Landscaping Doorstep

Jazz Up Your Front Garden

You can give your home a more welcoming look by adding flowers to the front garden: whether in flowerbeds or lining the walkway to your home, vibrant flowers will be a pleasure for the eye. They will enhance your visitors first impression of you and your home.

The Power Of Trees

You can use trees and bushes to line your home’s porch or front garden to great effect. You should always maintain them properly to keep them neat, and can use fruit trees and dogwoods for their beauty and relaxing fragrances. You may, however, want to avoid planting trees that lose their leaves near pathways as they could become rather slippery in the fall.

Spruce Up Your Porch

Depending on the size of your porch you can add various pieces of furniture such as benches and rockers to enhance the feel of warmth and comfort. You can also increase its appeal with plants of various colors and sizes, and even train decorative climbers to accentuate railings and arches.

Curb Appeal

Don’t forget to pay attention to the walkways, and ensure they are rubble-free, in good state of repair and clean. This will make your sidewalk more appealing and safer, too. Be creative with the materials used, such as ornamental boulders or concrete as a main feature.

Water Features

Adding a pond or small fountain can enhance the sense of calm, but make sure your plans are not over ambitious as the result could be overpowering. You can also brick or stones to add even more interest to the feature.

Make Flower Borders

Perennials are considered the mainstay of the mixed borders. Though some are short-lived, most live for years increasing in number. Each winter they die down, then spring comes and up they spring.Some bloom just once and briefly, while others may bloom, if dead-headed (removing the spent flowers), for months and months. Although there are perennials you never disturb, for example – peonies; most, however, need dividing every few years.
If you only have one mixed border, you probably would like to have flowers throughout the growing season. Choose plants that are lovely for more than just a week or two. If there are any gaps (no blooms) in the border, you can fill with annuals or other flowering plants in pots. Flowering shrubs and remontant (repeat blooming) roses add color to the background.

The border should be at least 10 feet wide. The plants should be planted in drifts of odd numbers . The plants should vary in height from low to high. To keep the border from looking like a stairway to heaven , vary a few drifts throughout the border with a drift of shorter plants in back and a drift or two of taller plants in front.

You may have borders using all types of color schemes. If you have 2 borders, you may choose to have one border of cool colors, and one border of hot colors. You may also have the border begin with cool colors and gradually increase the intensity of color until the other end has hot colors. Some people enjoy doing their borders with just once color, using different shades and tints. Some are happy with using two colors of which they may be two complementary colors, such as red and orange, or contrasting colors, such as red and green.

Many people use three or more colors. Using color is a tricky thing with plants, particularly if you use different seasonal color schemes. Out of the blue two plants that are neighbors and should not bloom at the same time all of a sudden clash, because of strange weather. Use color to achiever unity. At the same time, shake things up a bit to create tension. This is a fine line. But all borders need a touch of pizazz to arouse your neighbors’ envy to shades of green.

Pruning Effects New Plant Growth

Heading back will stimulate more new growing points. It is a known fact that the terminal bud secrete a growth-inhibiting chemical which move down to the lateral buds. These chemicals prevent the new lateral buds from growing, when cutting back the chemical is no longer available so the lateral buds start to grow. Usually, the buds just below the cut develop more, they in turn will start to manufacture the growth-inhibiting hormone to help prevent the growth of lateral buds farther down the branch.

Flowering shrubs are pruned by thinning out at different levels within the plant and cut the top back. Remove one or two branches all the way back to the ground. This will stimulate new growth from the root system which will help form a new plant. Don’t continue to prune at the same level year after year. If pruning continues at the same level over time a thick outer shell develops shading the inside of the plant, without sunlight the interior branches die. When damage occurs to the evergreen foliage and it dies a big brown-dead area will result. Since the interior of the plant has no live green foliage, the plant will look pretty bad. Don’t prune Japanese Yews and Junipers beyond where there are no green growth. Japanese Yews and Junipers are needle evergreens and they will not grow new foliage in areas where there no green needles. When plants become too large remove the old plants and re-plant. Select the right mature sized plant for the site. Remember, low maintenance is the best answer.

If most Holly broadleaf evergreens and Azaleas are cut back below the green growth, they will re-grow new foliage. Holly broadleaf evergreens are a big part of the landscape in the south. I have seen large holly plants cut back within 18 inches from the ground and re-grow into a new plant. It will take at lease two years before it will look like a shrub again. Some light pruning is required to re-shape the plant into a nice shrub.