You have finally had your bid accepted and you’re looking forward to getting to work on landscaping the yard at your new home!

First the bad news…the green lawn you can see covers dreadful soil and unsightly pipes and wiring that have been hidden for years.

However, the good news is that there’s still plenty of time to salvage the yard and realize your dream! The weeds haven’t overrun your yard yet and there’s still plenty of green life left in that grass.

Consider these five suggestions to help you improve your yard and create an outdoor space you can enjoy for years to come.

Get your beds in order

Whether you have new top soil or old dirt that has been used to fill patches, your ground will need some work to become fertile soil. To make it fertile, you need organic material called “compost” to help supply your yard with “food to grow”.

Obviously, it would be nice to have an endless supply of free compost, however, it takes time to naturally build up organic compost from the grass trimmings alone and even that may be insufficient. Your best option is to buy bags of compost, with packaged cow manure.

Another option is mushroom compost. However, this can be harmful to young seedlings and any plants and flowers that are sensitive to salts, such as camellias and azaleas.

Work out the lay of the land

You may want to start planting the vegetable garden you always wanted as soon as you move in, but you should know where in your yard that the ground is suitable for the garden. Some example questions to ask yourself:

  • Does the spot you have in mind receive enough sunlight?
  • Does it have suitable drainage to keep it safe from puddles?


First, sketch out a diagram of your yard and where the sun falls throughout the day. This will help you to visualize what you want to have and identify potential problem areas. Make sure you highlight the areas that get plenty of sunlight and the areas that are mostly in the shade.

Don’t worry if your diagram looks a bit messy. As long as it helps you to successfully plan the layout of your garden (and yard) and you can understand what you have drawn.

Get rid of any unwanted builder plantings

The builder plantings that are in your new yard may look harmless enough, but they may very well grow into monsters that cause you a hassle later on.

Make sure that you properly identify all of your existing plants, and judge whether they are suitable for you. A tree that drops messy leaves on your lawn, or fruit that requires harvesting can be a lot of work. If you leave them to their own devices, they can block drains and stain your sidewalk or driveway.

Trees with weak wood may snap at a later date and damage your home. Or, an invasive species of plant may take over your whole garden.

Overgrown Landscaping

Plants Grow…Plan Accordingly!

Some species of plant are fine when they are in the right location. However, if you think that it may grow too big or is located too close to your home it is best to have it removed to prevent problems later on.

Plan for the future

What is your biggest priority when landscaping your yard? Maybe it’s having friends and family come over to enjoy the evening? Or, it’s having a fantastic garden that you can enjoy.

Try to picture yourself, your kids, partner, and your family or friends, 10 years in the future.

It might be tempting to go the extra mile and completely revamp the yard with a hot tub and quality landscaping/additions but don’t break the bank if you don’t have to. Think about whether or not these additions will be suitable for your family in the future.

You can have the garden that you have always wanted, but will you want the same things when your life situation changes in the future?

Start your landscaping with groundcovers and mulch

Weeds are unavoidable in the garden. But poorly maintained lawn and garden beds that need attention are the perfect breeding ground.

Mulch is great for keeping the soil moist, so start with a two-inch layer of mulch. Make sure that you gradually phase out using mulch eventually, as it can be expensive and even take nutrients away from your soil.

Introduce creeping phlox or other groundcover species like mondo grass around the edges of your borders when you plant a new bed. Groundcovers suppress weeds and can save you lots of money and effort as time goes by.

I hope this article has given you some ideas on how to get started with your new yard. If you would like more ideas or a referral to a local landscaper who I work with in my business, please feel free to contact me.

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