Our yards and gardens are often the highlights of the exterior presentation of our homes but most of us construct them rather haphazardly with little or no plan. This week we offer you some simple structured plans for your landscaping and maintenance.

Design is Important:  Work from a master plan for your entire property.  Take the time to sketch out how you envision the finished product and then tackle small projects within your budget, finishing each one completely before moving on to the next. 

Layer Your Flower Beds: Layer your flower beds in three rows with the tallest plants in the back, a middle row with the next tallest and the shortest in the front.  This simple structure will bring a professional look to your flower beds and display foliage and blooms in a way that highlights each plant and color.

Create an Edge:  Use walkways, stones and pavers to create a natural edge to your flower beds.  This allows for easier changes to the landscape and less maintenance over the long term.

Think About Year-Round Beauty:  Mix evergreens, perennials and annuals for year-round appeal.  Or if you live in a more tropical climate think about when each plant or flower blooms and mix them up to provide continuity to the colors of your garden.

Use Hard Landscape:  Use fences, stones and walls to frame your yard.  These are low maintenance options that provide structure that can frame and highlight both your landscaping and your entire property.  One length of an antique wooden fence framing a mulched flower bed can transform your yard.

Time Savers:  We often forget the simple things but mulch and tarps are two important ingredients to save you time in caring for your lawn.  Group and mulch flower beds well to save time edging and weeding.  Use tarps to remove leaves, weeds and debris.

Add an Outdoor Seating Area:  This can be anything from a single park bench under a tree to a patio of pavers surrounded by flower beds.  Outdoor living spaces enhance your home and your life.

Enjoy the Process:  Most of all have fun creating natural beauty around your home.  You will feel a sense of pride in your creation and your neighbors and passersby will enjoy the fruits of your labor and may even be inspired to create their own natural work of art.