Saturday, January 23, 2010

Brushing up on your curb appeal

BOSTON FERNSImage by dawnella66 via FlickrEvery year its a good idea to consider your homes curb appeal in this zone 8 climate, as well as other areas in the country. Little things can add a lot to your  curb appeal, even if you are a novice gardener there are many tricks to sprucing up your home and yard.

Drive through your neighborhood-
Take note of the plants that are doing well in the neighborhood. If you don't know what the type of plant is, ask. Many neighbors plant a beautiful yard to be admired, in most cases they will be flattered that you noticed. This little step will establish friendships, and save you money in the long run, chances are if it grows well in their yard, you have a good shot at having similar results. Don't forget to ask them if they do anything special for the plant. Take notice of the lighting and placement too. These are success factors.

Know your zone-
To figure out what zone you live in, simply check the zone maps online, and purchase plants/seeds accordingly. Plants are expensive, and it is wasteful and discouraging to plant anything that isn't compatible with your current climate. Here in the south, we can enjoy a wide selection of flowering shrubs and trees, Mimosa, Oleander, Azaleas, Hydrangeas, the list is long, but all may require the right spot.

Do some research-Annuals do not come back, Perennials do. Perennials will not come back either if you don't follow the info on the tag, so pay attention and make sure to follow the instructions. Give yourself an edge and make sure to fill in your hole with good quality potting mix for the best advantage from the get go. Annuals are great to mix in with perennials. They will provide a stream of color while you are waiting to see if the perennials you plants several weeks ago is actually going to live.

Get the scoop on your dirt- Sandy, loamy, clay-ridden. You'd be surprised how dirt affects the growth of your plants. If you're really unsure, grab up a handful, if it holds together, chances are it has a lot of clay, add some peat moss to the hole you're digging in, or the garden you're starting. If it falls apart in your hand, its sandy, this means good drainage at least. Adding potting soil and top soil should help you here. Also compost is always good to add. To know the condition of your soil, contact your local county extension office to find out how.

Thank you very Mulch
- Mulch  is a great way to keep your newly planted shrubs and bulbs moist and cool. In Orangeburg, mulch is a valuable resource to combat drought and is in steady supply with the various pine trees  that shed their straw. Free mulch isn't as pretty perhaps but its certainly economical. For more aesthetic purposes, there are a variety of different types of mulch on the market.

Green Thumb Still Not So Green?- Think hanging baskets. For those looking for instant gratification, nothing gives your home curb appeal like hanging baskets. If you just don't have the time, interest or desire to work on your yard these can be a great help. If you want to beautify your yard, try investing in hanging baskets. Even if you opt for this to give your yard curb appeal, its still important that you water them regularly. It should be adequate if you water every two days in the dry months. When it rains, placing them on the ground and letting Mother Nature do it is great for the plants.

Last but not least, having curb appeal isn't just about plants and shrubs. Creating a beautiful habitat for both human and animal is an effort that will reward you many times over. Create little niches in your yard, add statues, bird baths, bird feeders, and little seating areas. This creates focal points that will inspire you to sit back, smell the roses and appreciate how lucky you are.

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