Friday, December 9, 2011

How to Have a Thriving & Successful Gardening Business

As you might know that Gardening in general is one of the most wonderful occupation in any size form and shape, especially if it's done right. Weather it is done on a small or large scale, as a hobby, as a source of fresh fruits and vegetables, or as a business, for that mater.

Anyway you look at this subject, if you are really serious about gardening you can turn this most beautiful activity in a nice thriving gardening business, and create a good source of income for many years to come.

I remember many years ago in my youth having an ardent desire to work outside and blend in with the nature, to admire and observe the vegetation and to look and search for some way to start a nice garden, it was a real challenge to get started in the gardening field in those days. There were not very many resources to learn and achieve some degree of knowledge regarding the gardening field.

Gardening and landscaping is really what I love doing, and therefore I take it very seriously, even with passion.

Where I come from, for example, the information was so limited if not lacking, and I had to rely mainly on what I was able to find and read in some gardening catalogs, and some limited advise from the gardening people I knew. And of course from my mother who loved gardening!

And another positive thing in my school days was that we were learning about botanical life, a subject that I really loved. It seemed to me like something natural and enjoyable.

But today with the abundance of information at our finger tips from the vast internet searches, it is so easy to find anything you can imagine just by using a few smart k-words, pushing a few buttons on your computer board and you are able to learn a lot any time. All you need is the desire, determination, and will to achieve whatever you put your mind to.

And the gardening field is absolutely one of the best in my opinion.

Providing that you are already involved in the gardening activity and you are already pretty familiar with what it takes to grow and tend to the plants, you can start planing for a thriving gardening business, and create a pretty steady source of income.

There are so many different situation that are specific to your location, the size of your premises for your garden, the demand in your area, as what kind of plant material are people looking for, and where to sell the trees, shrubs, herbs, vegetable plants, and the list can go on and on.

As you probably noticed or heard the terms about the organic gardening and edible landscaping that are growing more and more in popularity, it would be an excellent idea that should be seriously taken in consideration.

So it is also a good idea to capitalize on these popular trends and take a closer look at them. More and more people conscious about healthy living are looking for fresh fruits and vegetables from local sources, like farmers markets that started to multiply all over the country, fruit stands, road side stands, flea markets, and many other places.

That being said is pretty evident that the market is there, the demand will increase, and therefore it is time to take full advantage of the situation.

Another factor to consider is the fact that the economy does not show any promising signs of improvement anytime soon, the people is getting interested in "edible landscaping" to grow their own source of fruits and vegetables. So if you are able to bring fruit trees, berry bushes, vegetable starter plants at your stand, they will buy and your gardening business will thrive.

Once you find out what is the demand in your area, what is your competition selling, decide what kind of plants you want to grow and offer to your potential customers. I personally was always for a large variety of plant material to grow, like ornamental shrubs and trees, bedding plants, house plants, tropical plants, herbs, vegetable plants, berry plants, and any other gardening related items.

But it all depends on what are you more comfortable to grow and sell, as I'm aware of the different situations from place to place.

If you don't have your own garden center or outlet yet, you can start by going to the local farmer's markets, to different ones if there are any in other close by towns or cities, and alternating the set-up in different days. Make sure that you are always there in the same specific days at those different markets, as not to confuse your customers.

Once they know that you are offering quality fruits and vegetable plants, as well as other plant material, they will come back looking for you. The buyers will expect you to be dependable so that they can find you in those specific days. That's how you build your traffic for your business.

Make sure you attract the customers to your stand with nice colorful, vibrant green and blooming plants and offer the best quality plants at fair prices.

Be friendly and answer to their questions even when you know they are not ready to buy yet. Give them free advice when they ask for, and that in itself will pay off down the road.

Building trust is one of the keys to have a thriving gardening business.

Mike Borlovan

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Where And How To Sell And Market Your Plant Material That You Grow?

As I was writing in the previous articles about how to propagate plants by rooted cuttings, and to grow your own plants for a profit in a small space, now you might want to know how and where to sell your own plant material to create a solid and steady income.

Some people believe that it is too much trouble and too much work to get started and to put your foot in the door, so to speak, to be successful in this business.

Or that it takes too long and it's too complicated to achieve a level of success. And this gardening and landscaping industry requires a lot of expertise.

Actually that's not really the case. There is not too much trouble and it is not that complicated as some folks want to make it. Considering the vast resources of information available at your finger tips on the internet related to the gardening industry, you can access anything you need in a mater of minutes in the search engines.

If you like gardening and working with nature it is fun and easy. It is relaxing, peaceful, enjoyable, and very rewarding.

So don't hang around with the naysayers that will just hold you back from achieving your dreams! Think positive, dream, and act upon it. That's right, take action and keep going! Believe in yourself and in what you are doing. That's what's going to make you successful!

If you are reading this article, it means that you are interested in growing plants for a hobby or for profit, so you are at the right place and at the right time.

It is never too late to start. And once you've started to grow your plants, let's find out how and where to sell them. Even if you don't have a large variety as of yet, you can still sell what you have available as you grow them.

First, make a little home made sign on a piece of plywood or cardboard and write on both sides of it 'Plants For Sale' and nail it on a stake that you drive in the ground in front of your property, so that it can be visible from both directions of the traffic.

Set a table and fill it up with some plant material you have for sale, to create interest from your neighbors and the people that pass by. Or you can set them right on the ground, as long as the plants are visible. You'll be surprised how many will stop! People loves plants!

If you grow some blooming plants, that would be a fantastic way to draw the buyers to your little plant growing and selling operation.

"The Pink Hydrangea"

Another way to sell your plants is to find a spot at an intersection with heavy traffic, preferable at a 4 way stop, or at traffic lights. While people stop they will look, and even if they don't stop right then at your stand, they are likely to come back or tell others about you!

If you can't set up every day, try to be there on certain days of the week, so people will expect to see you at those particular days.

Flea Markets are a great place to sell your plant material, since there are people that go though with the intent to buy. Once you get established and known for the quality and variety of plants you offer, you will build a healthy repeat business, that is priceless!

You can also look to EBay and see for yourself the vast possibilities that they offer to sell your plant material. Of course, you'll have to be prepared to pay some hefty fees, and have the shipping supplies and other requirements in place to operate your business.

Another way to sell your plants is to approach some local business and ask permission to sell in front of their store. This could work well for benefiting both; you and the owner of the business, by attracting some extra traffic to their store, that otherwise would not stop, if they were not attracted to your plants stand.

Now you can see that it is not that hard or too complicated to sell your plant material for a profit. It is okay to have some doubts, but now since you know that it can be done, there is nothing to stand in your way, except you!

This is true. It is not something that I read or heard about. I tried and experimented it myself, and I'm speaking as one who have done it and achieved a great level of success. It requires commitment, determination, and action.

The possibilities of making a serious and steady income from growing plants is incredible! If you want it or not, you will have to grow and expand. Provided that you are taking good care of your plants they are growing while you sleeping, and you must step them up in larger containers, and sell for a higher price.

Now since you have a pretty good idea as how and where to sell your plant material, I will write some articles to give you some ideas about what to grow to be more successful and profitable.

We will talk about growing blooming plants, and specifically bedding plants. It is good to dream, make plans, stay informed and take action!

Until next time,

Mike Borlovan

What Shrubs Do You Need To Take Cuttings For Your Rooting?

The answer to the question of what shrubs do you need to make your cuttings from, for your rooting, is not that hard.

As I've suggested in the previous article the way to have a good start is to make cuttings off of some woody shrubs, that are many times readily available around your property, or your neighbors' and your friends properties.

I recommend the woody shrubs for the simple fact that the finished product does not need too much heating, or any heating at all. But while you root the cuttings, they will need a warm and humid environment to grow roots.

As the little branches that you cut off from the mature shrub does not have any roots to feed through, they must feed somehow in order to live and grow roots on their own.

Well, how do they do it? Very simple: they feed through the leaves, and that's why the cuttings will need to be sprinkled with a fine mist of water, and kept in a humid confinement, the greenhouse. They need water, light and heat.

Provided that you have the source to collect the cuttings from, let's start with the number of cuttings you want, and then we proceed to the way you'll make the cuttings.

But first make sure you have your rooting cell trays filled up with fine potting soil, and sprinkle them until the cells are wet all the way down. And then you can start cutting the little branches from the mature shrubs.

Let's assume you want to make cuttings from a winter green Boxwood shrub, or Korean Boxwood, and you want to fill up 10 trays of 72 cells, to obtain about 700 rooted plugs to start your plant operation business to sell plants for a profit. This is going to be a first step to create a steady income.
"The Boxwood Plug"
That's a pretty good start and 10 trays shouldn't take that much room. The next batch of cuttings can be a different kind of shrub, like Compacta holly, Burford holly, Azalea Formosa, Hillari Holly, Crape Myrtles, Weeping Willows, Wigelia, Wisteria, Loropetalum, Blue Pacific juniper, Ajuga, or any other shrubs and trees that could sell well in your area.

The possibilities are too vast to mention them all in this article. But let's now just concentrate on the first batch of boxwood cuttings that you want to start your rooting process with.

To make the cuttings in a proper way, and to obtain the greatest number of rooted plugs, you need a good sharp knife. Do not use any scissors to make cuttings. Use a sharp knife and cut the little branches in a slanted manner at about 45 degrees.

You want to select the tips of the shrub branches that are not too hard nor too soft or too green. Kind of in between. You want to cut them just a little lower from the point where it turned green, in the brown portion of the branch.

In other words they should not be too mature nor too tender green. You will get used to it as you go, and it will produce a greater and faster amount of rooted cuttings.

Once you collected the desired number of cuttings, sit down in the shade, and pinch off the lower leaves at the portion that you'll stick in the dirt, and leave only the upper leaves above the soil. You should also cut off the tips to encourage branching.

Now start sticking the lower part of the cuttings in the soil, and pack gently the dirt around them to eliminate any air pockets and for the steams to contact the soil.

Set them in the shade or your greenhouse and mist the leaves every 1 to 2 hours for several days. Make sure they get enough light and some source of heating to keep them warm.

After several weeks, you will notice the little roots coming out from the bottom of the trays. They are not ready yet! You don't have to water them that often now, but keep them wet, not soggy, and never let them dry out completely.

At this point you can apply some light liquid Miracle growth fertilizer, or some granulated micro-nutrients on top of the soil, and the little plants will turn in a nice vibrant green.

It's a good start! Once they developed a good root ball, they are ready to be stepped up in some 4 to 5 inch plastic round or square containers, and as they grow, when they become a little root bound, you step them up in 1 Gallon containers.

"Boxwood In Container"

At this point they are ready for sale. In order to stimulate bushing and branching, you'll need to trim the tips off. The more you trim the bushier they get.

Every time you step them up in a larger container, apply some slow release fertilizer, like osmocote or other fertilizers available at your local Garden Centers.

That's how you should do with any other woody shrubs cuttings you want to start growing. It is a lot of fun and at the same time you can create a wonderful source of income.

Another easy to start and grow plant that is in a pretty great demand on the market, is the weeping willow tree. These weeping willows love water, and their majestic weeping branches waving in the wind, are creating an awesome accent in any landscape.

These can be rooted in some one gallon plastic containers filled with sand, and watered well and often. Just stick some short branches or switches in the sand and set them in the shade or greenhouse.

If properly watered they are growing fast, and ready for sale in several months.

As you become better on rooting cuttings, and you enjoy doing it, you can sell them by the trays to the gardening people to grow their own finished products.

In the next article I will offer some suggestions as where to sell your finished plant products.

Until next time, for your success, dare to take action!

Mike Borlovan

Rooted Cuttings To Start Growing Plants To Sell To Create An Income

The rooted cuttings to start growing your own plants and selling them to create an income, is the most economical way to start, and it makes more sense.

Of course for a faster start, if you don't have the time and the means to root the cuttings yourself, or you don't have the stock to harvest your cuttings from, you can purchase rooted cuttings readily available from Wholesale Nurseries locally or on the internet.

That would be a faster process to achieve a finish product for sale to the public. The rooted cuttings usually are grown in cell trays of 36, 50, 72, or other sizes, that are also called plugs.

The prices per tray or per plug varies as there are so many sources available where you have a chance to shop around and compare prices.

This alternative is preferable if you want to save time, because the rooting process could take 6 to 8 weeks or even longer for some varieties of plants.

Another alternative for plant propagation is by seeds, and the little plants obtained by sowing seeds are called seedlings.

If you love blooming bedding plants, you might want to wait until late winter, very close to the spring season, to start them by seeds and have them readily available as a finished product for sale just in time for planting season.

Since a lot of gardeners and nature loving people have been cooped up indoors in a long winter, they are itching to get out in the garden and plant those vibrant color spring bedding plants. Therefore, the bedding plants operations are very profitable and fun.

I will tell you about it in a separate article about how to grow and sell bedding plants. It is going to be awesome!

In any situation you've got to have the right environment to achieve the starter plants in order to have a reasonable number of plants to make any income. But no mater what you choose to do, to start the plant plugs or seedlings, you'll need a greenhouse.

Nevertheless, if you are living in a warm climate, you probably don't even need a greenhouse, and you can start your rooting and sowing process in a shady location under some trees, as long as you have the water source close by.

In other situations where the region you are living in has cold weather and freezing temperatures, the plants will need protection. You will need a good greenhouse to grow them and protect the young plants from the elements.

But the rooting and sowing process should be started in the spring and early summer. You can root the cuttings even in the winter if you heat the greenhouse and create the proper temperature for the plants to catch roots.

That is for the larger professional operations that can afford it and are aiming for large production of plant material. You can achieve that too, if you'll stick with this business long enough and grow as you go.

Once you start it, you will expand, if you want to or not. If you want to increase your income you will have to expand.

I've started with a small humble 10x30 greenhouse, and in about 3 years I've ended up with a 10 Acres vibrant Nursery operation with lots of greenhouses, irrigation systems, two deep commercial submersible pumps, plenty ground covers for the finished plant material, and then after another 3 years I expanded with a nice profitable Landscaping Division.

With hard work and dedication you can become successful in this plant growing business in a relatively short period of time.

As I will continue to write these articles relevant to the plants growing and selling for profit business, I will suggest different methods of selling your finished plant material both, wholesale to Garden Centers, Landscapers, and retail to the general public.

In a special article I will try to tell you my story, how I started, what kind of resources I've used, the obstacles I've encountered and how can you avoid them by learning from my mistakes.

But for now lets talk about the subject of how to start with the rooted cuttings: to grow them yourself or to buy them from other sources.

This depends on your possibilities and the time that you have available or if you want to wait until the little cuttings will grow roots.

Once you have build your little greenhouse, and purchased a few cell trays, fine potting soil to fill the cell trays with, then you are ready to harvest some cuttings to start propagating by roots.

For a greater success and a faster rooting process you will need some root hormone to deep the cuttings in, before you stick them in the cell trays. However, you can root the cuttings without the root hormones, so it's not really strictly necessary. Who knows, you might already have a "green thumb".

We joke around here when we talk about my wife that if she sticks a dry stick in the ground it will catch roots. I tell you, does she have a "green thumb" or what!

Before you do that you have to decide what kind of plants you want to propagate and sell. As I've suggested in the previous article, it would be a good idea to start with the woody evergreen shrubs that don't need heating in the winter.

Just have everything ready and in the next article I'll talk about how and where to collect the cuttings from, and how to cut and make them ready to stick them in the rooting cells.

In the meantime just make sure you are working on building your first greenhouse and have it ready. If you do it right, this thing will grow wings and there's no telling where and how far can it take you!

Just stick with me and get your hands dirty for a profit, and a good one, too!

Until the next article,

Mike Borlovan

Growing Plants In A Limited Space For A Hefty Income

This article is about growing plants in a small and limited space to create a hefty income. Even if you have a larger place it is still wise to start small and grow as you go.

If you have hit some hard times, like we all do once in a while, loosing your job, trying hard to make ends meet and pay your bills that never seem to go away, then this could be your way out! You never know.

In other words you feel like you are in a crises, and you've exhausted all attempts to find a job to get on your feet, with no success! That is if you look at the situation and conclude that it is hopeless.

But don't look at this opportunity as a last resort only! You should view it as something that could change your life, something that should have been on the front burner. Maybe you've never thought about it like it is presented here in this article.

But remember, there is always hope and opportunity even in crises, and in hard times. Sometimes we have no idea what resources we have inside of us, if we would just stop for a moment and look around in search for some way of getting ahead, we'll be surprised of what we could be capable of achieving, just by trying and not seating idle.

Getting back to our article subject about how to grow plants for a profit in a small space, it could be easier than you've ever thought. With a strong will and determination you can do it!

And believe me, I'm talking about my own experience, it is not something I've just read about. I have done it myself. So I know pretty much what it takes and I also know for a fact that it can be done!

It is almost impossible to write everything about this vast subject in a single article, but if you stick with me for a while, I will explain the best I can in a series of articles related to this very subject.

Please notice that I'm not trying to sell you anything! This article is simply to help you get some ideas of how to start this plants growing business, and where to begin. Growing and selling garden and landscaping plants to create an income, even from your own backyard, is easy.

And let me tell you a little secret of mine. I've been involved in the sales business most of my life. And at times when nothing else seemed to sell, plant material always were selling!

There is something about gardening, that many people find pleasurable and enjoyable just to get away from their every day problems, and spend quality time in the tranquility of their little paradise!

And another thing about growing plants is that they never talk back! He-he-he! They just grow while you sleep. Isn't that nice!

But let's get to it orderly and in a step by step fashion to achieve this simple start up business of growing plants for creating an income, as much as the size of this article will permit.

First you need some space, be it a small space or a larger one if you have available. If you have a back yard and a front yard, you'll need to start your growing operation in the back, and a small sales space in the front if you can.

Or you can sell the shrubs and seedlings from the back yard as long as you let your friends and neighbors know that you have plants for sale. There are many other ways to sell plant material, that I'm going to explain in another article.

Now let's get started by choosing a nice sunny spot in the back yard, where you want to place a small greenhouse.

When you choose the location, there are a few considerations to keep account of:

1) A close source of water. That's a must. You can not grow anything without water.

2) A plot that is level and not too sloppy.

3) The plot should be clear of rocks, tree roots protruding from the ground, and free of grass and weeds.

If you can get some gravel for the ground base that would be perfect. If not, a roll of ground cover from your hardware store would be great, to keep the weeds from growing in your greenhouse.

4) Build a small greenhouse. This is not as hard as you might think. You can build it on the cheap, with very little investment.

A) Mark the spot that you prepared for the greenhouse in the 4 corners with stakes. Let's say you have a small space of about 40 x 20, or 20 x 50, or 30 x 10. It doesn't matter.

B) Measure from the extreme stakes in diagonal from one corner to the other: adjust the stake in the ground accordingly, to make sure the whole layout is a perfect rectangular shape. This will make it easier for you when you'll cover your greenhouse.

C) Drive in the ground some treated 2 x 4's pieces of about 3' long, on the sides, front, and back of the greenhouse in a straight line, leaving 1 foot above the ground. The distance between the 2 x 4's depends on the size of your greenhouse. I would drive them in the ground at about 4 feet apart.

D) Get some 1x4x10 and nail them against the 2x4 driven in the ground at the base level, all around the frame of the greenhouse, to have something to staple the plastic film cover. (After you covered the greenhouse, nail a strip of 1x2 alongside and on top of plastic film and the 1x4, to keep the plastic cover from being snapped up by the wind.)

E) Get some 20' long PVC water pipes 1.5" or 2" diameter, with a schedule 20 or 30. They are more flexible and easier to work with to create several bows. Doesn't have to be schedule 40.

F) Fasten the ends of the pipes to the 2 x 4 that you've driven in the ground, using nails or brackets from the hardware store. Make sure the end of the pipe bows are well fastened to the 2x4 that' driven in the ground.

G) Get some scrap wood of 2x4 and 1x4 to build some kind of frame in the front and back of your greenhouse to enable you to fasten the plastic cover. Make sure you have doors in the back and front for access and air circulation.

The doors can be made of light frames with 1x2's or 2x4's and covered with plastic film. And have a pair of hinges on each door.

Once you've fastened the end of the pipes across on each pair of 2x4's making a bow, you are ready to cover your greenhouse.

G) Buy a roll of clear plastic film, 3 or 4 mil is preferable, about the size of your greenhouse. Now you are ready to cover your new project to house your rooted cuttings and seedlings.

Before you start rooting your own starter plants, it would be a good idea to just buy a few from an online or local Nursery source, just to get you started.

You are going to need this Greenhouse to grow and protect your rooted cuttings and/or seedlings during the winter time. You want to buy and grow the kind of woody shrubs and tree plants that do not require heating in the winter, only some protection from the elements while they are still young.

We'll talk about the rooted cuttings and the seedlings a little later. For now we are working on a little greenhouse made of cheap materials, many times available around the yard. The PVC water pipe system is inexpensive, is pretty flexible and it will withstand the wind.

You need to put them to good use. It's so easy, and very achievable and profitable, too.

If you really need to get to some money faster, you can locate some reasonable wholesalers of plant materials in your area, and start buying and selling for a profit.

In the autumn and winter people buy shrubs and dormant trees to give the plants time to get established in the ground for the next growing season. So plants are selling anytime.

Another thing you want to look for, is to find some source of used plastic pots and trays from some Nurseries around your area, or from some large department stores that have a Garden Center section. Many times they give them for free or very cheap. Just ask around.

Get a feel of it, and in the meantime you can start to google all you can, to learn about plants and the Nursery business, as much as possible. Or just read our nursery related articles.

In the following articles we'll be talking about how to collect and root your own starter plants, how to water and fertilize, and a lot more related to this growing plants business in a small space to create your own income.

Until next time, keep your hands dirty, and profit from it!

Mike Borlovan

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How To Build Your Wooden Shed Like A Professional?

If you are a homeowner and care about your landscaping and your yard maintenance tools, you need a good wooden shed plan to protect them from the elements, and to keep them locked up.

There are unlimited resources to accomplish that, but if you want to build it like a professional you will need a good solid plan, as well as a step by step guide to do it right.

In this article we are talking about wooden build sheds, that will not only protect your yard assets, but at the same time it will improve the looks of your property as well.

A nicely designed  architectural wooden shed, and strategically placed, will very much elevate the looks of your landscape as a whole.

Without a good plan and step by step guide, you might end up with an odd looking shed that would seem like an elephant in a room. Or too big, or too small and disproportionate to the size of the yard or the landscape. You don't want that.

Then the choosing of the right material could be tricky, if you don't have a clear plan from start to finish. That could spell trouble in the end by wasting your hard earn money.

So to build your wooden shed like a professional could be a challenge if you are not prepared to take the necessary first steps to do it right from the beginning.

But where and how would you start? Maybe your imagination could go wild contemplating in your mind what kind of wooden shed would you like to have.

Well, how about a resource of 12, 000 plans of wooden sheds and other woodworking projects, and all these in one single place?

All the plans, lists of materials and blueprints all in one place to get started anytime.  It cannot get any easier than that, isn't it?

Even if you are a good handyman and an accomplished do-it-yourself person, you still need some good and well organized plans for any project you want to take. Everything at your fingertips, step-by-step guide to achieve your desired wooden shed.

As for the value of your property, a well build wooden shed could make a lot of difference. The improvement and the image of your home could grow dramatically!

If you enjoy woodworking, you are most likely aware of the time and effort required to plan for a good project. And at the same time, you have probably come up against the same old brick wall like most of us have now and then. I don't know about you, but I like simple. The common sense way.

By applying these readily available wooden shed projects, you will save a lot of time and headaches.

If you are a woodworking enthusiast, you see better than most the value of a beautifully crafted piece of workmanship. Once finished you can be proud of a well planned and well executed project that will last for many years to come.

It is a great satisfaction and enjoyment to see your wooden shed coming up the way you like it, the way you probably imagined it for a long time.

So why postpone the project and why not start it right away? It is offered to you like on a plate, take it, and you'll be glad you did. To get started click here.

Mike Borlovan


Friday, October 22, 2010

Getting the Best Price For Your Home Includes Landscaping For Curb Appeal

Getting the Best Price for your Home Includes Landscaping for Curb Appeal

by Michael J. McGroarty

You are welcome to use this article on your website or in your newsletter as long as you reprint it as is, including the contact information at the end. Website URLs must be active links. You are welcome to use this article with an affiliate link,

If you own a home, then sooner or later you are going to be ready to sell that home. Maybe you've already sold a home or two. People tend to move more often than our parents did.

There are a lot of things that go into getting the best possible price for
your home, but the very first thing your home needs is curb appeal. When a prospective buyer, or a realtor for that matter, pulls up in front of your home, they immediately form an opinion about your house. Fair or not, that's what people do. You can have the most beautiful home in the city, but if prospective buyers don't get a super positive feeling about your house the minute they lay eyes on it, they are going to enter and view the rest of your house with a negative impression.

Fixing that problem is easy enough to do.

When people pull up in front of your house there are two things they see.  A house, and the landscaping in front of that house. If the landscaping is unattractive, the house will appear to be unattractive. Landscaping for curb appeal does not cost a lot of money, it's simply a matter of making sure the landscaping is neat, with well defined edges, and colorful. But when landscaping for curb appeal, the most important thing you need to do is to raise the beds with topsoil. Of course you have to do this before you plant.

Plants do much better in raised beds, and the plants in the beds really
stand out. In order to raise the beds around your house you do not have to buy expensive stones and build retaining walls. Just establish the outline of the planting beds, cut an edge into the soil with a spade, and fill the planting beds with approximately ten inches of good rich topsoil. You'd be amazed at how much you can raise a planting bed without any type of retention.

Here are two more things you don't need:

Plastic edging. It's expensive, a lot of work to install, and it never
stays in place. You can cut an edge with a spade and your landscape will actually look better. Then you can make the bed a little larger any time you need to.

The other thing you definitely do not need is weed control fabric. The
stuff just doesn't work. The weeds grow right on top of the fabric, then
root through the fabric making it even harder to keep your beds weed free.  You'll find a really good article on weed control on my website.

When landscaping for curb appeal, plant placement and selection is very important. In a corner bed you need a centerpiece. I like Canadian
Hemlock because they are evergreen and provide an excellent background for more colorful plants. In front of the Hemlock you can use a bright colored evergreen like Gold Thread Cypress, but don't use too many. Usually three is all you want. Around the backside of the same bed you can use a darker evergreen like Taxus or even a flowering shrub that you keep trimmed down low like Weigela. Lots of colors are fine, but don't stagger the colored plants in your landscape, use them in groupings, and be careful not to use too many in any one grouping. When you use more than three of any colored
plant they lose their effectiveness. You are adding them for contrast, and when used sparingly they look much better.

There are lots of landscaping photos on my website that will give you a lot of good ideas.

In front of a house I like to use an arc of medium height plants like Blue Girl Holly, then put a couple of taller plants behind the arc. When
landscaping for curb appeal you want the landscape to stair step toward the house. In other words, the lawn is the bottom step, the raised bed is step two, low growing plants step three and so on.

If you are re-landscaping an older home you probably should start with a sledge hammer before you do anything else and bust out the sidewalk to the front door. Builders put in the ugliest sidewalks in the world, and they usually are hard to maneuver as you walk toward the front door. Once you have the old sidewalk removed, let your imagination run wild. Remember, you are landscaping for curb appeal, and there is no better way to establish ultimate curb appeal than with a beautiful curved walk that gently winds its way to the front door. Once again, there are photos of such sidewalks on my website, and you'll see what wonderful landscaping opportunities they present.

The last step in landscaping for curb appeal is to create an interesting
shaped raised bed in the front yard. Fill this bed with spring flowering
bulbs, and annual flowers for the summer. If your house is going to be on the market in the fall, add some chrysanthemums for a burst of fall color.

So what's the best benefit of landscaping for curb appeal? You'll gain
great experience so you can make sure your new home is landscaped just the way you want it!
Michael J. McGroarty is the author of this article. Visit his most interesting website,  and sign up for his excellent gardening newsletter. Article provided by  If you use this article the above two links must be active.