Top 10 Small Landscape Projects for 2015

24 Jul 2015

Tips and advice from our garden experts

To honor the recently retired David Letterman and his widely regarded "Top 10 List", I thought it fitting to create a list of our own. This one, though, isn't about the Kardashians or some government boondoggle. This one might actually inspire an improvement or project implementation at your home. Oh, and these aren't meant to provoke laughter either―Anyway, here's the countdown:

10. A Planter/Pottery. I see far too often undersized pottery being used in the home landscape. But here's a tip―go bold and big! Yes a larger planter can be more expensive, but you should only need one or two. And don't forget to "nail it down" with a generously-sized evergreen (i.e. Boxwood topiary ball or cone).

9. Color. Paint a bench or that garden wall a bright color that you may not have prior to reading this. A punch of color will do wonders! Play off of that color with complimentary-colored annuals and perennials.

8. Light it up. A small installation of LED landscape lighting pinpointed to that oak tree in the backyard or the palmetto in the corner will bring your landscape alive at dusk.

7.  Eat it up.  Build a small raised garden, but build it well. This enables you to control the soil conditions better. Think 4' x 4' using 2" x 12" lumber.  If you like the results, add another box next season for a larger fall crop.

6. Plant an edible landscape. No, I'm not asking you to graze the front lawn. Just think of the benefits: good looking plantings with a side of fruit. I like pineapple guava, loquat, kumquat, blueberry, rosemary, Meyer lemon, and fig tree. Yum.

5. Speaking of food―oysters. Their shells, actually. Use them crushed as a garden path, whole or roughly crushed in a small area as a special mulch, or mixed in as tabby for a small concrete patio.

4. A gate. Demarcate an area (make an outdoor "room") with a hedge or small fence, but find an antique or other special gate as an entry point. Go back to #9 and jazz it up with an eye-catching color.

3. Furnish. The tried and true for me is teak. And, don't be afraid to let it weather to an elegant shade of gray. Buy the best quality you can for long lasting use.

2. Cut down on that lawn. I think the trend towards smaller lawns is smart and environmentally correct. Confine the areas where you do wish to maintain grass and use a commercial grade edging or brick or 1" x 4" pressure treated lumber to show off clean bed lines.

1. And, for the summer/fall of 2015, the number one small landscape project is to build a pergola! An architectural feature, one that provides a bit of shade and a place to grow a flowering vine or rose, would be a welcome addition to most landscapes. Keep it sturdy with "beefy" dimensional lumber. It doesn't have to be big, but it will be elegant.

That's it. And don't worry, no stupid pet tricks with my dachshund, Buster, until next time. He does help me dig, though ...

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