Aside from being a great excuse to head outside, gardening is a fantastic way to enhance the curb appeal of your home, and make the outdoor entertainment space a more inviting place to be – whether to relax, play with the kids, entertain guests, or enjoy a romantic evening under the stars.
Whatever you envision for your outdoor space, follow these 17 ideas to learn how to choose the right plants and ensure they stay fresh, healthy, and vibrant in your home for many years to come.
- Provide the right amount of sunlight
Every plant needs natural light to grow and survive, but the right amount of light does vary. So, before you buy, read the label carefully to find out what kind of lighting conditions the plant needs, and decide if you have the necessary resources to give the plant a comfortable home.
- Go easy on yourself
If you’re new to the game, or just a bit short on time, avoid unnecessary stress and choose plants that are easy to maintain. Some of the easiest plants to grow include pansies, basil, mint, spinach, potatoes, tomatoes, and lavender.
- Water plants property
Just like sunlight, all plants need water. But how much water you need depends on not just the type of plant, but also the climate, current season, and soil conditions. To ensure you get it right, do your research online, or talk to an expert at your local nursery for useful advice.
- Regular pruning
Besides making your plants look nicer, pruning is a great way to remove hazardous and diseased limbs, clear up pathways, and enhance the window view. Keep in mind, pruning will expose the plant to extra sunlight, so be sure the plant can handle this before you get snippy.
- Water plants early in summer
By watering your plants early in the morning, they’ll have enough time to absorb and convert the water into energy before the temperature soars. You can also do this at night – just watch out for spiders and mosquitoes!
- Avoid mowing the grass too short
Sure, a short-cut lawn may look nice, but it’s actually doing more harm than good. Why? Because you expose the surface to extra sunlight, which can deplete the grass’ natural energy – resulting in brown or bare-looking spots. So as a general rule of thumb, keep the grass at a minimum length of 2 ½ to 3 inches long.
- Match the soil with the right plant
Different types of soil are better at providing circulation and retaining water than others. For instance, sandy soil is ideal for drought tolerant plants, while the fine texture of clay soil is ideal for Asters and Goldenrods, which both require lots of water.
- Replace soil every few years
If the soil is right and the plant is watered correctly, it should last in the same pot for a few years or more. However, if the soil conditions have changed or the plant seems to be struggling – replace it with fresh new soil.
- Enhance soil quality for healthier plants
Good soil is vital to a healthy and beautiful garden. One way to enhance the quality of your soil is to add organic materials like compost or well-aged manure. By doing this, it will allow the soil to accept water more easily, and give the plants more space to breathe.
- Do your gardening in cooler weather
Bad weather can easily kill off your motivation to do gardening. If you cannot bear the extreme heat, wake up early and do all of your gardening in the morning. You’ll get far more done in the mild temperature, without the risk of sunburn or heat exhaustion.
- Pick your battles
It’s a fact, weeds are everywhere. But you should only focus on the ones that have reared their head above the surface. Why? If you start clawing up dirt to grab every little weed, you may accidentally bring hidden seeds to the surface, giving them enough natural light to germinate and grow.
- Mulch often to reduce weeds
Mulch is a naturally effective way to stun the growth of weeds. By layering a protective barrier of mulch over the soil, you strip the weed seeds of natural light and their ability to thrive.
- Equip the right weeding tools
While a weeding fork is usually enough to pull out most weeds, the short twin prongs make it tough to remove more deeply rooted seeds. To effectively remove stubborn weeds, invest in a weed puller with a deep reaching claw, so you can remove the weed and root without having to bend over.
- Companion planting
Companion planting is the careful placement of plants so they can benefit from each other. For instance, some plants are paired together to fend of pests, while other plants are paired together to promote new growth or form a visually appealing shape. Research to learn about different combinations and what they can achieve for you.
- Buy pest repellent plants
Want to keep pests away without having to use chemicals? Get some pest repellent plants. Basil, catnip, and garlic are great for repelling mosquitoes. And mint is an effective way to repel ants and mice.
- Fight overgrowth before it’s too late
Be careful. Some non-native plants can germinate and quickly get out of control, even under low light. Your best bet is to avoid these plants altogether. But if you are stuck with one, be more rigorous about pruning and mulching to prevent overgrowth.
- Properly store garden tools
If you leave garden supplies and tools outside, they won’t last through many seasons. To prevent the build-up of rust and corrosion, keep your tools off the ground and store them in a cool, dry area. For example, hang them up in your garage or shed.