5 Ways to Landscape Like a Pro

Landscaping is a great way to create curb appeal and add beauty to your home. The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are five simple, cost-effective ways to landscape your lawn and garden like a pro.

  1. Create a Low-Maintenance Lawn. To create a lush, professional-looking lawn with minimal maintenance, leave the clippings on the grass when you mow so they can gradually decompose and return nutrients to the soil. Seed your lawn with a mix of durable, slow-growing Kentucky bluegrass and other cool season grasses. Apply the grass seed between mid-August and mid-September so there’s plenty of time for the young plants to become established before winter sets in. After seeding, water the lawn until it’s moist to a depth of four to six inches. Continue to water as needed until the weather cools off. Apply fertilizer in September and October to keep your lawn green through the fall and give it a head start in the spring.
  2. Add Definition and Impact. Stand across the street and look at your home as though you’re new to the neighborhood. If your trees and shrubs are obscuring windows and other details, give them a good pruning to reveal the architecture of your house. If you share a yard with your neighbors, consider planting a row of leafy shrubs such as burning bush, which turns vibrant red in the fall, or hardy roses to create a pretty hedge. If your flowerbeds and pathways are overgrown, use a half-moon edger to cut new edges and add stones or blocks to create definition. To add designer-style impact, browse antique shops and flea markets for vintage wrought iron gates, picket fencing, statuary, and other ornaments to embellish your garden.
  3. Nourish Your Garden. For an easy, inexpensive way to ensure an impressive lawn and garden, have your soil tested at the University of Minnesota Soil Testing Laboratory, which analyzes soils from Minnesota and bordering states. For $17, the lab will test a sample of your soil and provide useful information to help you enrich your soil with minerals and other nutrients to create optimal growing conditions. After you plant flowers, shrubs, and trees, add a layer of mulch—often available at no charge from your city—around the base to prevent moisture from evaporating from the soil and weeds from taking hold. Start a compost heap with coffee grounds, eggshells, tea bags, vegetable and fruit peelings, and other non-meat and non-dairy foodstuffs. Water the compost heap and turn it frequently. As the material decomposes into rich, crumbly brown dirt, mix it into your soil for a nutritional bonus.
  4. Narrow Your Palette. To give your garden a professional look, think like a designer and select flowers and shrubs in a limited palette of colors and repeat them throughout your garden. Depending on the color and style of your house, create a serene garden with flowers in varying shades of white and gray, a coastal-style garden with pale pink, blue, and white flowers, or a vivid, bright garden with orange, pink, red, yellow, and purple flowers. Look through garden magazines and coffee table books to get ideas for balancing sizes, shapes, and textures. To make the most of our short growing season, buy healthy, good-sized plants from reputable nurseries and garden centers. Keep the plant tags and receipts, as many will guarantee perennials for a year from purchase.
  5. Plant a Heritage Tree. To create long-term value and add immeasurable beauty to your home, consider planting a heritage tree—important for their size, beauty, and ecological value—such as a sugar maple, American linden, white oak, birch, Norway spruce, arborvitae, and others. As your tree grows, it will help reduce your home’s energy consumption by blocking cold winds in the winter and creating shade in the summer. Your heritage tree will also help clean the air and provide a home for birds, squirrels, and other wildlife.

Next spring, when the snow melts and the ground thaws, your hard work will pay off with a healthier lawn, bigger blooms, and stronger plants that will grow more beautiful every year. Be patient—as professional landscapers often say, a newly planted garden sleeps quietly the first year, creeps slowly the second year, and leaps vigorously the third year.

Color Experts Are Seeing Red, In a Good Way

No one knows what’s to come for 2023… Except, well, likely various shades of red and warm, daring pigments! Color experts are going bold this year. In the next few paragraphs, we’ll highlight some of the top colors of the year and how to incorporate them in your own home!

Do Your Wallet & the Earth a Favor with These Spring Cleaning Hacks

With all the time we’ve spent in the house over the colder months, our homes likely aren’t reflecting the freshness of spring. To put it frankly, you likely have some deep cleaning ahead of you. Rather than going out and buying a different cleaning product for each task at hand, we’ve cultivated a list of our best cleaning remedies, all using less-harsh and fairly common elements you might already have at home. 

Fabulous Flowers for Spring Planting

For some people, the warming weather is a call to dust off the gardening gear and get out and tend to beautiful plants and flowers. For others of us not blessed with a green thumb (guilty!) there may be some trepidation around the spring planting season. One way to ease into spring planting is with container gardens since they can add instant color without a lot of effort. Here is a list of flowers to look for at your local nursery or garden center to create fun and easy potted gardens for your spring curb appeal.

Preparing Your Home for Extreme Winter Weather

Most of the country is in the deep freeze of winter right now, and it is important to properly care for your home to make sure you and your property come through safely. Read below for some tips to make sure you are prepared when the temperatures take a dive.

Mortgage Payment Breakdown: Where Does Your Payment Actually Go?

Chances are you know exactly how much you make your check out for every month when you pay your mortgage, but do you know what you are actually paying for? As a company, we talk a lot about interest rates and closing costs when investigating a refinance or purchase, however, once all the paperwork is signed it’s easy to lose track of the exact terms of our mortgage. Let’s take a deep dive into exactly what your mortgage payment is allocated toward. Read on for a full mortgage payment breakdown.

Tips for that Quick Fall Fix

Fall… It’s finally (or already?) here. The leaves are changing and the temperatures are dropping. There’s no denying that there’s just something about this season—in 2020 especially—that’s tempting to bring it within the walls of our homes. When it comes to decorating for the fall season, there are a few ways to easily incorporate that comfy, cozy feel you’re after. We put together some key factors that’ll give you that quick fall fix.

Get a Fresh Feel with a Budget That’s No Big Deal

Chances are, you’ve been looking at the same indoor scene more than usual as of late; it’s understandable if you’ve grown tired of it. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a refresh with minimal work and a small budget? You’re in luck... We’ve put together some ideas for giving your home a big update with little effort and minimal money.

Spruce Up Your Outdoor Living Space

No matter if your outdoor space is a city balcony or a sprawling acreage in the country, having a space you love is key to enjoying the short summer months. Read on for tips to add some charm and charisma to your outdoor space.

Hop, Skip and Plant Your Way to Spring Curb Appeal

Throughout most of the country spring has officially sprung, even in the frozen tundra of the upper midwest (finally). Along with the spring sunshine comes new growth and blooming gardens that brighten up our homes and lives. To make sure your curb appeal is on point, check out these spring tips below.

Unknown Dangers Lurking in Your Home

Our homes are where we feel our most comfortable. We feel safe inside. Unfortunately, there could be some hidden dangers inside your house that can affect you and your family. Read on for what to look for to keep your home safe.

Tips for Maintaining a Luxurious Lawn

Summer means time spent outdoors and having a good-looking lawn creates the perfect space for play and lounging. Here are some tips to help you get and maintain a luxurious lawn.

Preparing for Spring Cleaning

The thought of cleaning before cleaning may seem odd, but making sure that your cleaning tools are in tip-top shape can save you time when you start your spring cleaning. Read on for ways to get yourself prepared to get cleaning.

Liven Up Your Space with an Indoor Garden

While the calendar may say it is spring outside, the weather doesn’t always cooperate. If you are getting tired of the winter blahs it may be time to spruce up your space with an indoor garden. Read on for tips to green up your digs.

Looking at a Fixer-Upper? The Benefits of a Renovation Loan

If you are searching for your dream home and are not finding what you are looking for, it may be time to consider a home that you can purchase and renovate into the home you’ve always wanted. If you don’t have the cash on hand to tackle a renovation after you purchase the home, consider a Renovation Loan. Here are more details and benefits of a Renovation Loan:

Spring Cleaning: 8 Places to Focus to Freshen Up

Winters can get long and homes can start to show the effects of being closed up for months at a time.  As the warm weather approaches, getting the house in tip-top shape jumps to the top of most to-do lists.  Here are eight places to focus to get your home feeling fresh.

Cold Weather Curb Appeal: Easy Ways to Winter-Ready Your Home

Now that the Halloween pumpkins have been relegated to the compost heap and the autumn leaves have all been raked and bagged, it’s time to think about spiffing up the exterior of your home for the holidays and beyond. Here are some easy ways to give your home a warm, welcoming vibe that lasts all winter long.

Ready. Set. Update! 5 Easy Weekend Projects

Ready to give your home a fresh new look? Pick a summer weekend, roll up your sleeves, and take on one of these simple, satisfying projects. If you’re better suited to playing creative director than contractor, enlist a local expert to help.

Designing with Houseplants: Green Thumb Not Required

Flip through any top interior design magazine and you’re likely to see houseplants, either in artfully composed vignettes or as centerpieces on dining room tables and dramatic sculptures in living rooms. If you weren’t born with a green thumb, growing houseplants is easier than you think, as long as you select the right kind for your home. To give you a head start, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite low-maintenance houseplants.

Get Your Garden Winter-Ready: 7 Easy Ideas for a Fall Weekend

Winter is a gardener’s friend, providing flowers, shrubs, and trees with a well-deserved opportunity to rest and rejuvenate after a lush, showy summer. To give your garden a jumpstart on next spring, spend a sunny fall weekend planting, mulching, and watering. With these autumnal preparations, your efforts will be rewarded next spring with a healthier, more beautiful landscape.

Getting Your House in Order: How to Build Your Own Home Repair Rolodex®

With cooler weather just around the corner, now’s a great time to get your personal Rolodex® of home service experts in order—before you actually need them. After all, the best time to call an electronics installer is before you buy the deluxe home entertainment system, and the worst time to find a friendly, cost-effective plumber is after your pipes have frozen. To help create your list of trusted home experts, here are some tips for finding the right people for each job.

When to Do It Yourself and When to Call in the Pros

Let’s face it: there’s no shortage of DIY home repair and renovation information on TV, in magazines, and certainly online. In fact, tune in to HGTV any time of the day or night and you can immerse yourself in home remodeling projects and the brave folks who attempt them.