Denise Mathews, Realtor, is a Northwest Indiana born, raised, and lifelong resident and multiple business owner. Join her in exploring The Region thru the Northwest Indiana Living website & social media sites.

The First Step To Spring Landscaping: Test Your Soil pH Level

Healthy soil is the foundation of a beautiful landscape! It sets the stage for a lush, green lawn. Yards with proper nutrient levels naturally resist weeds, disease, and adverse conditions for a more beautiful look.

If you have never had a soil test for your lawn and garden, the first step on your spring landscaping list is to have your soil pH tested. This test will determine nutrient levels and pH.

There are many ways to get your soil tested, from DIY Home Kits to sending soil samples to a professional soil testing company. The end goal is to amend your soil with the lacking and necessary nutrients to bring it to optimal pH level and health.

Nutrients All Lawns Need

Nitrogen (N): Nitrogen is critical for promoting lush, green growth.

Phosphorus (P): Phosphorus is needed for root growth and overall plant health.

Potassium (K): Potassium strengthens plant health by supporting functions that help your grass tolerate adverse conditions.

Secondary Macronutrients: Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulfur are also important macronutrients needed for a thriving lawn.

Micronutrients: Boron, Copper, Iron, Chloride, Manganese, Molybdenum, and Zinc assist in keeping a lawn healthy.

Optimal Soil pH Level

A soil test will measure the pH level of the soil on a scale of 0 (acidic) to 14 (alkaline). The optimal soil pH level is 6.5 pH, which is slightly acidic (7.0 is considered neutral).

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To increase the pH, amend the soil by adding lime or wood ash. To decrease pH, add sulfur, aluminum sulfate or natural acidifiers like peat moss or compost to your soil.

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Photo Credit: Photo by Daniel Helpiansky on Unsplash

Spring Landscaping Tips For A Lush Lawn

Now that the soil condition has been diagnosed and amended, we have the proper foundation to grow a beautiful, weed-free lawn. The following spring landscaping tips for the lawn helps the yard recover from a cold Region winter and prepare for a hot summer.

RAKE
LAWN AERATION
OVERSEEDING
FERTILIZATION
WEED CONTROL

Rake and Dethatch

Now that the weather is breaking, thatch the dead grass and rake up any leaves, dead twigs, and debris that has collected over the winter. Not only does the yard look better instantly, but it also prevents the growth of mold and mildew.

Lawn Aeration

Aerating the lawn is one of the best things you can do for your lawn’s health. If you didn’t aerate in the fall, do it this spring before you fertilize! Aerating makes sure nutrients, water and air stimulates grass root growth for a beautiful lawn.

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Overseed Bare Patches

Identify any bare or thin areas in the yard and overseed them with grass seed. You’ll appreciate the “April showers” keeping your new seed wet! 

Spring Fertilizing

Apply spring fertilizer in March or April, right about the time the grass starts to green up and after you cut the grass for the first time. Use a balanced NPK fertilizer formulated for spring use, preferably with a crabgrass preventer.

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Spring Weed Control

Spring is a great time to kill weeds before they even start to grow in the spring. Include applying a pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn and garden to your spring landscaping chores to prevent weed seeds from sprouting. Often, you can combine weed killing into the fertilization process with one bag of Weed and Feed. (Don’t use weed control for 6 weeks after overseeding). 

The Best NW Indiana Yards Incorporate Planning Into The Spring Landscaping Routine

The relatively blank slate of a NW Indiana yard in the early spring is a great time to take a good, honest look at your landscaping and identify areas for improvement. These could be areas in need of cleanup, repair, or enhancement. What could you do that would elevate your curb appeal?

BEFORE

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AFTER

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Photo Credits: ProsperityLawn.com

A Few Fine Details That Elevate Your Landscaping

Before adding spring plants and decorations haphazardly, analyze your yard’s layout. Think about the details that elevate a yard to the next level and plan ahead to incorporate some professional landscaper tricks into your spring landscaping.

  • Symmetry and Balance

    – Create mirror-image plantings on either side of a path to add symmetry to the look. Consider plant height, color, and texture to create balance.

  • Focal Points

    – Give the eye something to be attracted to! Vibrant specimen trees, a yard statue or art piece, or even a multi-layered flowering bed adds visual interest.

  • Hardscaping

    – Adding brick or stone edging, low walls, and flower boxes to define walkways and focal points is a great way to increase your home’s curb appeal.

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Photo Credit: Jonathan Roberts Landscapes

Benefits of Improving Curb Appeal For NW Indiana Home Owners

A beautiful, landscaped yard is a source of pride and outdoor enjoyment for many NW Indiana home owners. There’s nothing like relaxing in your own yard surrounded by flowers and the sounds of nature!

But the best benefit may come when you sell your home! Homes with landscaping often sell for 15-20% more than similar houses without landscaping. As long as you keep your landscaping budget in check, it’s a great way to increase the value of your home.

Q

Find out what your home is worth in today’s market! Fill out info about your home and you’ll receive your Professional Home Valuation by email.

Springtime Planting For A Beautiful Yard

Spring is a great time to introduce new plants as you strive to improve your yard status in The Region. Building off your spring landscaping plan mentioned earlier, get the right plants into the ground in the right spots. Bulbs, annuals and perennials add summer color and beauty.

Spring-Planting Bulbs For Summer Flowers

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There are 2 kinds of bulbs: Fall-planting bulbs and Spring-planting bulbs. Spring-planted bulbs are planted in the spring and grow summer flowers. They are “tender bulbs” because they can’t survive Midwest winters and must be dug up in fall and replanted in spring.

Don’t confuse these with spring-blooming bulbs like tulips which need to be planted in fall to bloom first thing in the spring.

Spring bulbs are easy to grow. Plant them as part of your early spring landscaping and enjoy a continual wave of flowers all summer long! Popular NW Indiana varieties include Day Lillies, Begonias, and Gladiolus, Caladiums and more. TIP: Spring bulbs are great for container planting as you can move the pot indoors for a safe over-winter.

Plant Annuals And Perennials In Spring

Annual and Perennial plants go hand in hand when planting out your landscaping in the spring. Annual flowers are needed to provide instant color and variety. Perennials are valuable as they grow back every year so you buy it once and reap the rewards forever.

Cultivating a nice mix of both, along with bulbs, is key to season-long beauty. Remember, do not plant until after the danger of frost is over.

Don’t Skip Mulch!

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Photo Credit: Denise Mathews with NWIndianaLiving.com

Mulching the flower beds, and around shrubs and trees is a spring landscaping must! Mulching keeps weeds at bay, helps the plant retain moisture, and deteriorates back into the ground for a healthy organic meal!

You can get your mulch by the truckload for a better deal, or buy it by the bag. But don’t skip a nice layer of mulch if you want a professional, finished look to your landscape.

Budget-Friendly Tips For Spring Landscaping

The best yard in Northwest Indiana doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many things you can do to stretch your spring landscaping budget, such as:

Grow Your Own Plants From Seeds

One of the most inexpensive ways to grow a yard full of summer blooms is to grow your annuals and perennials from seed. Start annuals early indoors and you’ll have flowers by June!  TIP: Harvest seeds from live plants for free!

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Photo Credit: Photo by Markus Spiske

Split and Divide Perennials For Free

Many perennials benefit from being split and divided, such as Daylilies, Black Eyed Susans and Hostas. You can essentially get free plants by splitting your own plants, or “borrow” splittings from family and friends.  If you didn’t split and divide in the fall, your last chance it to get it done in early spring!

Edge The Lawn For An Upscale Look

A crisp edge defining the grass from the walkways and flowerbeds is a simple way to upgrade your yard. You can use the weedwacker you already own to square up the grass edges for a very budget-friendly spring landscaping tip!

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Photo Credit: Photo by Max Vakhtbovycn