Spring has sprung, and that means getting outside and gardening. Whether you want to go it alone or you want to enlist the services of a St. Louis landscaping company, there’s sure to be something in your yard you’d like to fix up this spring.
Maybe the grass is literally greener on the other side of the fence, and you’re looking to up your yard game to impress the neighbors without paying for lawn services in St. Louis. Or maybe being stuck inside all winter has made you sick of looking out at your backyard, and you just want to freshen it up.
No matter the scope, make sure you know to avoid these common pitfalls before you embark on any St. Louis landscaping project.
1. Planting in the Wrong Location
Let’s assume your yard is stunning and you don’t need any lawn services in St. Louis. The grass looks great, you just want to brighten up the yard by planting a few flower beds — how difficult could it be?
Actually, there are many aspects of planting to consider here. You don’t want to get anything too close to your house. You also want to carefully place plants according to how much sun and water they need. If you have a particularly soggy patch in your yard, it’s not going to be hospitable to a plant that likes to stay dry. And if you’ve got a sun-loving plant, it’s not going to last long in the shade along the back of your house.
2. Lack of Research
This is probably the biggest pitfall on this list. Pretty much every other point could be solved by doing the proper research. Preparation is always key.
If you want to do it yourself, you need to become an expert on your own backyard. Where are the sunny spots? Which areas stay wet long after it rains? Once you can answer those questions, you can look at which plants would best fit those sorts of parameters. Use all the resources at your disposal.
And even if you’re in the market for a St. Louis landscaping company, that doesn’t let you off the research hook. Pay attention to what lawn services in St. Louis they offer, and don’t get overly hung up on the price. Of course, keep your budget in mind, but make sure you know what you’re getting for your money. You want a real expert in the field.
3. Using Too Many Decorations
We’re not going to argue against a well-placed garden gnome here and there, but do be judicious in your use of lawn ornaments. It can be tempting to throw in any cute figurine your heart desires. A St. Louis landscaping company will have the eye to tell you when to dial it back. An overly-cluttered lawn might pose some problems for lawn services in St. Louis, so also keep that in mind when picking out your decorations.
Less is often more. If you’ve got the right plants in place, they’ll speak for themselves. And if you really want to kick it up a notch, there are all kinds of big features a St. Louis landscaping company can add to your yard. A water feature, a gazebo, built-in seating — you dream it, they build it.
At the end of the day, though, it all comes down to personal taste. If you like a bit of whimsy and even wackiness in your yard, we won’t stop you from overdoing it on the pink flamingos.
4. Keeping Your Lawn Too Short
The look (and smell) of freshly-cut grass might be appealing, but it’s a bad idea to get that close-cropped look too often. You might have heard that keeping your lawn short means you have to mow it less often, and if you’re not using a St. Louis landscaping company for your lawn services in St. Louis, that might be pretty appealing. Contrary to popular belief, though, this isn’t true. If your grass is too short, it can be more vulnerable to all sorts of issues — heat damage, weeds, and drought, to name a few.
Keep the needs of the season and your specific grass type in mind. Different kinds of lawns will hit peak growth at different times of the year. Grasses that grow the most in the spring include fescues and Kentucky bluegrass, so they can stand to be mowed more often than other varieties in the springtime.
If that sounds like too much to keep track of, you’re in luck. Hiring lawn services in St. Louis is a great alternative to trying to keep your grass at the optimal length year-round.
5. Ignoring the Maintenance Aspect
You might have big dreams for your St. Louis landscaping project, but when faced with the reality of keeping that yard nice in the long term, the dream quickly becomes a nightmare. Keep your willingness to do yard maintenance top of mind when designing any new St. Louis landscaping project.
This is also a good reason to look into lawn services in St. Louis. You don’t have to be the only person in charge of your yard — a St. Louis landscaping company can come in and maintain it for you.
The great thing about plants is that they grow. Make sure to consider how big they can get and what kind of care they’ll need before putting them in the ground.
6. Choosing the Wrong Plants for St. Louis
This goes along with the research step we mentioned previously. For the best chance at St. Louis landscaping success, you need to select plants that will thrive in St. Louis. A tropical getaway just isn’t going to survive in your midwestern backyard.
There are a lot of great plants that love the conditions here. A St. Louis landscaping company would be great at pointing you toward some with high success rates. Shrubs, trees, groundcover, flowers — whatever you’ve got in mind, there is probably a good option that will thrive in this part of the country. You just have to find them.
And grass isn’t excluded from this consideration. Even if you have the absolute best lawn services in St. Louis, there are some kinds of grass that won’t grow well no matter what you do.
7. Waiting Too Long to Mow
We’ve already warned you of the dangers of going overboard on lawn mowing, but you don’t want to let it get out of control, either. Your St. Louis landscaping design won’t look too hot if it’s overgrown.
When spring breaks loose and the grass starts to turn green again, people will often wait too long to cut it for the first time of the season. If you let it go too long, not only will it be an eyesore, but it’ll also be a real chore to cut. It’s a good idea to never cut more than one-third of the length if you’re doing your own lawn services in St. Louis.
With that in mind, figure out the ideal length for your specific grass type and go from there. You can let it grow to be one-third longer than that perfect length, and then it’s time to trim it down. Determining that ideal length will be the tricky part. Don’t forget to include weather conditions, amount of shade, and type of grass in your calculations.
Of course, if you schedule lawn services in St. Louis, this problem can be avoided entirely.
8. Having the Wrong Equipment
Any St. Louis landscaping project is going to require a lot of tools. From the pots you put the flowers in to the shovels you use to do it, you need the right equipment.
That’s made easier by doing your research, as we mentioned above. Know what size pots the plants you want will need, how deep your trees should be planted, and what kinds of shovels work best in your type of soil. Also, keep safety equipment top of mind — gloves and goggles are musts for many projects.
This issue can also be solved by hiring lawn services in St. Louis. Professionals should always have both the tools and knowledge to complete the task at hand.
9. Not Considering All Angles
Maybe this one sounds too obvious. Even still, it’s important to remember that unless you live in some kind of windowless bunker, you’re going to be looking at your yard from the inside as well as the outside. As such, think about how your windows will frame your St. Louis landscaping design. If all your favorite flowers are tucked behind the garage, well, you might not get to enjoy them very often.
Get a full view of your yard before you start any project. Look at it from all sides — inside, outside, the neighbor’s lawn if they’ll let you. It can give you a fresh perspective. Any St. Louis landscaping company would be happy to provide their perspective, as well.
10. Ignoring Wildlife
Your garden is part of a whole ecosystem, and it can attract or repel certain kinds of wildlife. There are plenty of resources dedicated to helping you create a bird or butterfly garden, and a St. Louis landscaping company could point you in the right direction there.
In addition to attracting animals you do want, you can also repel the ones you don’t. There are ways to keep deer or rabbits from munching on your plants. You don’t want to spend forever picking out your favorite flowers only to have them digested the next day. One thing you can do is choose plants the animals who visit your yard don’t like to eat. Some good examples are daffodils, poppies, and lavender. If that doesn’t work, you might need to build a structure to keep the pests out.
11. Fertilizer Fails
Your St. Louis landscaping needs every chance at success you can give it, and one way to do that is to spread out the fertilizer. It might not be the most pleasant-smelling garden task, but it’s one of the essential lawn services in St. Louis.
Spring is a great time for fertilizer — when the soil hits 55 degrees Fahrenheit, the fertilizer should go out. If you don’t want to invest in a soil thermometer to get the date exactly right, mid-April is a safe bet. Lawn services in St. Louis can help you out, but if you want to do it yourself, make sure you’re following all the rules, from selecting your fertilizer to applying it.
Know what to look for when buying fertilizer. You’ll want to look out for the percentage of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium each type of fertilizer contains. A fertilizer with 20 percent nitrogen, 5 percent phosphate, and 10 percent potassium will typically be a good general choice for spring. That’s not the only good formula, though. If you’re looking at a slow-release fertilizer, which will lengthen the amount of time your lawn can go between applications, then you might want to go with a different formula.
You want the application of your fertilizer to be smooth and even. A St. Louis landscaping company can do that in no time flat, but it might be a little trickier for the average homeowner. Even still, if you want to do your own lawn services in St. Louis, there are ways to get it done right. Using granules and a spreader instead of trying to spray your lawn can work wonders.
There are a lot of elements to St. Louis landscaping, and disaster can strike at any one of them. To ensure your project is successful, do your research. Look into the types of plants you’re considering, and be aware of what conditions your yard will provide them. Map out where you’d like to put everything, and make sure the locations make sense. Then, gather up all the tools you’ll need. Once you’ve got everything in the ground, it’s not over. Keep up with your yard, or hire lawn services in St. Louis.
Now that you know what to look out for, you’re sure to get your yard just right this spring.