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08/20/13

Blank Canvas -- If Landscaping Was Easy, Everyone Would Do It.

Let's say your would-be green thumb is more of a shade of gray and that your idea of landscaping is cutting grass once it becomes to high to see your dog or cat.
That probably would lump you into a category with a majority of the population that simply doesn't know how or doesn't care to pursue landscaping as a hobby and certainly not a means of income. If everyone had a penchant for digging ditches, planting flowers or spreading mulch, then the landscaping industry as a whole would cease to exist.
But, there are times when we simply can't stand the though of staring blankly at dead grass and dull concrete and want to spruce up our front, side or back yards with a little springtime or summertime sizzle in the form of flowers, bushes and just a splash of color here and there.
Then again, you're not very good at landscaping, so now what? What's the easiest way to get the job done without making more work then before you started?
Truthfully, landscaping carries a stigma to it that simply doesn't need to exist. Often, home owners make landscaping seem like wrestling a lion or jumping over the Grand Canyon, when actually it can be done simply, efficiently and without fail -- even if you're not quite read for the pages of Home & Garden Magazine.

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Probably the safest bet when beginning a project is determining the functionality of the space. Is it for show? Do you plan on planting flowers and thus maintaining them? The answer typically resides on the former as most novice landscaping is mostly to make the outside of your home look as remarkable as the inside. The safest and easiest bet is to pick a mulch, any mulch and spread until your heart is content.
Mulch isn't what it used to be, but rather comes in colors such as black, brown and red and customers simply can't help but take those choices and match them up to deck rails, steps and siding for an all-encompassing look. Before the mulch goes down, use some type of plastic and you have the option of cutting holes for plants or flowers.
The nice thing about mulch is that lovers of low-maintenance will adore these wonderful chips of wood. You spread it down and it sits -- the end. No watering, no worries of animals eating it and very little upkeep, other than the occasional water run-off or fading of colors -- but both are over time. And don't forget to get some type of concrete or rubber edging for around the mulch to keep it shaped properly and from the elements washing it away.
As far as tools, keep it simple: shovel, wheel barrel and a pickax, which breaks up the solid ground if you're opting to plant fresh flowers. The safe guess, if you're not someone who lives to water and maintain plants, is mulch and some decorative rocks might be more than enough to suffice your landscaping escapades.

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