7 landscape projects to help improve your home

People have turned to gardening and landscaping while under stay-at-home orders across the country. It’s a time-honored American tradition during challenging times. Victory Gardens were an important part of the home-front effort during World War II. Americans planted an estimated 20 million Victory Gardens, which produced roughly 40 percent of the vegetables during the war.

Yard work is a great way to get outdoors and stay physically active. You are lifting things, shoveling and building. You keep moving even while stuck at home.

But you don’t need to landscape your entire yard in a weekend. You should break a larger effort down into smaller projects. Play the long game. You need to look for simple, short-term gains.

Here are a few project ideas to improve your landscaping:

Build a walkway

A stone or brick walkway is a nice addition to any home. A walkway connects different elements of your yard and improves the overall look and feel. When planning a walkway, you should first consider the elevation gain or loss, the distance of the walkway and the décor in the area of the yard. These criteria will help you decide on the type of walkway.

A walkway begins with digging out the route and building a gravel base. Then you add sand to level out the pathway. Next you design the pattern of the walkway, and then set the stone for the base. Depending on the pattern, you might have to cut the tiles or bricks to fit small sections. Once everything is in place, you can add polymeric sand to fill in the cracks and stabilize the walkway.

Consider this option on the following Mitchell Homes design:


Create landscape edging

Grass creeps out as it grows and takes over flowerbeds. Edging your lawn is the perfect way to enhance landscaping and add some decorative elements. You can edge the lawn with either a shovel or a motorized edger. Either method works and creates a nice, solid edge.

Once you create the edge, you can add rocks, bricks or even wood to build a physical barrier between the flowerbeds and the grass. This keeps the area tidy and enhances the appeal. The physical border prevents grass from spreading and taking over the flowerbed. The type of border you choose often depends on the length of the edged area and the design of your landscaping.

Consider this option on the following Mitchell Homes design:


Build a raised planter bed

Planter beds are a great way to fill a space. You can purchase kits, or design and install the planter beds yourself. They are just a few pieces of wood fastened together with nails or wood screws. It’s the perfect project to greatly enhance your landscaping.

Once you have the planter bed constructed, you will need to fill it with soil. You generally want a mixture of organic material and topsoil. The planter box can be used to grow flowers, herbs or vegetables. You should be able to find plenty of seeds at a garden center.

Consider this option on the following Mitchell Homes:


Plant a row of rose bushes

Roses add extraordinary color to your landscape. The flowers come in pretty much any color imaginable — pink, red, yellow, orange, purple, white and many more. Roses also come in a variety of styles. There are climbing roses and ground-cover roses. Some bloom early in the summer and others bloom continually throughout the year.

While you can grow roses from seed, most people purchase grafted plants from a local nursery. They are already well established. You can plant them in your yard, but they also grow well in pots. It’s also best to begin with only one type of rose. Your landscaping can look disjointed if you have climbing, bush and ground cover roses intermingled together. You might want to consult with your local nursery on rose varieties, because there are many options.

Consider this option on the following Mitchell Homes:


Add lighting

Lighting is a nice way to add ornamental features to your property and illuminate the landscape at night. It also makes your property safer, because it makes it easier to see. You can add lighting along walkways or around flowerbeds. 

It’s not that hard. Some lights are solar-powered and do not require you to run electricity. If a line is required, you just have to lay a 120-volt line from the house to the section of lighting. You probably want to hire an electrician, however, if you to attach the cable to the house.

There are numerous styles of outdoor lights to choose from and it’s easy to find one that matches the aesthetic of your house and landscaping. You can install flood lights, lights that point at the ground, lights along steps, garden lights and string lights. Each type of light serves a different function and presents a different style.

Consider this option on the following Mitchell Homes design:


Build an outdoor fire pit

The crackle of a fire and roasted marshmallows are easy to enjoy with a custom fire pit in the backyard. While you can easily go out and buy a fire bowl for the yard, a concrete or brick fire pit adds color and style to any landscape.

To start, you might want to check with your insurance agent. Some homeowner’s policies require disclosure of a fire pit on a property. To build the fire pit, you start by preparing the ground. Some people recommend concrete at the bottom of the structure but others just use dirt. You can build your fire pit with pre-fabricated pieces from your local hardware store like Lowe’s or Home Depot. You might want to use a level to make sure you are stacking the layers flat, and a little construction adhesive can seal the pieces together. Add a few chairs and you have a custom fire pit.

Consider this option on the following Mitchell Homes design:


Plant a tree

When you move into a new place or have a major life event, a tree can mark the episode. Trees also add beauty, natural habitat and texture to the landscape. When selecting a tree, you first need to choose between deciduous and evergreen. An evergreen tree is a pine or fir tree that grows all year. Deciduous trees, like maple or oak trees, lose their leaves in the fall and they grow back in the spring.

You can buy a tree as either a small seedling or a larger tree. The difference is the cost. A seedling can cost a couple dollars where a more mature tree can be $100 to $200 for some varieties.

It’s easy to plant a tree. Usually in the fall, dig a hole and put some organic material inside and possibly some sand. Place the tree in the soil and bury it. You just need to make sure it gets watered while the roots are establishing themselves and let it rest over the winter.

Consider this option on the following Mitchell Homes design: