You’re excited about closing on your new construction home in Yorkville IL and can’t wait to dig into the newly sodded lawn.
Well, here’s the bad news: That bright green grass is also hiding heavily beaten soil, unmarked wires and pipes, weed seeds, and years of hard work.
The good news is that it’s easy to dig new flower beds, the weeds aren’t yet established, and your landscape is on equal footing with the neighbors.
Now, follow these five steps to make it even better and create a landscape that you’ll love for years to come!
Start off your beds right
The dirt beneath your feet is just that: dirt. It will need your help to become fertile, rich and loamy soil whether it’s newly added topsoil or nothing more than fill dirt.
Most people have heaps of compost lying around, but it will take a while for those grass clippings and expired produce to turn into fertile goodness that can be used. While all of that decomposition happens, why not go with a bagged compost or cow manure.
Get the lay of the land
It may be tempting to plant that veggie garden of your dreams right after closing on your Yorkville IL house, but be sure you have a reason to plant there. Does the spot receive lots of direct sunlight? Is it well-drained and puddle-free? You’ll also want to wait at least one spring to see if the area floods, or you’ll need to construct raised beds.
Take a moment to plan out the area, and even if you’re not an artist, you’ll want to sketch out your plans.
Remove builder plants that are unwanted
Those builder plantings crammed against your Yorkville house may look innocuous now, but they could come back to bite you in the rear later.
Properly identify your plants that are existing and make sure they’re good choices for you. A tree with messy leaves, flowers or fruits will leave you with lots of work and could lead to clogged gutters, and driveways that are stained.
Some plants are fine in the correct setting, but will really cramp your style if they’re too large for their space or were planted too close to the house. When in doubt, rip it out.
Write down your garden priorities from largest to smallest right now. Entertaining friends? Great!
Now imagine yourself 10 years into the future, and accompanied by a spouse and kids, or a flock of cats, or cooler, older friends. What will be your priority then? Now write your priorities down in 20 years, 30 years, and so on, until you get depressed and start to feel old.
Here’s why this silly exercise is important: You won’t want to turn your whole yard into a decked out party zone with a pool (or a Zen garden complete with koi pond and jagged rocks) without at least considering what you’ll do with that space down the road.
Plant the garden of your dreams, but be sure that it can, and will, be the garden of your family’s (or dogs’) dreams as well.
Start with mulch and groundcovers
Weeds are inevitable, but a struggling lawn or half-hearted attempt at a garden bed, provide weeds with a veritable breeding ground.
Mulch is your first line of defense, and it also keeps soil from drying out. Begin mulching with a layer that is two-inch, but make plans to phase it out in a few years if possible, because repeated mulching can rob the soil of nutrients and rob your wallet of money.
Instead, find a good, weed-suppressing groundcover like mondo grass, creeping phlox or Japanese forest grass, and plant as much as possible now so that you’ll be able to divide, replant and save heaps of money down the road. Grow them along the edge of your borders then divide, and replant every time you plant a new bed.
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