5. Give your lawn an edge.
Tidily edged beds and sidewalk areas give a landscape a professional look. "Whether the bed lines are straight or curved, they'll look better crisp rather than ragged," says Doug Hall, senior editor of Organic Gardening magazine.
A round-point spade is among the most effective tools for edging lawns. Hold it at a right angle and insert the spade into the soil right along the garden border or sidewalk, and push it along the edge for a clean cut similar to that of a powered electric edger. (But without the pollution.)
6. Make the most of mulch.
Apply a fresh layer of untreated mulch to your flower beds for a fresh, clean look, or simple rake the existing mulch lightly for the same groomed effect. Just stay away from synthetically dyed mulches, and if you have dogs or your guests do, avoid cocoa bean shell mulch—it's potentially toxic to pooches. For more info, read How—and Why—to Mulch the Heck out of Your Garden.
7. Create one focal flower pot.
"Instead of diffusing your efforts all over the yard, plant one big, beautiful container, and place it on the deck or patio, or wherever the guests will congregate," suggests Hall. "Instant gratification."
Organic Gardening magazine offers the following recommendations for choosing the right container plants:
• Choose plants that will last all season in your container, such as summer annual flowers or tropical plants with bright foliage, as opposed to spring ephemerals or bulbs.
• Consider the light exposure where the container will be placed, then select plants for that exposure—sun or shade.
• Since soil in small pots dries out faster, larger containers are easier to keep watered when the weather turns hot; however, big pots are heavy to move, so put the container in place before filling it with soil.
• Tap OrganicGardening.com for container planting design and plant combination tips.
Published on: May 24, 2011