I’ve been working with landscaping since my early teenage years. From simply mowing my yard at age 12 to completely creating a zen garden in my field at age 16, I’ve always found ways to occupy my time and interest in yard projects. Over the years, I’ve learned many valuable lessons. When dealing with lawn care or improvement, you tend to pick up a few tips… usually by accident.
1) Never Assume You Know What You’re Doing
Although something as simple as mowing a yard looks simple, there is a lot to it. One must overlap the un-mowed and mowed sections with the mower so as not to miss random patches of grass. Even weed-eating can be complicated to a beginner. One can easily leave nothing but a patch of dirt around their trees if they’re not used to swinging a weed whacker. In my own experience, I thought it wouldn’t be difficult to dig post holes for a fence with a shovel. My first mistake was not investing in post hole diggers. My second mistake was trying to dig through red clay.
2) Know Your Soil
My hometown soil is composed of mostly red clay. This soil is thick and not as fertile as many other soils. It also can become quite solid and hard to manipulate. Knowing what type of soil your backyard contains can help you discover which plants can be grown and will help you judge the difficulty of certain tasks. If you’re uncertain of what type of soil your yard is composed of, take a sample to your local gardening supply shop and ask.
3) Be Sure you Can Identify Poisonous Plants
An un-kept field may contain poison oak, poison ivy, poison sumac or any number of various harmful plants. If you’re unable to identify these plants, you may end up in weeks of torture before your project is complete. The general rule of ignoring three leaved plants is a safe bet to avoid a run-in with these plants’ ill effects. Never assume that your yard does not contain these plants. I once spent two weeks with a terrible rash because I didn’t expect poison ivy to grow in my yard.
4) Research Your Materials
Rather you wish to build a fence or a flowerbed, proper materials are vital to the success of your project. Things as simple as the type of wood used can be devastating to your results. Certain types of mulches are not as effective as others. Chicken wire is not as sturdy as chain-link fencing. When you’re in the home improvement stores and an employee ask if you’d like help… ask them for help. These employees are picked for their jobs due to product knowledge. They’re more likely to know the most durable brands of any tool or appliance. If you’re buying online, look to review sites for customer reports. You can never go wrong with a little precaution.
Ultimately, the success of your backyard projects are up to you. If you want the best results, these tips are vitally important. Any one thing can completely ruin your project. If you’re planning on improving the appearance of your backyard, you will not regret exercising precaution. Some projects serve a practical purpose while others are merely based on appearance. Either way, these tips are sure to come in handy for any backyard project.