Sunday, November 27
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Create Your Perfect Landscape

Winter is the perfect time to assess your home landscape to see if you are happy with the way it looks and functions, or if there is room for improvement. Planning now for changes or additions you want to make in spring puts you ahead of the game. You can consult with landscape and design professionals to zero in on changes you want to make, then get your project into their schedule before the spring rush hits.

Investing time and money into the grounds around your home is well worth the cost and effort. Not only does good landscaping enhance the appeal of any home and create a beautiful setting for it, a well-designed landscape will also work for you, making it easier to get around to all parts of your property and to do the things you like to do outdoors. The landscape helps support your lifestyle and interests. Landscaping has been shown to boost resale values and overall property worth. But perhaps above all, your landscape can simply improve the quality of your life in many ways. That is, if it is designed to suit your needs. Here on the East End, well-designed outdoor space increases your total living space from late spring through fall. The right landscaping around your home makes the house look grounded and complete, integrated into its setting. The house just looks like it belongs there. Plantings, hardscape and structures can also work, individually or in concert, to welcome visitors and direct them to your door, or to provide privacy screening to create just the right setting for outdoor activities such as dining, playing sports and games, exercising or doing yoga, or just plain relaxing. The landscape works on many levels.

Assessing Your Landscape
Here are some things to think about as you walk your property and consider your landscape:
First, what are the growing conditions on your site? How much sun do you get, and at what times of day? Sun lovers like roses need at least 5 to 6 hours of unobstructed sunlight a day. If you haven’t got it, opt for plants that can thrive in shade (and there are varying degrees of shade).

What’s your soil like? Get a soil test and choose plants adapted to the kind of soil you’ve got. Then add compost each year to keep it healthy.

Do you need a windbreak to protect your plants from drying salt and abrasive sand carried in the wind? Screening between your plants and the prevailing winds is a good idea, even if you don’t live near the water.

Do you have color when you want it most? Include plants that look best when you are most likely to spend time outdoors. Plan your landscape around your favorite time to be outdoors. Summer, of course, but for many of us, autumn is the favorite time of year.

How do you use your outdoor space? If you like to entertain, is there space for dining, for gathering friends? Would you like to see colorful flowers near your patio, or a privacy screen alongside the deck? Would you like an outdoor kitchen, or better lighting? Or a fire pit, chiminea or outdoor heater for cool weather?

Spending time assessing your home landscape now can let you more fully enjoy your outdoor space when the weather is fine.