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8 Small, Affordable Updates to Enhance Your Yard This Spring

May 3, 2021

8 Small, Affordable Updates to Enhance Your Yard This Spring

Is your winter-weary yard in need of some love? Fortunately, getting your outdoor spaces looking their best again doesn’t necessarily require months of work or a massive budget. We’ve asked four landscaping experts to share some relatively easy and affordable things you can do to get your yard looking beautiful for spring.
westport-pool-j-brandon-jones-img~e6a10d1c053ff147_4-0863-1-52b8714.jpgJ. Brandon Jones
1. Tidy Up

“Weed, thin out your garden beds, prune back leggy branches, deadhead any flowers that have faded out of bloom and remove overgrown plants,” says Pat Pezzimenti, director at Urban Horticultural Solutions, a landscape management and maintenance company. “You’ll be surprised at how much better your garden will look after a little tidying up — and how it can give you a fresh perspective on what to do next with the space.”

Tidying up doesn’t need to be done all at once or take a relatively long time. “Depending on the size of your garden, you can generally tidy it up over a few weekends,” Pezzimenti says.

One way you can make tidying up the yard a little easier is to have the right tools. “Equip yourself with [bypass pruners], hand shears, loppers or a pruning saw, a rake and a waste bin. And make sure your tools are sharp — blunt equipment can damage plants and open up the possibility of pests and plant disease,” he says.

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home-design.jpgAT6 Design Build
2. Paint Your Fence

“The rule of thumb here is, the darker the better,” says Darin Bradbury, director of MINT Pool + Landscape Design. “The first thing we do on all our projects is paint the boundary fences black or off-black.” The reason: “Not only does the dark color give those vertical surfaces around the garden a uniform finish,” he says, “but it creates the perfect backdrop for all that green foliage.”

 
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modern-front-landscape-new-berlin-ginkgo-leaf-studio-img~ed417aef0807c44f_4-1455-1-1704f02.jpgGinkgo Leaf Studio
3. Add Mulch

Mulch will provide a nice dark, uniform background for your vegetation and make the green foliage stand out,” Bradbury says. “Choose a mulch with a rich brown color.” He also suggests using an organic mulch. “Not only does it keep moisture in the soil, but it provides nutrients and improves the soil’s water-holding capacity,” he says.

Tip: “Be careful not to push mulch right up to the stems of plants,” Bradbury says. He suggests leaving a few inches of clear space around them.

New Ways to Think About All That Mulch in the Garden

 
 
large-essex-country-garden-jeremy-allen-garden-design-img~7f6115bd0abd10f1_4-3795-1-e5beacb.jpgJeremy Allen Garden Design
4. Update Your Planting

Adding a few plants to your yard is a great way to revitalize the space — and it doesn’t have to cost too much, says Wayne De Klijn, owner of AQL Landscape Design. When you’re choosing new plants, it’s important to pick a theme so the garden doesn’t look visually chaotic and disconnected, he says. De Klijn suggests choosing plants based on their region. “Or you might choose a theme based on color, such as all-white flowering plants,” he says. “And from a visual perspective, remember that less is more. Keep your planting simple — it will make a far better visual impression.”

It’s important to consider your region’s and backyard’s conditions when choosing plants. “The right plant in the right position will thrive,” Pezzimenti says. Soil preparation is also key. “Cultivate the soil before planting, and make sure it’s fluffy. This will give your new plants a great start,” he says.

The quality of plants you buy will also affect their success. “Be sure to purchase quality plants from a reputable nursery,” Pezzimenti says. “Check [that] the plant stock looks healthy and that roots are not pot-bound.” Prices for plants vary greatly; for an affordable option, purchase plants in seed form, cuttings, bulbs, tubes or small container sizes, he says.

Make Sure You Read This Before Buying New Plants

 
 
westport-ct-landscape-maintenance-the-laurelrock-company-img~3291d3410e83bade_4-5440-1-bedebb3.jpgThe LaurelRock Company
5. Sharpen Those Lines

Clean lines will instantly modernize your landscape, says Andrew Whyte, managing director at Whyte Gardens. “Trim hedges flat using an electric trimmer or manual shears, rather than letting them undulate naturally,” he says. Sharp lines will add a contemporary look to your lawn too, he adds.

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home-design.jpgAdam Robinson Design
6. Think Pocket Power

Introducing a pocket of interest is a great way to add character and flair to your yard, Whyte says. “It could be a small paved area with seating and a fire pit or a garden bed with plants such as Miscanthus, Achillea, Verbena ‘Polaris’ and Echinacea that create an eye-catching feature,” he says.

“This ‘pocket’ planting technique is also a clever way to make it look as though you have replanted the entire garden when in fact you may have only redone one or two small areas,” Whyte says.

 
 
peach-s-point-marblehead-ma-windhill-builders-img~eed136b40d320f7d_4-3894-1-33924bb.jpgWindhill Builders
7. Update Your Outdoor Furniture

An outdoor furniture set that’s dated or in poor condition can detract from your landscape’s good looks. And with many of us using our outdoor rooms as additional living spaces for months at a time, a contemporary new sofa or dining table could be a practical investment. “Good outdoor furniture can be a real feature in a garden,” Bradbury says. “It draws the eye and makes for an inviting spot to spend time [in]. It’s worth investing in quality pieces that will survive outdoors for years, in a style you love.”

You’ll find so many furniture styles available — take your pick from furniture made of all-weather wicker, aluminum, recycled plastics, mixed timber and upholstery, and more — at different price points. “Look for quality, water-resistant pieces that will cope with the weather,” Bradbury says. “Seek out simple and timeless shapes and neutral colors, such as black or white, that will go with most architectural styles.”

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home-design.jpgJed Hirsch, General Building Contractor, Inc.
8. Create a Focal Point

“A focal point in the garden is something that draws the eye. It can be anything from a specimen tree, a beautiful pot or a water feature,” Pezzimenti says. Adding a focal point can be a genius way to refresh your backyard without blowing the budget.

For De Klijn, it’s hard to beat a water feature as a focal point. “It can be visually appealing, and the sound of trickling water is incredibly soothing,” he says. “Plus, it can look stunning at night when lit.”

Choose a relatively affordable off-the-shelf design or consider having a design custom-made for your space. The right size for your water feature will depend on the dimensions of your yard, installation costs and your budget, De Klijn adds.

 
 
front-porch-b-jane-gardens-img~7941f04b0d8159b4_4-7322-1-0b6208e.jpgB. Jane Gardens
Your turn: How have you refreshed your yard for spring? Tell us in the Comments.

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