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Getting Bang for your Gardening Buck
April, 2009 - Issue #54
When it comes to landscaping, getting the biggest "bang for your buck" means choosing the right changes to your yard. Recently, I met with a customer who was considering some changes to her space. She wanted to add some brick ribbons to her existing concrete, plus build some planters here and there.

Because the ribbons would do very little to make the yard look better, I suggested that she leave the concrete and improve the lawn through seeding. That, combined with adding colorful flowers and plants while creating interest with different leaf patterns, would make for a much more impressive outdoor space. In this case, changing aspects of the softscape cost less and lead to an attractive result.

The core purpose for making value-based changes to your landscape is to develop a welcoming ambience that draws folks in; we want to create a place where you'll want to relax or entertain.

Landscaping the average home costs tens of thousands of dollars over the course of ownership. Good maintenance is like an insurance policy protecting that part of your home's investment. It's also one of the best values.

Paying $65 to $85 a month for maintenance is ridiculously cheap and might seem like a great deal at first glance. However, at these low prices, not much attention can be paid to the yard. Is your yard suffering from poor maintenance? Does the lawn look bad? Is it lush and green, or are weeds creeping in? Are the shrubs trimmed? The planters weeded? Don't abandon your investment with poor maintenance. It's less expensive to pay a little higher price for upkeep than to consistently replace neglected plants and grass.

Lastly, save money and improve the look of your landscape by renovating your irrigation system. Sprinklers don't last forever and inferior mow-and-blow gardeners have very little experience with irrigation systems. Most of the time they use lesser-quality products, or even previously-used sprinklers, to make repairs. Over time, the sprinkler system is a hodgepodge of weird irrigation parts that aren't anything like what the original landscaper had intended.

How can you tell if your system needs help? Check for dry spots that occur in the summer and wet spots that occur in the winter. Not only does this waste water, it stresses the lawn, creates lawn blights and invites weeds to take over.
Most of the time, the pipes under the ground are just fine. The sprinklers just need to be changed and the nozzles need to be replaced and adjusted for proper coverage.
Chad Curtis is the owner of Landscape Pros 510-8865.
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