Easy projects to spruce up your mid-summer landscaping

  • By Angie Hicks
  • Tuesday, July 15, 2014 4:03pm
  • Life

Having a mid-summer’s dream of better landscaping? Here are three easy projects to help realize your vision:

Mulch makeover: Fresh mulch will liven up your flowerbeds and areas around trees. Landscapers and garden centers sell mulch in bulk or by the bag. The most standard bag size is 2 cubic feet. Bulk mulch sells by the cubic yard, which is equal to 13.5 standard-sized bags.

If your yard is like most American lawns, you have about one-third of an acre, most of it grass. Making your planting beds pop can cost as little as $2 a bag ($19 per cubic yard) or as much as $7 per bag ($47 per cubic yard) depending on the quality and type of mulch.

Most landscapers say buying in bulk is cheaper in the long run, even with delivery fees of about $50. Many landscapers will also install it. If you’re going to spread it yourself, have the load dumped onto a tarp for easier cleanup.

Cut corners (and curves): Edging a flowerbed, tree or other landscaping element can boost its aesthetic appeal. Following the shape of the bed, cut into the surrounding lawn about 6 inches with a shovel or other sharp tool. The edge can stand alone, or you can fill it with brick, stone or other material, at a cost ranging from $4 to $15 per square foot. For a clean look, create some separation between the soil or mulch and the edging material. Or keep a stand-alone edge sharp by going over it with a shovel or other tool every few months.

Green up your grass: For every inch of grass above the ground, say top-rated lawn pros, there’s an inch of roots below. If you cut too close to the ground, roots may die. Set your mower height so your lawn is trimmed to a minimum of 3 inches. That will encourage thicker turf that resists crabgrass, among other benefits.

If your dreams are more expansive than these relatively easy do-it-yourself spruce-ups, here are terms to help match the right pro to your project:

Lawn service: Mows, trims, and administers fertilizer and weed killer.

Gardener: Often performs routine chores.

Landscaper: Plants trees and shrubbery; modifies and replaces existing plants and materials; establishes new beds; installs sod or seeds a lawn; and does routine maintenance. Some landscapers offer design services.

Landscape architect: Often works on large, custom projects, providing site plans for drainage and landscaping. Can also do smaller complex projects.

Landscape designer: Provides a blueprint showing placement for each plant and feature.

Certified arborist/tree service: Prunes trees and diagnoses and treats disease and pest problems.

Horticulturist: Diagnoses plant diseases and advises on watering and feeding schedules.

Before you hire a company, make sure it has a good reputation on a trusted online review site and is appropriately licensed, certified and insured. Get a written contract covering all pertinent details, including payment amount and schedule.

Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, www.angieslist.com, a resource for consumer reviews.

More in Life

Mukilteo’s Hani Hani scores with the police chief

The Japanese restaurant serves dishes (poke, ramen, grill) inspired by the Hawaiian islands.

‘Coco’ is another eye-popping home run for Pixar/Disney

The animated movie’s a lively, touching tale of honoring family, following dreams.

Beer of the Week: Scuttlebutt’s Barrel-aged Belgian Winter

Made in 2013, the dark strong ale was stowed away in barrels. The brewery tests one each year.

‘Love, Chaos and Dinner’ an Teatro ZinZanni’s original show

The “Parsian cabaret” is a superb circus dinner theater operation in Marymoor Park through April 29.

Heavy Hollywood headlines: Robert Horton’s movies preview

In the midst of all the sexual-misconduct allegations, the holiday film season offers some relief.

Denzel Washington’s remarkable performance isn’t helped by plot

The actor is convincing as an awkward, eccentric lawyer, but unconvincing contrivances pile up.

‘The Breadwinner’ animation is strong, but its story is stilted

The Cartoon Saloon film never lets you forget that you’re here to learn an important lesson.

Pianist Kaitlyn Gia Lee, 10, of Mill Creek, will perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major on Nov. 26 with the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra.
Young pianist to perform Mozart with Everett Philharmonic

Kaitlyn Gia Lee, 10, of Mill Creek, will play the piano at the Music for the Imagination concert.

Liz Oyama as Belle, Jimmi Cook as Gaston and John Han as Lefou star in the Edmonds Driftwood Players production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” opening Nov. 24. Magic Photo
In Driftwood’s ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ Belle has girl-power bend

Edmonds Driftwood Players presents Disney’s adaptation of the fair tale Nov. 24 through Dec. 17.

Most Read