Before presenting my Top 10 List of New Year’s resolutions to improve your yard, let me anticipate an objection to New Year’s resolutions — and answer it. New Year’s resolutions have acquired something of a bad reputation. How could they not, since making New Year’s resolutions almost invariably leads to breaking them? But in the case of landscaping and gardening enthusiasts, I believe a judicious leniency needs to be shown toward such backsliding on New Year’s resolutions. For even breaking all of the entries on my Top 10 list of New Year’s resolutions would serve a useful purpose.
How can I possibly make such a claim? Has all that holiday eggnog clouded my judgment? Not at all. Think about it: resolving to undertake improvements to the yard in spring while still in the dead of winter is sufficient, in and of itself, to dispel the winter blues — regardless of whether or not you follow through on your intentions. The planning itself entailed in New Year’s resolutions is highly therapeutic.
There’s no denying that successfully dispelling the winter blues should be a high priority on the winter agenda of landscaping and gardening enthusiasts. We’re not like other people. Holiday parties and looking forward to the Super Bowl may placate some folks until spring returns, but not us. We feel a sense of utter deprivation, because the ice and the cold have robbed us of much that we enjoy about our yards. Short of taking back our yards from Old Man Winter (which we haven’t figured out how to do yet), the only way we can dispel the winter blues is to plan for better times to come, as we dream about do-it-yourself landscape design projects or finally hiring that Pro to come in and do it all for the spring. That’s where New Year’s resolutions come in.
Seed companies understand the planning hysteria that grips even lukewarm plant-lovers during winter’s icy reign. They send out their enticing seed catalogs precisely when we’re so desperate for outdoor vegetation to return that we’ll buy seeds for all sorts of plants — plants for which we perhaps don’t even have any growing space to spare. We may end up never even planting half the seeds we buy. But it doesn’t matter: the seeds of hope have been sown in our hearts, hope that spring is on the horizon.
So, this is one case in which making New Year’s resolutions — even if we later break them — cannot be considered merely the idle musings of the will power-challenged. Making such New Year’s resolutions is good for the psyche; keeping them is just icing on the cake. Not that I’m against your keeping your New Year’s resolutions for landscaping, mind you. As much as the mere making of New Year’s resolutions to undertake home landscape design projects helps to get you through the winter, it is the keeping of those New Year’s resolutions that will improve your quality of life for the rest of the year. In fact, it is my hope that landscaping novices regard these ten New Year’s resolutions as a call to action. And to ensure that your action is a well-informed one. But without further ado, here are my Top 10 New Year’s resolutions for your yard.
Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Landscaping
- I will build a patio or deck (they’re easier to build than you think).
- I will install a water feature (it can be cheaper than you think).
- I will have pruning work done on any trees that present a hazard.
- I will define my landscape design tastes and implement them.
- I will grow some plants that will enhance my fall landscape design.
- I will provide maximum visual interest for the winter season.
- I will stop complaining about watering and do something to reduce water usage.
- I will stop complaining about mowing the lawn and do something to reduce lawn care needs.
- I will stop complaining about garden pests and take preventive measures against them.
- I will fully enjoy my yard, rather than being a slave to its upkeep. I will “stop to smell the roses.”
In order to “stop to smell the roses,” you must begin to take an interest in the background information about your plants. That will allow you to take more joy in your landscaping. Some plants have interesting stories behind them: how they’ve been used historically and the significance they’ve had in the cultures of the world. You can access a lot of this information in minutes by doing a quick Internet search. Once you have this background information on your plants, it will change your perception of them. As you walk by them in your yard every day, they’ll seem more like “friends” who have a story to tell and less like objects upon which chores must be performed.
Perhaps the most precious time to “stop and smell the roses” is spring, when Mother Nature shakes off the gloomy cobwebs of the winter season and runs barefoot through the re-discovered grass. Yes, enjoying the outdoors in spring means taking time away from other plans, so that you can enjoy a “silent spring.” You may even have to renege on one of your other landscaping New Year’s resolutions in order to remain true to this one, and you may experience some guilt over indulging yourself with such laziness. Dissolution and resolution don’t usually coincide; but here, they do. And that’s part of the beauty of this final resolution! Until next time…Happy Gardening!!
Jimmie is a Prosper resident and the owner of Absolutely Bushed Landscaping Company, an award winning, family and veteran owned and operated business created in 1980 to provide the highest quality custom Outdoor Renovation available to homeowners in the Dallas Ft. Worth area.