New home basics

Make the yard work for YOU!

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You own a house. Congratulations! Get comfortable indoors, do the painting and picture hanging, and then come outside with us.

 

First, throw out the term "yardwork."

We can help you make the yard work for all you want to do out there without making yourself a lot of work.

Here, we'll walk you through the basics in a sequence we've found to be simple and efficient. You click what you want help with. We'll show you basics, including links to materials and tools you'll need.

(Takes you straight to that list of basics!)

You can have it all in your yard: Beauty, flowers, playspace, patio, storage. Here's help to make it happen, simply and without any do-overs.

You can have it all in your yard: Beauty, flowers, playspace, patio, storage. Here's help to make it happen, simply and without any do-overs.

Focus that pays off: One spot first, hard structures before plants

Once you're out in your yard, pick a particular place you want to start -- size doesn't matter but if you keep it to an area about 10 x 20 you can complete just about anything there in one weekend....

If you can't decide between a couple of areas, consider that it's usually most rewarding to start with what you see the most. You'll see what you did, every day, and feel good about it.

Before you get into plants, decide on any hard structures -- patios, walkways, covered sitting areas, pools, sheds, etc. Even if a particular item seems like a dream or is off in the future, knowing where you might want it makes a difference in everything else you do.

Want personal help, free? You got it!

Many hands make light work!

At any time if you want extra help, you can turn to our Forum. Post your question and photos if you have them, of your yard or a particular project or problem. It's free and there are quite a number of us there who can help you with individual issues. Take advantage of that help before you buy things for your yard or hire it done!

Click what you want to do:

We have many how-to articles to help you. Here* are those most useful to someone new into a home, whether it's a brand new home or simply new to you.

  • Plan changes for the lowest possible maintenance. (PDF outline)
  • Pruning the shrubs and trees.
    First, don't worry. Just go ahead and cut what is most in the way or overgrown. If It dies, it's not in a loss but an obstacle removed!
    Second, for lower-priority too-big's or too-shaggy's, take a look at specific examples of cut-backs, here or enter the name of the plant you want to cut in the Search field (upper right on any page).
    Third, plan to cut mightily next spring. Check What's Coming Up 86 and download our all-round pruning guide for 80+ types of shrubs.
  • Watering and mowing.
  • Irrigation installation & repair.
  • Renting power tools and equipment.
  • Improving the lawn, or starting over!
  • Patios and decks: Where, how big, what kind.
  • Designing a garden or landscape
  • Choosing, placing and training young trees.
  • Renovating a neglected area
  • Controlling weeds
  • Eradicating/Weeding out "good" perennials that are weedy.
  • Figure how much mulch you will need
  • Figure how much fertilizer to apply, and which kind
  • Figure how much rock you will need
  • Figure how much soil you will need
  • Potted plants outside
  • Varmints and other problem control
  •  Ask a personal question now on our Forum. Or email it to us at info@GardenAtoZ.org. (It's faster through the Forum but we do answer every email we receive.)

*If the topic is here but not linked, it's about to be! We're still bringing many of our articles onto the site from our 20-year library; a few of these were still in queue as we wrote this so we've moved them up in the line.

Ray Wiegand's Nursery, supporting our growing with plants, materials, ideas:

 

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