Tips for making the most of the living landscape at your new home
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Moving into a home requires you to get acquainted with lots of new things – neighbors, schools, stores, creaks and noises your house makes, and the requirements for caring for your lawn and landscape.
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) shares these tips to help new homeowners to become backyard ready and make the most of their outdoor living room.
Assess the existing living landscape. Take a look at what currently exists in your yard to determine what you love about it and what you’d like to change. Don’t be afraid to ask the previous owner about the plantings. They might be able to provide a list of landscape items to make your job easier.
Plan for outdoor living. Determine what will work with the existing living landscape for your entire family – including your kids and pets. Take into account your family needs and lifestyle. Then, research options for enhancing your family yard with hardy turf grass, climate-appropriate plants and a mix of adaptive and native plants to foster biodiversity. Plant to preserve your corner of the ecosystem with the right mix of grass, trees, shrubs and flowering plants to support our pollinator friends: birds, bees and butterflies. Nature starts at your back door!
Plant with your pets in mind. If you have a turf grass lawn, you've got a playground. However, you should know there are many types of grasses – and some are better than others for pets especially dogs. Also, if your yard has artificial or synthetic grass, you'll want to replace it with real turf. Plastic grass is bad for the environment, hard to keep clean, and can get too hot for your pet's paws. And, remember, avoid toxic plants that can be harmful to pets (see the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants for tips).
Right Plant, Right Place – When you’re ready to dig in and plant in your family yard, remember the “Golden Rule” of living landscapes: put the right plant in the right place. Select plants that will thrive in your climate zone. The microclimate in your new neighborhood may be very different from the one you just moved from – even if you didn’t relocate a great distance. Familiarize yourself with your plant hardiness zone on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to determine what types of turf, trees, shrubs and plants will thrive in your new location.
Learn about restrictions & rules. Some neighborhoods with homeowners' associations (HOAs) have restrictions about what you can and cannot plant in your yard. Other communities may have watering limitations during part of the year requiring a smart irrigation system. Become familiar with the rules so you can plan accordingly.
Conduct an outdoor power equipment inventory.The power equipment you needed at your previous home may not suffice at the new property, or perhaps it’s time to upgrade our equipment to better suit your needs. Take an inventory of your existing outdoor power equipment (lawnmower, leaf blower, etc.) and match it against the needs of your new family yard. At the very least, now’s also a good time to get your outdoor power equipment serviced for the upcoming season.
Read more about green gardening and landscaping.