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19 Things Your Landscaper Won’t Tell You

Add as much as 15% to your home's value with these expert landscaping tips.


Ditch the mower bag

Those grass clippings will become food for earthworms and microbes that will help make your lawn green and healthy. Here are some more tips for creating a lovely yard for your home.


Sure, the view from the street is important, but don’t forget to look at your landscape from inside the house.

If you have a room with a big window, make sure it looks good from there too.

Here are some eco-friendly tips to make your yard "greener."


 Don’t fill every inch of your space with plants and flowers.

By next spring, you’ll have a weeding and pruning nightmare. Don't give up gardening all together, though—gardening has some surprising health benefits.


 We know you love that "pretty" red mulch, but...

It has been found to contain arsenic and other harsh chemicals that can be harmful to children and pets and will contaminate your soil.

Check out these gardening tips for beginners to learn what you should be doing when you start your landscaping or gardening.


 Hate bagging leaves?

You don’t have to. If there’s just a light layer, go over them with your mower and leave them on your lawn. As they break down, they’ll help limit weeds from popping up. (For the sake of your neighbors though, just don't use a leaf blower.)

You can send a sample of your soil to a local agricultural agency to have it tested.

Dig down six to seven inches deep and then gather two cups of dirt into sample bags. Mail them off to find out what nutrients you need.


 If you find a flower you like, always buy more than one.

Plant clumps of species in odd numbers, such as five or seven in one area, or repeat the groupings throughout your landscape for a unifying effect.

Love flowers in your home? Here's how to make them last longer.


 DIY landscapers tend to make their planting beds too narrow and too close to the house.

You want to extend your beds out at least one- to two-thirds of the house’s height, if not more.


Laying weed fabric is generally a waste of money and time for the long term; weeds just grow on top of it.

I once had a customer whose beds had seven layers of weed fabric, yet she still had weeds. I guess she kept thinking, If I put down just one more layer, the weeds will stop coming.

Here are some natural ways to kill weeds without chemicals.


Most lawn fertilizers have about 30 percent nitrogen, which is way too much.

Look for a fertilizer with time-releasing water-insoluble nitrogen and use it only twice a year on a steady schedule, like on Memorial Day and after Labor Day. In general, well-irrigated and older lawns need less fertilizer. (Just make sure you're aware of the risks of using fertilizer if you do.)

View Slides 11-19
Originally Published in Reader's Digest