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Inland Echo » Home and Garden » Improving the home inexpensively through outdoor beautification

Improving the home inexpensively through outdoor beautification

By Gerry Frederick

Home improvement doesn’t always mean inside the home. It can be improving your yard and property in general too. And it doesn’t cost nearly as much as do materials or contract work on the house.

Photo by Gerry Frederick.Improvement is totally in the eye of the improver. That’s to say the people that are doing all the work. Working outside can be a lot cheaper than other renovations but the work is almost always harder. This is another way to save money and make money at the same time. You save by doing the grunt work yourself and make money by driving the value of your property higher and higher all the while making your property that much more enjoyable for everybody.

I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to landscaping and work around the yard. I have a big yard with lots of flower beds, strawberries, raspberries and trees. Sure, we love it when everything starts to come to bloom. But it’s getting there that is the issue. It’s a lot of work every week and we know it but it still drives us to work on it even more. Strolling through the yard in summer is the one reward we relish.

Photo by Gerry Frederick.Hundreds of flowers are in full color along with dozens of fragrant flowers filling the air with different scents as we walk around. Still, it’s a lot of work and every day it demands more and more. Believe it or not this year we are planning another two planters for flowers and I’m looking at a cherry tree and perhaps a pear tree too. The only thing saving the lawn from more planters full of flowers is that the kids need somewhere to kick the soccer ball.

We do try to add landscaping aspects that help with all the work. Things like treated landscape ties to divide the flowers and other plants. They make it easier to manage the grass and for the most part define flower beds from lawn. We tried a new thing a few years ago that is working very well. We plant flowers that come back each year and that saves us from all the work of planting each spring. Perennials are a true work saver.

We also planned it out so that we have flowers in all the beds blooming all year. When the early ones are done some other flower with a funny name takes over. It’s a good system and it works well for us because it keeps the work down as well as the cost and that’s what I’m talking about, lower work load and ever lower cost. Come to think of it, that’s how Susan got me on board with the yard work in the first place.

Photo by Gerry Frederick.Walks through the greenhouses can be cheerful, however there sure is a lot to know. My method is pretty simple. I call her over and say, “We need some of these,” and she says, “No we don’t. They die in the fall. Look over there and find something you like. They come back each year.” And off I go. After a few years of this I haven’t learned anything about what dies in the fall and what comes back. What I did learn is that you can’t go on this kind of expedition without supervision.

Truly it’s getting better. This year I bring my glasses and after some careful tutoring I know where to look on the label to get the info I need and I start my color and size selection from there. Boy I do admire those that know this stuff already. As far as my yard goes I regularly take credit for the great flower beds and the wonderful selection of plants.

The truth is my only real participation is carrying the stuff to the car and unloading it all when we get home. I’m sure that’s the only reason she tolerates me even being there with all my questions and unresponsive demands on total control. My goal this year is to have more than the apple tree on my list of plants I honestly know the name of.

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