Lawn and Landscaping Tips for First-Time Homeowners

Buying a home for the first time can be overwhelming for a lot of people, especially once they consider all the responsibilities that come with homeownership. One major responsibility for new homeowners is the sudden upkeep of their new lawn. For those who have not had to tend a home lawn and landscaping, getting started can be quite tricky. Using these landscaping and gardening tips helps people develop their skills in the yard.

Aim for Simplicity

Taking over someone else’s garden can be a delight and a source of stress, particularly at first. People who lack a lot of experience in gardening with different types of plants may be wise to try to limit their commitments in the first couple of seasons. Starting slowly helps homeowners pick up the skills, but also get a sense for the design and function that works best.

This might mean planning to keep up the existing landscaping for a season while learning more about the property and making plans for the next year. Homeowners with bare yards could decide to add grass and a few small plants or bushes to simplify their burden. Perennials that grow up every year are often easy to produce and maintain. Otherwise, people might look for local flora that will thrive more naturally in the environment.

Use the Right Tools

Although many gardening tasks can be done with a limited equipment, there are certain tools that almost any homeowner will need. Regular landscaping jobs involve planting, watering, weeding, pruning, and replanting. Common tools include:

  • protective gloves

  • protective eyewear

  • hose with sprayer

  • lawn mower

  • shovel

  • trowel

  • rake

Beyond these basics, people might also want to add a weed trimmer, hedge trimmer, and gardening shears. Most tool manufacturers offer guides for safe and effective use.

Consider Professional Assistance When Needed

Being a homeowner means learning to do certain tasks personally, or hiring someone else to do it. At first, many people discover that it is easier to have a professional come in to do it correctly. Fortunately, homeowners can usually choose how much involvement they intend to have. Knowing when to call a professional for help is key. For example, people might decide that they would like a plumber to put in or repair a sprinkling system, but they would like to do everything else for themselves. Or, they may prefer to have a landscaping service come in once a year to seed and aerate the lawn, and hire a local teenager to mow it.

Keep a Moderate Watering Schedule

There are plenty of threats to a home’s yard and garden, but the watering schedule tends to have the most effect. People worried about underwatering their plants may end up killing them with too much water. This balance can be difficult to settle because the right amount for a yard in one neighborhood might be too much or too little in another. People can get broad watering advice that will give them a good start, but they need details about their plants, the type of soil and their climate. Local nurseries and landscaping companies may have recommendations based on this information.

Consider Timing

As with so many aspects of nature, there is a right time for everything in the landscape. Plants should be watered when the summer temperature is coolest, to avoid losing water to evaporation. Plants, flowers, and vegetables have a region-specific growing season and will not thrive if planted too soon or late in the year. Trees and bushes also maintain a growing schedule and should be planted, transplanted, or pruned in the right season. Sometimes, knowing the right timing requires people to start planning their future landscaping needs in the fall or winter.

Anticipate Problems

Homeownership is a long game, and gardening is no exception. People who are too afraid of making an error or killing a plant might end up preventing themselves from learning, growing, and enjoying their yards even more. Homeowners should prepare for the possibility and even the likelihood that some of their efforts are going to fail. A willingness to learn from faulty planning or execution will help people to do an even better job next year.

Having a yard is a lot of work, but being able to use and enjoy it is the biggest reward. Homeowners who invest time to learn how to maintain and improve their landscaping will reap the benefits for years to come.