Landscape You Want

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When we spend time landscaping the yard, we want a successful outcome. We want to achieve the picture we have of how the yard should look when we are done.

Successful landscaping results come from planning before selecting the first plant, according to Kim Todd who is extension landscape specialist at University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She provided information at the 2015 International Master Gardener Conference held in Council Bluffs, Iowa in September.

A first landscape step is to picture the end result. When you decide what should be included in that picture, it enables you to have your personal stamp on the results. Lack of a plan can result in disconnected changes.

A collection of yard and garden magazine photos is one way to show parts of the landscape you envision. Examples in photos show your intention whether you decide your landscape plan alone or have input from a design professional. If you pursue a reality check on possibility of changes and their costs, it saves time and clarifies the picture. Plans can be modified as needed.

Todd suggests natural and use-related elements to think about in your landscape plan. Some examples of natural elements to consider include amending soil, improving access to light, improving yard runoff or erosion, or adding a wind barrier.

Use-related elements to consider in your landscape plan include examples such as changes to yard entrance and exit, checking views from various windows in your house, and thinking about the impact of changes on neighbors. Additions of walls, walkways, and lights are other use-related elements to consider in the landscape plan.

Other considerations include:

Is your space will be formal or informal?

  • Do the size of elements now fit the space? Are they in proportion to other parts of the yard?
  • Do changes enclose the yard as you wanted or open the space as needed?
  • What are the areas for focus and areas to screen?

While so many areas to be considered may seem to get in the way of progress toward the landscape changes, Todd stresses that by thinking about the areas the landscape plan before you plant, the changes in your yard may be cohesive and more likely fit with what you want.

Here are some examples as you as you begin to consider what you want for your yard. Photos were taken at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha in the fall, a time of year that some home flowerbeds are overgrown or in decline. Trees that flower in spring and have food for birds and attractive red berries in fall offer wide appeal as a yard fundamental.


These beds show this color from when installed in about June to frost. Celosia gives the orange color that is prominent here.

IMG_4220Various containers of plants can provide spots of color for each part of the season. These blue asters, mums, and ornamental cabbage worked well in fall.


Some flowerbeds bloom throughout the season, such as these roses.


After you have decided the overall picture of what you want for your yard, then spot projects such as a bed using begonias and rambling sweet potato vine for color makes sense.


Thanks for your visit today. We hope you’ll join us next week at Plant Exchange Blog as we look for first signs of spring.


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