Spring is here in full force and lawns that have been scraggly and brown for months are finally turning green. This is the time of year when most homeowners, with jobs, families, and hectic schedules begin to feel intimidated about the state of their yard and patio since most of us don’t have much time to invest into our yards.
But there’s good news! An enjoyable backyard or patio doesn’t require tons of time, money, or research. In just a couple of hours, with the right direction, any yard or patio can be made beautiful for lots of outdoor time with family and friends during these enjoyable spring days.
Plant Like a Pro With These 9 Tips
Throw away trash, trim the edges of your yard, hide unsightly equipment, weed the plant beds, and fill in bare spots in your yard with grass seed. Treat your yard and patio like you would a room of your home – if something is out of place or an eyesore, the whole area will look messy.
Focus your energies.
Don’t try to add plants and flowers all over your yard. The end result will look scraggly and disproportionate for most of us. Instead, pick a corner or a limited area and really focus your planting efforts there. For instance, if you have a patio, leave the yard mostly alone and fill it with flower pots. Or if you have a sunny corner of your yard, add a raised bed or some long window-boxes and create a healthy, happy raised garden in just that corner.
It’s not practical for most of us to actually dig up our lawn to create a large gardening area or flower bed. Invest in a variety of containers of different sizes (Pro Tip: Get larger containers than you think you need.) Home Depot and Lowe’s have plenty of options. Neighborhood garage sales and your local Next Door page are also great sources for finding plant containers.
Plant seasonally and geographically appropriate items.
Most of the time, planting whatever local garden centers carry is a safe bet. The tags on most plants are pretty fool-proof if you read the labels carefully. In North Texas, as long as we are past the last freeze (late February/early March), most flowers and seeds will do just fine until severe heat begins to hit. Some plants will handle the heat better than others, so make sure you pay attention to directions for watering and hours of sunlight.
Plant actual plants and blooming flowers.
Don’t mess around with seeds unless you want your kiddos to do some scientific observation. Just buy the plants, flowers, and herbs that have already been cultivated. Buying flowers with lots of unopened buds will give your flower pots a headstart as well.
Plant low-maintenance plants.
Avoid complicated, high maintenance plants like orchids or fruit trees. Most herbs, like rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, and mint, will do well in a spot with some sun as long as they are watered occasionally. Flowers like marigolds, petunias, and geraniums just need frequent water and occasional dead-heading (trimming the dead blossoms) to thrive. Palms are hardy and fill up a patio space or yard nicely (and can be brought inside during the winter months for use year after year).
Select a variety of flowers and greenery for flower pots.
Variety, odd numbers, and different plant heights (tall background greenery, flowering vines, and bright multi-colored medium-heigh blooms) will make any pot look healthy and lovely. Follow the rule of 3s.
Use the right soil and fertilizer.
Look for potting soil that is made for potted flowers and vegetables. (The yellow bags of Miracle-Gro soil at Home Depot are my favorite.) Take advantage of the Miracle-Gro fertilizer that can be easily diluted into a watering can and use it about twice a week. It will encourage blooming and growth.
It’s been wet lately, but our area will become increasingly dry in the next few months. The more diligently you water your plants, the stronger and sturdier they will become. Over-watering is possible, but difficult in an area as hot and dry as ours. Normally, a quick check of the soil will tell you if your soil is damp or dry.
Shades of Green
Ready to spruce up your patio or backyard? Shades of Green is a locally-owned full-service garden center with a 7-acre nursery specializing in organics, native and well-adapted plants and trees. They want to help you make the most of your gardening time and budget. Gardening in Texas can be challenging, but their experienced designers, degreed horticulturalists, and numerous educational events will help you transform your yard into a garden work of art – making you the envy of the neighborhood!
As the oldest civic organization in the city of Frisco (their “roots” date back to 1932), the Frisco Garden Club and its members work hard to beautify the city and provide public outreach. Several of their ongoing projects are highly visible and used by members of our Frisco community, such as the Main Street Gazebo, and the Veteran’s Memorial sanctuary at Frisco Commons Park. If you love gardening, you may wish to get involved in their monthly meetings or annual events.
Additionally, the following wonderful websites can provide you with a lot of detailed information about gardening in North Texas:
- Neil Sperry’s Gardens
- The North Texas Vegetable Gardeners
- Dallas County Master Gardeners
- The Dallas Arboretum’s Gardening Tips
You don’t have to be an interior designer to make your home comfortable and beautiful and you don’t have to be a master gardener or have extensive horticultural knowledge to enjoy a beautiful yard or patio. Visit a local floral shop or home improvement store, purchase a few plant containers, some soil, and a few flowers, and dig in!
Spend a few hours this weekend preparing your yard or patio for the hours of memories you plan to make with family and friends this spring and summer.