Letting Maintenance Slide
Even low-effort landscaping requires a bit of time and maintenance. Keep your yard looking great with regular watering and occasional weeding. You can automate your chores by installing an in-ground sprinkler system or using a soaker hose. Plan on doing some tree and shrub pruning between one and four times each year, and cut away storm-damaged branches after heavy winds or rain.
Choosing the Wrong Plants
Most of us have made a few ill-advised impulse buys at one time or another, but if you practice informed purchasing, you should be able to keep your garden center regrets to a minimum. Before you splurge on a pretty assortment of plants, make sure they're suited to your garden beds. Check the requirements for sun, shade, and water needed to keep your plants healthy. If you're buying shrubs and trees, find out how large each plant grows to determine whether or not you should give it a home in your yard.
Your front yard should be a reflection of your personality… but a little of a good thing goes a long way. Overcrowded landscape design makes for weak plants that will be susceptible to pests. Instead, give your plants room to grow—and breathe. If you opt for lawn ornaments, think about how each piece fits into the atmosphere of your overall landscape design.
Going Too Small
On the other hand, plants that are too tiny can make for an underwhelming front yard. Whether your budget is large or small, strategically placing plants around walkways and other architectural features can maximize their impact. Keep in mind that even a few small annuals can bring plenty of drama to the yard when they're grown in an attractive DIY planter or window box.
Keeping the Lights Out
So, your yard looks like a million bucks during the daytime, but what about after sunset? Particularly for those who entertain in the evening, it is important to create an attractive lighting scheme that will create a pleasant glow and allow guests to safely navigate to your front door. Choosing inexpensive solar lanterns means you'll never again have to change a bulb in your outdoor lights.
Related: 8 New Ideas for DIY Outdoor Lighting
Keeping Bad Trees
Everyone knows that trees add value to your property, but when a tree is sick or damaged it might do more harm than good. Holding on to a dying tree can put your roof, power lines, or other plantings at risk, and negatively affect your curb appeal to boot. Examine a problem tree or consult an arborist to determine if it makes sense to remove it.
Cutting Grass Too Short
Unless your lawn doubles as a golf course, there's no reason to cut it short. A good rule of thumb? Cut no more than one-third off the top at each mowing. Cutting more than that can shock the grass blades, leaving bare or brown patches in your yard. Set the blade height accordingly for a lush, green lawn.
Related: 9 Mowing Mistakes Everyone Makes
Ignoring the Seasons
Many homeowners plant beautiful flowers that bloom in spring and summer but never give a thought to ensuring fall color. For a yard that continues to impress even as the trees lose their leaves, plant colorful burning bush, mums, or other popular fall picks. As winter sets in, boxwood, yews, and ornamental grasses will provide some visual interest in an otherwise bleak and dreary setting.
Related: 10 Plants Never to Grow in Your Yard
Make A Good Impression
Follow some simple do's and don'ts, and your front yard can be the envy of the block.
Whether you're a lawn care novice or a master gardener, everyone can use a little help around the yard. Subscribe to The Dirt newsletter for tips, recommendations, and problem-solving tools that can help you tame your great outdoors.