Summary: Before any planting of the landscape is done it should determined if any grading of the property or landscape site is required.
If the ground is uneven and grading must be done, this is the next step.
The accompanying sketch indicates how a grade can be established by the use of a simple little instrument known as a line level. This is merely a string level, that it can be hung on a tightly stretched cord.
You can buy one for a dollar or two in any hardware store.
A rough grade can be established with any soil that may be available. Wherever grass or flowers are to be grown the top three or four inches (and preferably six) should be of good quality top soil.
Using string, stakes and a line level to set the landscape grade.
Grade The Landscape Early
Grading of the landscape should be done as far in advance of the planting as possible. There is bound to be some settling of the soil, with resulting unevenness.
If the work must be rushed, thorough watering, followed by regrading of the surface. Next rolling as soon as it is dried out sufficiently.
This will considerably lessen the amount of settling that will take place later on.
Laying Out Curved Landscape Beds
Curved, lines, particularly if they are irregular curves such as those defining the front edges of shrubbery borders, deep boundary plantings and flower borders, may present some difficulties.
By using a piece of stout rope or a garden hose, layout the desired effect. A “true curve” can be laid out without difficulty.
The line can then be permanently marked with short light stakes driven in at intervals of a few feet, somewhat closer where the curves are sharp.
In laying out landscape designs some landscapers use thin boards nailed to stakes driven well down into the ground.
Such an edging makes it much easier to finish off the areas that are to be seeded to grass up to the edge of a flower bed or borders.
This greatly simplifies the task of maintaining true neat edges. For permanent edgings for roads and walks – metal, concrete, rock or stone and plastic curbing can be obtained.
Trees Before Flower Beds and Lawns
In planting it is best to plant the shrubs or trees that are to go along the boundary lines, and large sized individual trees, before flower beds and lawns are prepared.
Otherwise work already done may result and will need to be redone. It is not always possible to do this part of the planting first, but the effort should be made.
Too often a beginner, merely through inexperience, plants flowers and sows grass without giving a thought to trees and shrubs until later on.
Lawn areas, after being laid out, require special preparation before the seed is sown if success is to be assured. You’ll find the topic of lawns discussed in detail in our lawn section.
Great Satisfaction With DIY
If the suggestions given above are followed out with reasonable care, the homeowner who desires to be his own landscape designer will find the task can be accomplished with wonderful results.
When the grounds are planted you will have the great satisfaction of knowing that they are, in design as well as in execution, your own handiwork.
You may desire to have additional information on landscaping, the care and maintenance of your property, and on specific plants and topics such as:
- Rock Gardens
- and Roses
Many books can be found at Amazon.com, your local garden center or library as well as articles on the web and videos on youtube. Most provide an wealth of information and tons of ideas.