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Landscaping at your new home

Moving into a new home allows you to have some fun decorating not only the inside, but the outdoor space as well. Here are some tips for your landscaping plans.

There are probably plenty of items you're packing to take with you to your new home; but a few items probably couldn't make your moving checklist. Permanent fixtures like the landscape around your current house or apartment may be something into which you've put a lot of time and energy. Unless all of your plants are potted and transportable, however, it's time to get back in the mood for outdoor renovation. Designing your yard and garden can be a truly rewarding experience and an opportunity to let your personal style shine.Get started with a few tips and tricks for landscaping at your new home.

Map out your space

You might have visions of fountains and topiaries in your head, but are your extravagant landscaping ideals geographically and financially feasible? Before sticking the shovel into the ground, get out a sketch pad or - better yet - some graphing paper and measuring tape. Map out the dimensions of your yard and create a scaled diagram that will allow you to understand how much space you have with which to work. Use this model to draw in your desired landscape, and include a key that defines symbols for various items, such as trees, shrubbery or decorative stones.

Select materials

As you begin to sketch out your dream yard, you may realize you have less landscaping expertise than the project would require. That's all right - there are loads of professional tools and experts on hand, and taking advantage of them won't cost you a thing. For example, check out the Better Homes and Gardens interactive online garden planner, which allows you to get some great ideas from the comfort of your own computer. Using the tool, you can drag-and-drop common landscaping items into a virtual yard to visualize how they might look in your own space.

If you prefer in-person advice, try visiting a local garden store. Assistants in various departments, such as the nursery or perennials, can help you select a varied collection of plants, such as trees, bushes and grasses. Additionally, they can aid you by offering suggestions as to accentuations that might complement your greenery, including benches, stones or statues.

Find the tools

You don't need a full shed of tools to complete a thorough landscaping project. Companies like The Home Depot and other hardware stores offer supplies that people can rent when they decide to renovate. It might be a good idea to call for estimates on specific products and rates before finalizing your yard design. Common implements include shovels, wheelbarrows and clippers.

Have you considered items outside of this list? You'll definitely want protective gear, such as garden gloves, goggles and a soft pad for kneeling on if you plan to do a lot of ground work like planting. For polishing the look of your yard, you may want additional tools, such as a hedge cutter, weed-whacker or edging implement for fine-tuned trims along borders and walkways.

Personalize the space

Picking out plants is only the first step. As noted, there are other accentuations that can add personality and a unique quality to your yard. Using gravel, mulch or stepping stones, you can create pathways through your garden. Metal borders can also help give structure to your space and separate elements like flower beds and the lawn.

If you're considering seating space in your landscaping design, you have a number of options. Traditional benches have an old-fashioned appeal and wooden seats blend well with a natural setting. Alternatively, you might want to try a stone seat or even a small picnic table. For the ultimate in backyard glamor, a gazebo is the way to go.

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