Tips and tools that help you landscape like a pro

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Updated: May 7, 2019

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If you want to be a superstar landscaper, you’ll have to do more than trim the grass and  sporadically plant a few flower beds around the property—it takes well-thought-out plans, work, and the right tools. It also takes time and patience, so don’t expect HGTV to come knocking at your door next week. But there are some key tools and tips that will help you landscape like a pro. Here are just a few you should consider before your next trip to TIMBER MART.

Plan for year-round curb appeal

If you’re a real landscaping pro, your place won’t just look good in the summer—it will also look good on the greyest winter days, when the grass is dead and there’s little life to be found. Believe it or not, there are plenty of plants that look great all season long. Among larger trees and shrubs, consider planting Siberian carpet cypress for green ground cover in the summer and a copper purple in the winter. Blue ice bog rosemary and pink pussytoes are some other cold-hardy options that are easy to care for in any season.

Attach a good nozzle to your hose

A good nozzle can save you both time and water, and can do wonders for your yard, garden, and deck. When you factor in everything that can use a drink or a little cleaning, you could end up using your hose almost daily, so don’t just buy one of the many cheap, poor-quality nozzles out there. No matter how many settings it has, it won’t be any good to you if it’s not built to last. Buy something more heavy duty, like one made from solid brass.

Add lighting to focal points and walkways

If you’re an avid landscaper, chances are you’ve created a variety of focal points throughout your yard, including rocks, shrubs, a trellis or gate, and maybe even a bench. You didn’t add these features haphazardly, so make sure you show them off—they’re the perfect areas to add outdoor lights. Ideally, the various points of interest are connected by walkways. For both safety and aesthetic reasons, you should also add lights around these. But don’t place one after the other—instead, stagger them to avoid a runway look.

Make use of natural materials

Sure, you can incorporate things like concrete and even fibreglass into your landscape design, but if you’re at the cottage, you don’t want things looking too contrived. Stick to natural materials like stone for walkways, steps to the waterfront, and around the campfire. You should also consider keeping a natural edge around your flower beds rather than buying metal or plastic edging. Using natural materials doesn’t just give the landscape a more rugged look; it’s also easier to maintain long-term, and it provides more flexibility if you ever want to switch things up.

Don’t bag it

We’re of course talking about grass clippings and leaves. We know it’s tempting to simply rake up all your grass and leaves and throw them in bags, but it’s best to leave some mulch lying around the yard. By using a mulching mower and leaving your grass clippings and fall leaves behind, you’ll cut down on your fertilizer needs. And if you have a vegetable garden, you can till the leaves into the soil before planting winter cover crops.

Go for curves

When laying pathways, designing gardens, and even building your deck, incorporate curved lines as often as possible. Curved lines don’t just help with the overall flow of your yard, the average person actually finds them much more aesthetically pleasing. In fact, our preference for curves is hardwired into our brains, as studies have shown that spaces filled with sharp elements—like seating, for example—can actually activate the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that controls our fear response.

Protect your hands with a good pair of gloves

A good pair of gloves will protect your hands from slivers, keep you free from blisters, and ensure you don’t spend the next two weeks digging dirt out of your nails after a Saturday afternoon in your garden. They’re an important tool for good landscaping, so don’t simply grab the first set of bulky gloves you find. Look for something well-fitted, and ideally with Nitrile coating, which offers good dexterity and grip while protecting you from abrasions, cuts, snags, and chemicals.

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