One of the biggest challenges of homeownership is not actually the home, but the yard. It can be difficult developing an overall landscape plan due to lack of knowledge and feeling overwhelmed at the horticultural task at hand.”One difficulty many experience is trying to visualize the eventual size of plants at maturity, especially when they are first purchased from the garden center,” said Taun Beddes, Utah State University Extension horticulture agent. “A drive down almost any street shows where trees have overgrown and heaved sidewalks or driveways, and over-grown shrubs have covered windows and blocked sidewalks, making it difficult to pass. Another common problem is flowerbeds installed in the middle of turf areas, and the turf has overtaken the flowerbeds.”Beddes said not to be overwhelmed, though, because most problems can be avoided with proper planning and basic knowledge.”If you are new to the whole landscaping endeavor, it is important to start simply,” he said. “First, before ever buying a plant, define the specific desires you have for your yard. Do you want a garden area? Do you need a safe place for children to play? Do you have a neighboring environment that you want to screen out? These are all things that need to be thought out long before the planting begins.”The next step is to find potential problems in the yard that may need to be altered, Beddes said. This should include testing the soil, planning around utility boxes or structures and removing unwanted trees or plants. After fixing or working around problems, find potential plants that will work with the overall plan. With few exceptions, multiple species will suit most needs.”Additionally, one thing that can help give ideas is simply going for a walk and taking pictures of features in other yards,” he said. “After deciding what you like and taking pictures, make a trip to a reputable greenhouse or garden store. Someone there should be able to identify the specific plants you desire, identify problems that may arise and make recommendations on how to install something similar in your own yard.”Landscaping and plant selection books can also be valuable resources, Beddes concluded. Even though particular plants featured may not grow in this climate, styles from books can be adapted. Landscape tours are another option for gleaning landscaping ideas.
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