Monday, May 19, 2008

Backyard Make Over

As summer approaches, its time to break out the gardening gloves and give your backyard a spring cleaning. Here are some tips to turn an ordinary backyard into your own little oasis.

Clear out the clutter. Remove any dead plant debris, weeds, last fall’s leaves, etc. Give your bushes and trees a good pruning. If you’re adding new plants or a flower bed, do your research first. Find out what type of plants do well together. Make sure you space each plant properly, different species require a different amount of space between each plant to ensure adequate room for growth and lessen the risk of disease.

Fruit trees make a great addition, even in small backyards. Not only are they ornamental, once they mature, fresh, organic fruit is just a few steps away! Their spring blossoms fill the air with sweet fragrance.

An herb garden is another great idea that is visually appealing as well as providing you with fresh, delicious ingredients for your favorite recipes without making a trip to the grocery store. Herbs come in many different varieties, some look like vines, others like flowers and herbs such as rosemary make a nice hedge.

You can also choose plants that attract different forms of wildlife to your yard. Butterflies are a common favorite. They need warm, sunny areas to thrive and fly. They like to sun themselves on large, flat stones. They also like tall plants that provide protection from the wind. Some of the flowers they like best are butterfly bush, verbena, sedum, zinnias, latana and Mexican Sunflower. Planting these flowers by a wall or the side of your house will provide the butterflies with additional protection from the wind. This is also a good area to place some of your lawn and patio furniture, so you can watch these beautiful creatures.

To attract birds to your yard, hang some decorative birdhouses from the trees and provide a birdbath for water. Birds like berry producing plants and flowers that have gone to seed. A hummingbird feeder filled with sugar water will attract these delightful creatures and many of the flowers that attract butterflies will attract hummingbirds also.

An outdoor fountain will provide not only visual appeal but also provides the calming, soothing sound of running water. Placing a fountain under shade trees or an overhead trellis will help prevent the water from evaporating as quickly as it would in direct sunlight. Hanging a hammock or swing near the fountain will provide you with an ultimate spot for relaxation or a much needed nap after all that yard work!

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