What is happening with this weather today? We are definitely getting a taste of spring and all the warmth, sunshine, and outdoor activities that we will enjoy soon. We have been discussing yards and gardens a lot lately in the offie and with clients as we (im)patiently wait for brighter days, so it seems like a good time to discuss our early garden planning. We all know that nice gardens add tremendous curb appeal to a home, so if you're thinking of selling or are getting ready to buy a home that lacks plant life, today's post will be very helpful for you.
It is definitely not too early to begin preparing your garden arrangements now, especially if you want to make some significant changes to your landscape. You need to consider your budget, new/existing plants, when to buy & plant, plus any relocating of plants.
The first item to consider in your planning is your budget. We only note this first because costs can get out of hand very quickly in the gardening world, even at places like Lowe's and Walmart that are very reasonably priced. Landscaping and gardens are an investment, but we want to be careful to keep resale and long-term maintenance cost in mind as well.
- Plan for your largest investments first. Are you buying any trees or having any new rocks or beds made in the yard? Those will incur the most costs.
- Next, how many plants will you need? When you map out your landscaping areas, always note how large each item will get. Your yard will fill up quicker than you think.
- Other than shrubs/flowers, what else do you need to buy? Do you need to put down fresh mulch or rock this year? How many bags of potting soil and fertilizer do you need for freshening the flower beds?
- Are you going to do a vegetable garden? There are some extra costs associated with building a raised bed and building scaffolding for the vegetable plants.
- Check around for pricing on your chosen plants. We are lucky to have an abundance of nurseries, landscapers, and grocery stores that carry garden supplies, so you can shop around a bit.
After you have a budget in mind, begin researching what you want to plant.
If you're starting from scratch, this might be a challenge. If you are able, schedule a consultation with a landscaper or friend who is a gardening veteran to get some help planning what you will need. The right landscaping can completely change the way your home looks, so you want to think through your plants & invest right. You don't have to pay a professional to install everything for you, but it might be nice to get their input on what you should do. If you are not able to work with a professional, this guide
from Martha Stewart is the best help we've found! You can't go wrong with Martha, right?
If you've got some existing plants and just want to freshen and liven up for spring, you can simply start researching what grows well in our region. The Tri-State is in Hardiness Zone 7, so be sure you set your sights on trees, shrubs, and flowers that will be happy in our area. Those will be the easiest to grow and will fare best in our climate.
Next, if you want to scatter some seeds, the next few weeks will be a good time to do that. Many seeds actually need a period of cold before they sprout. If you aren't comfortable putting the seeds outside, most will do well growing in containers in a sunny area of your house until early spring. This would be a great project to try with school-age kiddos, and it would give everyone some ownership over what is being planted in the yard. A few fun options to try are:
- Flanders or Corn Poppies
Before you actually plant flowers or new shrubbery, keep our last killing frost date in mind, which is April 1-30. If you plant during the month of April, you do risk losing some plants to that last frost we tend to have in our area. Our meteorologists are typically really good about warning local gardeners of a spring frost, so you can always place blankets over the plants if you just really want to plant early. Let's hope for a warm April this year!
Finally, if you're thinking of beginning a compost bin, now is the time to get started on that. Use this guide to make your own compost
; it is a little gross when you think about what goes into the mixture, but we promise your plants will love
it! You will enjoy bigger blooms, greener leaves, & faster growth because of all those nutrients.
What else are you looking forward to doing with your garden this spring? Share with us, and please also share any gardening tips you've picked up! Enjoy this first taste of spring-like weather! It is a bit short-lived, but warmer days are coming!