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Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for Your Yard

The Therapeutic Effect of Planning

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One version of my ceramic planter garden fountain.

Add pizazz to your yard with a water feature.

David Beaulieu

Before presenting the list of my Top Ten New Year's resolutions to improve your yard, let me anticipate an objection. You see, resolutions have acquired something of a bad reputation. How could they not, since making them almost invariably leads to breaking them? So why bother?

But in the case of landscaping and gardening enthusiasts, I believe a judicious leniency needs to be shown toward such backsliding. For even breaking all of the entries in my list 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.

And 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 snow 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 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 dreaming is anything but an idle pursuit. Wintertime planning for springtime improvements is good for the psyche; following through is just icing on the cake.

Not that I'm against your keeping them, 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 in keeping them that you will improve your quality of life over the long haul. In fact, it is my fervent hope that landscaping novices regard my list as a call to action. And to ensure that your action is well-informed, on Pages 2-4 all of the descriptions of my Top Ten New Year's resolutions for your yard contain links to articles that treat the projects and ideas discussed. But without further ado, here are my Top 10 New Year's resolutions for your yard.

Top Ten New Year's Resolutions for Landscaping

  1. I will build a patio or deck (they're easier to build than you think).
  2. I will install a water garden (it can be cheaper than you think).
  3. I will have limbing work done on any trees that present a hazard.
  4. I will define my landscape design tastes and implement them.
  5. I will grow some plants that will enhance my fall landscape design.
  6. I will provide maximum visual interest for the winter landscape.
  7. I will stop complaining about watering and instead work on improving my water conservation.
  8. I will stop complaining about mowing the lawn and instead explore low-maintenance alternatives to lawns.
  9. I will stop complaining about garden pests and take preventive measures against them.
  10. (I've saved the most important New Year's resolution for last:) I will fully enjoy my yard, rather than being a slave to its upkeep. I will "stop to smell the roses."

I elaborate upon these Top Ten New Year's resolutions for landscaping on Page 2. Please follow the links in the text on Page 2 to access articles that treat these projects and ideas in greater detail.

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