You can no longer stand the shrubbery you planted two years ago that has turned brown instead of vibrant green.
The roses that you replanted from your cousin’s yard never really took to the soil in your yard.
And that rolling green lawn you’ve always dreamed of looks more like a rundown Little League baseball field with some green, but mostly dirt and sand.
Fear not. There’s hope for homeowners from landscaping experts ready to spice up your property and improve its curb appeal.
Greg Morin, of Shaker Hill Outdoors in Poland Spring, gives sound advice of where to begin your landscaping project. “Assign a budget. It is very important to know how much you are willing to spend on the project to help figure out size and quantity of plants you will need."
Know your sun exposure. Morin explained, “Knowing how much sun exposure your landscape area gets during a day is very important. This will help in selecting the types of plants you will purchase.”
And perhaps the most important element Morin shared is to know your soil.
“It is important to know what type of soil you have before selecting plants. Some plants prefer acid, such as evergreens, and other plants prefer a more alkaline soil, such as Spirea. (Spireas are small to medium sized deciduous shrubs that produce cascades of flowers in spring and summer.) It would also be helpful to know if your soil is sandy, rich or clay to help determine what types of plants will work best,” advises Morin. “Soil can be treated to adjust in any of these situations.”
Conrad Davis II, president of Davis Landscaping in Lisbon, suggests taking a careful look at what activity will take place in the area you’d like to landscape.
“Think about all the functions and features you want to address. This can encompass many areas such as privacy, recreation areas with a pool, play areas for children, entertainment areas, dining areas, or outdoor living areas,” said Davis, who believes that creating a landscaping plan comes easier when the homeowner has a clear vision for the space.
“The operative word here would be ‘planning.’ That is why we refer to a landscape plan,” said Davis, who has been beautifying homes for over 35 years. “By having a plan, one can look at it on paper, cull out ideas that don’t make sense, and add those that were omitted.”
Davis adds that a long-term landscaping plan will make the project more affordable as it allows time to budget and prepare for associated costs.
Rick Gammon, from Gammon Landscape Nursery in Auburn, notes some projects that he’s worked on that brought results to the homeowner’s original plan.
“The work done at the Cat Ramey residence is an example of proper choice of the correct plant for the site,” said Gammon. “The Rameys came to us with a sunny, steep, and dangerous slope that they didn't want to mow any longer. We gave them several options instead of grass. They chose Massachusetts Bearberry.”
Gammon said that the plants do well in full sun, will take arid soils, and they spread at least four feet with a dark glossy green oval leaf with bright red berries in the fall.
At the offices of Building Solutions, LLC on King Street in Oxford, the owners loved roses and had tried to grow them unsuccessfully. The site was shady, but the owners still wanted lots of colors.
“We chose astilbe, hosta, daylillies, mountain laurel, rhododendrons, and yews," said Gammon. “These are all plants that ... do okay in shade and are somewhat drought tolerant. They are plants that give color at different times throughout the summer and other times of the year.”
Morin at Shaker Hill believes that landscaping can be easy for homeowners and do-it-yourselfers.
“We love to assist people in creating their own landscapes. Our employees will ask a lot of questions and provide the information necessary for almost any person to do their own home landscape project,” said Morin. “Pictures of your proposed area are always helpful.”
Davis adds a bit of caution to the process.
“Although it (landscape design) may seem fairly simple in theory, there is a phenomenal amount of expertise and knowledge required,” said Davis. “All this lends to the idea of going through a professional.”