motivated to keep going.
Start with the lawn
Chances are good the lawn is overgrown with weeds and in generally depressing condition. There is really nothing you can do to redeem it. You can invest a massive amount of effort – and considerable cash – but it will continue to be an uphill battle. Give yourself a break here – just get rid of that over-the-hill lawn, and start fresh with artificial grass.
What’s so great about this idea? Lots of things! First, installing artificial grass gives you instant gratification. Your trees and shrubs and flower beds might still be a mess, but you have successfully restored the centerpiece of your landscaping. And, boy, is it pretty! Plus, as you’re working on the rest of the yard and need a break, you can flop down on your luscious new lawn and take a little snooze. Or enjoy a cold beverage.
But artificial grass gives you more than instant gratification. By replacing your hopelessly ratty lawn with gorgeous fake grass, you score a big win for the environment, your wallet, and your personal calendar. Artificial turf doesn’t need watering, chemicals, or tedious weekly maintenance. You can devote all the money and time you save to refurbishing the rest of your landscaping. Or perhaps spicing it up with a new outdoor kitchen. Or a backyard putting green.
Beyond the lawn
Don’t just start hacking away. You could inadvertently chop off a vital branch or vine you’ll regret later. Start by gently pulling obvious weeds, to clear space so you can see what you have to work with. Hint: if you wait until after it has rained or water the bed first, it will be a lot easier to pull those weeds.
Read up on pruning if you’re a novice, because you’ll want to handle things differently for deciduous plants versus evergreens.
And don’t just get out the hedge trimmers and scissor everything into a round mound. Most shrubs do not grow that way naturally. You’ll get a far prettier, more varied look (and lots more flowers from those that bloom) if you take a few extra minutes to prune each tree and shrub to fit its natural growing tendencies. (And, PS, you’ll be doing a lot less pruning in the future if you work with your shrubs instead of fighting them every year.)
Overrun with happy perennials? The fix is easy. Divide them, preferably in early spring or early fall. You can reposition the extra clumps elsewhere in your garden or thrill your friends and new neighbors by offering them free flowering beauties.