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19 Things Your Landscaper Won’t Tell You

Add as much as 15% to your home's value with these expert landscaping tips.

1 / 19

Ditch the Mower Bag

Those grass clippings will become food for earthworms and microbes that will help make your lawn green and healthy.

2 / 19

Look at Your Landscape From Inside the House

If you have a room with a big window, make sure it looks good from there too.

3 / 19

 Don’t Fill Everywhere With Plants and Flowers

By next spring, you’ll have a weeding and pruning nightmare.

4 / 19

 “Pretty” Red Mulch Might Not Be Best

It has been found to contain arsenic and other harsh chemicals that can be harmful to children and pets and will contaminate your soil.

5 / 19

 Hate Bagging Leaves?

You don’t have to. If there’s just a light layer, go over them with your mower and leave them on your lawn. As they break down, they’ll help limit weeds from popping up.

6 / 19

Send a Soil Sample to Be Tested

Dig down six to seven inches deep and then gather two cups of dirt into sample bags. Mail them off to a local agricultural agency to find out what nutrients you need.

7 / 19

 If You Find a Flower You Like, Always Buy More Than One

Plant clumps of species in odd numbers, such as five or seven in one area, or repeat the groupings throughout your landscape for a unifying effect.

8 / 19

DIY Landscapers Plant Beds Too Narrow, Close to House

You want to extend your garden beds out at least one- to two-thirds of the house’s height, if not more.

9 / 19

Weed Fabric is Generally a Waste of Money and Time

I once had a customer whose beds had seven layers of weed fabric, yet she still had weeds. I guess she kept thinking, If I put down just one more layer, the weeds will stop coming.

10 / 19

Most Lawn Fertilizers are 30% Nitrogen, Which is Way Too Much

Look for a fertilizer with time-releasing water-insoluble nitrogen and use it only twice a year on a steady schedule, like on Memorial Day and after Labor Day. In general, well-irrigated and older lawns need less fertilizer. (Just make sure you’re aware of the risks of using fertilizer and other house cleaning products if you do.)

11 / 19

Watch Out for “Purple Loose-Strife,” or “Lythrum Salicaria”

Though it’s inexpensive and has a lovely flower, it’s an invasive species that will spread everywhere and choke out other plants.

12 / 19

One Inch of Water Per Week Is Ideal

Infrequent watering encourages roots to grow deeper to find groundwater, creating a stronger plant.

13 / 19

Look at a Color Wheel When Choosing Garden Flowers

Colors that are opposite each other, like yellow and purple, look beautiful together.

14 / 19

Hire a Designer, But Landscape Yourself

That will keep you from making costly mistakes, like putting plants in the wrong spot.

15 / 19

Don’t Plant Bushes, Spruce Trees at the End of Your Driveway

They may look nice, but they can block your view of oncoming traffic. Keep your line of sight clear.

16 / 19

Don’t Overspend and Landscape and Then Neglect to Maintain

It happens all the time. Someone breaks the bank on gorgeous landscaping only to neglect to water the plants.

17 / 19

Plant Too High, Rather Than Too Deep

People have a tendency to over-dig, and the roots of the tree or plant can get buried, causing it to suffocate, or water accumulates at the root level and rots out the roots.

18 / 19

Kids Will Make the Work Take Longer

And squirting us with a squirt gun? Now you’re really pushing it.

19 / 19

Stay Hydrated

Landscaping is a workout, so stay hydrated while you’re out in the sun.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest