Greensheet Media


4 Specialized Ways to Make Your Yard Beautiful

The most popular way to make your yard look beautiful is to cultivate a lush, green lawn. So everyone does it. If you want your yard to really stand out, use a lush, green lawn as a starting point and use a few simple, specialized ways to make it really beautiful.


Plants, Shrubs, and Trees

Feature plants and trees in your yard that look interesting all year long. Evergreens are a good starting point. They provide greenery even during the dead of winter. Deciduous shrubs and trees can also provide interest during every season. For example, the red twig dogwood (Cornus sericea) produces a riot of pink blossoms in spring. During summer, green leaves grace its branches, turning ruby red and burgundy in autumn. Its namesake red branches stand out against the barren winter landscape, providing a splash of color.


Tree Trimming

For a specimen tree in your yard, plant a full-size variety and keep it small by trimming it annually. Try planting the Appalachian Red Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Appalachian red’). It blooms with rosy purplish-pink flowers on bare branches early in spring and sports pale yellow leaves in fall. Some companies, such as Pete & Ron’s Tree Service, Inc., know that this tree requires heavy trimming every year to keep it in scale as a specimen in a city lot. The serviceberry or juneberry (Amelanchier spp.) can also be pruned annually to maintain a specimen-sized tree suitable for an urban landscape. It has white flowers in spring, edible blueberries in June, and yellow to red leaves in autumn. Both of these trees provide visual interest during all seasons of the year.


Mulch, Mulch, Mulch

Often overlooked, decorative mulch around specimen trees and covering the soil in planting beds gives your yard a beautiful, polished, finished look. There is a seemingly endless variety of mulch materials. Some can make your yard look formal, others evoke a more casual feel. For a formal look, consider decorative stone. Available polished or natural, tumbled or rough-cut, stone mulch comes in virtually every color of the stone rainbow, from the purest white to the darkest black. To create a more casual look, use wood chips, also available with smooth, polished edges or hard angles. For the most casual look of all, put down cocoa hulls, buckwheat hulls, hay, or straw.


Define Border for Planting Beds and Tree Rings

To clearly define your garden beds and the area immediately around tree trunks, contain their mulch with clearly-defined borders. Use materials such as bricks set soldier-style, half buried in the ground. Or you can lay the bricks the long way, so their tops are even with the surface. A benefit of this method is the bricks become a “mowing strip” which eliminates the need to use a weed-wacker to cut the grass up next to the border. One wheel of the lawn mower rides over the bricks, cutting the grass right up next to them. No more weed-whacking.

It’s not terribly hard or expensive to create and maintain a beautiful landscape. Plant trees and shrubs that have interest all year, trim and prune your yard’s specimen trees annually, mulch your garden beds and tree rings, and define the borders between the mulch and lawn.

Rachelle Wilber

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber;