Most neighbors will judge you based upon your yard and curb appeal. If your property looks clean and classy, people will assume you’re clean and classy, too. People will make other assumptions about your yard if it is messy.
In order to win the “Yard of the Month” award, you must pay careful attention to which boxes you’re checking off.
5 Secrets to Nabbing the Yard of the Month
Whether you’re aiming for a tangible “Yard of the Month” award from your HOA, or you simply want to win it figuratively by impressing your neighbors and fielding an endless stream of compliments, you should religiously follow these simple principles.
1. Prune at the Correct Time
Pruning is one of those tasks that nobody really enjoys – and it doesn’t always provide instant gratification – but it is necessary. Pruning should be done at the right moment. This means that you must understand when the shrub flowers.
- Summer-flowering shrubs should be pruned at the end of winter or in the very early spring before there’s any new growth. (If pruning in early spring, make sure there’s absolutely no new growth; otherwise, you’ll risk the shrub not blooming at all this season).
- Spring-flowering shrubs need to be pruned immediately after the flowers fade. These shrubs bloom on the growth of the previous session (known as “old” wood). So if you prune too early, you’ll actually cut off their buds.
Have a plant that you’re not sure what to do with? Before you grab your loppers, always do some research.
2. Protect your lawn from weeds by taking proactive steps to prevent them
Your lawn can make a big difference in the appearance of your entire yard. It takes up more square footage and visual space than any other part of your property – so make sure it’s weed-free. Here are some tips to reduce and prevent weeds.
- Do not mow your lawn too short
- Allow grass clippings for the lawn to return
- The spring fertilization phase can be skipped
- Avoid burying your yard in water.
It’s also a good idea to apply some sort of pre-emergent herbicide in the spring when the top inch of soil is at least 55 degrees for five consecutive days. Once the soil reaches this temperature, the annual weed seeds begin to germinate. You can protect your lawn by applying the pre-emergent immediately.
3. Tasteful division and balance are possible
Too much of one good thing can be a problem. In other words, if your entire property is nothing but grass, it won’t have much visual interest. It might look fresh and green, but good luck winning “Yard of the Month.” there needs to be some tasteful division and balance.
Think of your yard as a series of zones. To create the visual interest people desire, you need at least two to three zones. This includes trees, flower beds, lawns, and so on.
Another option is to put vinyl perimeter fencing around the property. Vinyl perimeter fencing is a classic American design that adds dimension to your yard.
4. Add Some Color
The best yards are full of color. You can achieve this in many ways, but it is most effective when you strategically place flower beds to complement the landscape.
“Make your flowers work for you by planting them in attractive layouts,” real estate agent Audrey Sellers writes. “Taller plants should be placed in the back of a square or long flower bed, and smaller plants should be brought to the front. Or, if you have a free-standing flowerbed, place tall plants in the middle and work outward with smaller plants.”
Your front porch can be decorated with tasteful items that will add color. A few painted chairs or planters can be a great addition to your front porch.
5. Pressure wash hard surfaces
While most of the attention goes to soft surfaces and plants, don’t forget about hard surfaces like the driveway, walkways, and any stone features you have. These surfaces should be pressure washed and cleaned regularly. It’ll help you maintain that neat and clean appearance you want.
Are You Ready to Impress Your Neighbors?
Keeping a lush, vibrant yard isn’t necessarily an easy task, but it is manageable when you have a plan. It all starts with addressing the above secrets. If you follow these rules, your yard will be in the top 10 percent in the neighborhood – guaranteed. You might even win the coveted award once in a while. Good luck!