4 easy ways to liven up your landscape

Is your yard looking a little boring? We often spend a lot of time decorating the interior of our homes, but not as much outside. To give your yard a dose of charm without a ton of effort, try these four easy landscaping ideas.

You’ll boost your curb appeal at the same time!


1. Plant just one tree

Planting one tree isn’t a huge effort. It’s one of the best projects you can do for your spring landscape.

Once the tree is established, it’s about as low maintenance as a landscape can get — and the difference it can make to your yard lasts for decades. Plus, mature trees can add equity to the value of our home.

The key is to choose a tree that adds interest to your landscape in the form of colour, shape, and texture. But make sure you pick the right size tree for the scale of your property — you don’t want to plant a towering elm in the center of a tiny yard. And don’t plant it too close to your foundation. Also, mark where the water and hydro lines are located so you don’t accidentally rupture a pipe when digging.

There are a ton of trees to choose from, but to play it safe, try a maple. Many are suitable for most any climate. They all offer colour, form, and texture that can liven any landscape.

One, the Amur Maple, is not only a good size for an urban yard, it grows very quickly and changes red in the fall. You won’t be lacking colour then!


2. Add a colourful punch with mulch

Mulch is one of the easiest ways to add both colour and texture to the entire yard. Next to a green lawn, coffee bean-coloured mulch is a great contrast.

If a dark roast isn’t your preference, there’s a multitude of mulch colors that can spice up your bland landscape. Red, black, gold, cedar-toned — you choose.

For something truly unique, try pine cones. They introduce a knotty texture that breaks up the monotony of flat lawns and box-like shrubs.

The point is that mulch is easy! Choose a cool color and texture, then dump it, spread it, and forget it. It’s great for controlling weeds, too.

Keep it away from wood or siding, though. It can rot the wood and may attract insects.

If mulch seems too messy, try river rock or other decorative stone instead. Just beware, weeds find an easier foothold among them. You should lay down a good-quality landscape fabric first.


3. Add some edging

Look along your walkways and garden beds. If your lawn just seems to morph into your shrubbery or threatens to take over your front walk, some unique edging could perk up your yard. No pruning, cutting, or watering required.

You can define a walkway with some personal or found items.

Coloured hockey sticks can line a path, or use wine bottles planted neck down in the soil. Just make sure you do the entire path. Two or three wine bottles lining a path might look like leftovers from last night’s party.

If you want to keep it all in the plant world, low-maintenance ground covers are an excellent choice for edging. Try lily of the valley, vinca, lamb’s ears, and pachysandra. Some of these add colour, while others add texture. Just be cautious when using a more invasive ground cover. If you do, you’ll need to contain it with edging or it can start to take over your lawn or garden.


4. Create a Focal Point That’s All About You

Your own passions and pleasures are great inspiration to add colour and texture to your landscape. Try creating a focal point with something that brings back a happy memory, like your old toy truck, bicycle or wagon. Turn it into a colourful planter. You can place terra cotta pots in the wagon or back of the truck, or plant flowers in the basket of the

Or opt for hard non-gardening materials to contrast with the softness and monotony of nature’s green. Make a table using an oversized flower pot or lobster trap filled with something that represents your passion — golf balls, sea shells — and cover the container with a wood or glass top. These can be fun to talk about and give a unique personality to your yard.

Found objects are also great focal points. An old brass headboard can be repurposed as a trellis. An antique water jug and basin can make a unique pot for flowers. Place an old water pump on top of a tree stump. There’s no limit to how you can make your yard more personal.

Your yard is a reflection of you. You’re not one-dimensional. Your yard shouldn’t be either.

— houselogic.com