Create a beautiful backyard landscape that will attract birds, butterflies and wildlife. It's really not that hard and you can make it manageable by breaking the landscaping plan down into sections.
Here are 10 steps that will help you create your own backyard haven.
1) Develop a landscaping plan
Look over your backyard. Where is the area you will most likely be sitting and viewing the backyard? What is the focal point of the landscape? If you are adding a water feature, you will probably want to make that the focus and develop your plan with that in mind.
Don't rush through this phase. It's important to have an idea what you are trying to accomplish, but it's also important to be flexible enough to make changes to the plan along the way.
2) Plan what features you want in your backyard
This goes hand in hand with developing your landscape plan. Some features you might consider are the sound of running water, colorful plants, easy to maintain plants, a gazebo, a section for the kids to play, etc.
3) Break down the plan into sections
Don't try to accomplish everything in one year. Break your yard down into manageable sections and begin working on section 1. A pond and stream or waterfall, if you are adding this, will be your starting point. Do this section first. Remember though, you can and most likely will make changes to each section throughout the years, so don't get too concerned about the final output. The important thing is to get started.
4) When you begin to do planting, till the area thoroughly.
Remove the grass as much as possible, then till the area thoroughly. Mix in compost, maybe some sand, and whatever your local flower shop might recommend to make the soil rich. The richer the soil, the better your plants will grow, and the less weeding and maintenance you will have.
5) Plant according to height.
Taller plants need to go at the back of each section. Low plants and flowers should be at the front. It would be a shame to have beautiful flowers in your garden that you can't see. This seems rather basic but surprisingly, it's often overlooked.
6) Know the best time to plant your plants.
Read the instructions that come with the plants thoroughly. Trees are usually best planted in the fall so they can develop a solid root system before the heat and humidity arrive in the sumer months. Most bulbs are also best planted in the fall and grow in the spring. Many plants need to be planted after the chance of frost is over. Mother's Day or Memorial Day are favorite planting weekends, depending on when the frost danger passes in your area.
7)When choosing plants, look for sun requirement.
Some flowers need full sun for most of the day. Some need partial sun and others grow best in shady areas. Don't overlook this. Know the section you are working on and how much sun you generally have on that area and buy accordingly.
8) Different flowers bloom at different times of the year so plan accordingly. Try as much as possible to have flowers in each section that will be blooming throughout the summer months. Many plants bloom in the spring, some from June to July, some only in August; they vary greatly. There are some that bloom from early summer to early fall and, if possible, it's nice to mix some of these into each section. Having said that, there may be a section where you have bulbs planted that only bloom in the spring. No problem if you plan for this. It is important to keep this in mind, however.
9) Pansies for the winter months.
Consider planting pansies so you can continue to have colorful flowers even throughout the winter months. They thrive in cool weather and will grow throughout the winter with proper care. Plant them in the area where your spring blooming plants are planted. Plant the spring bulbs first, then the pansies above them. The spring flowers will grow right through the pansies and add a very rich colorful area.
10) Don't neglect watering your plants.
The morning is the best time to day to water your plants. The water absorbs into the ground without evaporating. Avoid watering at night as foliage will stay wet all night long, which can lead to disease. Avoid watering during the middle of the day as water droplets sitting on a plant's leaves acts like a magnifying glass and can burn the leaves of your plants in the sun.
Follow these steps and you can have a beautiful backyard landscape that will attract birds and butterflies and wildlife. A place where you can get away from it all.
Bob Blick is the creator of Gardening for the Birds. Visit this website and you will get a lot of good, informative tips on gardening and landscaping.