[This article was originally published in June 2017 and has been revised and expanded.]
With spring almost here and most of your winter cleanup tasks done, it will be time for some landscaping work. But what can you do that's quick and easy?
Homeowners often plan outdoor projects with the goal of sprucing up or totally transforming their landscaping. But not everyone has the time or budget for complete makeovers, or even long involved projects.
The good news is that there are many things that you can do that are both quick and easy.
In fact, you also don't have to take out a home equity loan in order to transform your outdoor spaces! While it is certainly possible to spend tens of thousands of dollars on your landscaping designs, opting for projects and design elements that are more budget-friendly can still work well for turning your "boring" backyard into an inviting and even breathtaking outdoor getaway.
Landscaping is a more general term, in typical usage it refers primarily to the organic or "green" aspects of your outdoor spaces. As one definition puts it, landscaping is,
the process of making a yard or other piece of land more attractive by altering the existing design, adding ornamental features, and planting trees and shrubs.
Hardscaping, on the other hand, is, as the name implies, refers to the man-made features used in landscape architecture - e.g. paths or walls - as contrasted with vegetation.
Along with keeping your outdoor spaces clean and enjoyable, landscaping and hardscaping can add tremendous curb appeal for your home and property.
10 Tips for "Simple and Easy" DIY Landscaping Projects
There are several benefits to enhancing the landscape of your yards. As one company points out,
Landscaping can make way for outdoor living spaces like patios, outdoor kitchens, gardens, pools, and more. Though these spaces don’t count toward additional square footage or livable space, they are an extension of your home and allow you to better utilize your property.
In addition, it can add to the resale value of your home, decrease your energy and water costs, as well as making a positive impact on air quality.
In fact, it's estimated that simply adding one tree alone can remove 26 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Also, healthy lawns can keep 12 million tons of dust and dirt from being released into the atmosphere annually. And simply planting trees, shrubs, and flowers helps to create more oxygen and reduce soil erosion.
In that spirit, here are ten landscaping ideas you can incorporate that will do wonders for your outdoors:
Install Edging Around Planted Areas: Creating Visual Texture
You can create clean borders and increase control of your grassy areas with edging that can stand up to crabgrass, weather and changing soil conditions. This is one project where it pays not to go cheap: instead, you should buy the more rigid edging that is made with fiberglass, aluminum, or even steel.
The result is a very “clean” look that delineates your lawn grass from other elements of your landscape. The heavy-duty edging also helps with the mowing and edge trimming.
Create an “Island” With a Raised Berm: Rising Above a Mere Lawn
For landscaping, a berm is typically a gently sloping mound made with earth on top of a stone pile structure. While these are often created for improving drainage, they can also be used to create “islands” with plants of different colors and textures and colors. This can create a focal point that provides visual interest in a sea of green grass.
In addition, they can help to mute noise from the street and, with the proper shrubs or trees, even provide some privacy. Raised berms should never be taller than two feet high because of the area required to properly build one. The taller the berm, the broader the area of your island.
Build a Masonry or Flagstone Wall: Borders that Create Dimension
You might think of a short stone wall as edging on steroids. And by keeping your wall to 12 inches high or less, you can ensure that this remains a simple project. In addition, at this height there is no need for mortar or masonry adhesive – although the latter is not a bad idea. This is another area where you want to avoid going “cheap” and selecting quality masonry blocks or flagstones.
For masonry blocks, look for a style that reflects the ambiance of your overall landscaping and is easy to position and stack. For flagstone, choose a stone with consistent thickness and can be split into slabs such as limestone, sandstone, or shale.
Create a Path With Flagstones or Gravel: Walk This Way
A gently curving path that meanders to your front door or back garden can add a strikingly charming touch to your landscaping. While it may appear a substantial project, it really can be fairly simple and inexpensive. And it can add significantly to your home’s curb appeal.
When building your path you can use flagstones, pea gravel, or even decomposed or crushed granite. While flagstones are perhaps the easiest to set up, you have to deal with the grass that will be growing between the individual stones. With pea gravel or crushed granite you avoid that problem and have the added touch of using heavy duty edging (See #1) as borders.
Make Your Own Stepping Stones: Unique and Utilitarian
While stepping stones are a great way to decorate a lawn and create walk-ways between areas. You can create beautifully homemade pathways instead of buying the stones. You just need a 40-pound bag of quick-setting cement, a small shovel for mixing, a paint bucket and some shallow cardboard boxes. If you are so inclined, you can also add some small seashells or glass marbles to the mix.
Using the boxes as forms, or molds, you should simply follow the directions on the cement and add any decorative elements you may have chosen prior to the cement becoming fully hardened. After you peel away your cardboard molds, you will have unique stepping stones that will add a touch of personal charm to your garden area or lawn.
Build a Masonry Tree Surround: A Place for Flowers
If you liked the idea of building a low wall, then creating a masonry surround for a tree can be a fun option, as well. This project takes a bit of work since you will have to dig a circular trench and add some sand before stacking your stone or cement blocks, or stones.
Many masonry stones are designed for building circles, so this part can be fairly simple. However, you want to be sure to keep the overall height level, which can be challenging when your surrounding yard is not level.
Divide Your Spaces: From a Lawn to an Outdoor Oasis
A creative landscaping idea is to add visual interest to your yard with defined spaces. Installing or building low fences, for example, will allow you to divide spaces, and provide variety and contrast. If you have the budget and want to do the work, planting hedges is also a great way to define spaces.
Shorter, white picket fencing can be picked up relatively inexpensively and they are often made of durable plastic materials. These fences emulate the look of painted wood pickets while providing long-lasting and easy to install dividers.
Double Duty With Containers: Functional and Aesthetic
Texture, color and variety can also be achieved by mixing containers into plant beds and along borders. In addition, containers allow you to easily add a variety of plants that you might not be able to grow successfully in your lawn or flower bed.
Using different types of containers can add splashes of color to accent your plants. Another plus is that you can move them around periodically and even replace them each season for a get a different look the next year.
Hardscaping as a Landscaping Technique: Complement the Green
Regardless of where you live, maintaining a lush lawn takes a great deal of work – and money. Hardscaping provides an alternative with little maintenance. For ground cover you can use gravel, crushed granite, or even stone tiles. This is especially appealing for homeowners with high water bills or in drought-prone area.
This kind of project can be quite involved, however, and you may want to enlist some professional help. Keep in mind that hardscaping might require the removal of grass and other plants. Remember that lawn grass is far easier to remove than it is to install and grow successfully.
Light Up Your Nights: Outdoor Lighting Hacks
With the growing variety of solar-powered accent lights you can illuminate your walkway, your rock walls, trees, and just about anything else you want to shed light on. The best part is that they don’t require you to pay for the electricity.
Be creative and experiment. Most accent lights are designed to be placed into the ground, but not hard wired and mounted to anything. And, while you’re at it, consider stringing some outdoor “party” lights with clear glass bulbs for a dazzling nighttime display.
As Family Handyman says,
When you need some rest and relaxation, you don’t need to go far. Your yard can be the perfect place for you and your family to play or chill, and it can offer so much more if managed well.
Your Best and Easiest Choice for Hauling Away Landscaping Debris
Once you decide to complete a landscape project or two, you'll likely end up with a large amount of landscaping debris.
Now, you could haul it off yourself, but that can be a challenge in itself. But before you "outsource" the trash and junk hauling part of your landscape project, you need to know which firm is the right one for the job.
Of course, you can usually find plenty of guys with trucks willing to do the job, but choosing that alternative may end up costing you more than you hoped to save. Which is just one of many reasons why Junk King really is your best choice.
Junk King provides an efficient, safe and eco-friendly yard waste disposal service so you don’t need to worry about the pick up or disposal of the debris after your project is complete.
Our experienced debris removal team will break down and haul off any types of yard waste you have. Unlike the backseat of your car, our junk removal trucks are made to handle those dirty yard debris items.
So, are you ready to get rid of your landscaping and yard waste? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
You simply make an appointment by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).
Once you book a session with us, our professional and insured yard waste removal team will show up at your home or office. And they will call you 15 to 30 minutes before they arrive on site and will give you a free estimate based on how much room your junk takes up in our truck.
You just point and we haul the debris into our junk removal trucks - and without any hidden fees.