DIY Landscaping for Beginners: Where to Start

May 21, 2019
Gardener applying turf rolls in the backyard

Do-it-yourself landscaping might seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many ways you can easily improve your landscape, even as a beginner.

You can start small with simple weeding activities to clean out your yard, or you can do medium difficult work that requires grass bed replacement and planting. Whatever you decide to do, perform a general assessment of your yard first, and then plan your DIY approach.

What Does Your Yard Need?

A good way to assess the amount and level of work you need to take is to figure out what your yard needs. Does it need more trees or maybe it needs new sod? Then, align those needs with what you envision for your front yard. Do you have a style in mind, like a desert garden, with sculptural rocks and layered plantings of succulents or a therapeutic garden, with raised planting beds of aromatic and healing herbs?

Both would be suitable for Utah’s temperate climate. Plants that can withstand excessive sunlight and mild droughts can thrive in your yard. These include: ferns and shrubs, most kinds of grass, oak trees, maple trees, ash trees, and willows.

These drought-resistant flowers can also withstand the State’s hot and dry landscape:

    • Hollyhock
    • Forget-me-not
    • Snap Dragon
    • Coneflower
    • Lavender
    • Yarrow

Although such plants are hardier than most, none would survive if your yard has poor soil. You might need to replace the topsoil of your lawn with a fresh batch to ensure your new plants get all the nutrients they’ll need. New soil makes the ground fertile for optimal plant growth. But before you get topsoil delivery in Utah, you’ll need to assess your yard. Consider the soil structure, texture, and compaction.

Then examine your yard and see how many you can plant. Small yards can hold an ornamental tree or two, and a bed of grass and flowers. The size of your landscape doesn’t matter, as long as it’s functional with an irrigation system, it will still flourish with proper care.

After taking care of your yard’s softscaping needs, you also need to consider its hardscaping elements. You might want a new stone pathway, a small waterfall, or a patio for your guests. When making large changes like this to your yard, you have to plot it out to see what it looks like as a whole.

Plot your Landscaping Project

person's hand coloring the areas in the blueprint plan for landscaping

A landscaping project may look cluttered and not add visual appeal to your curb if it’s not organized well. Sketching your vision for the garden may tell you if your ideas are feasible or not. Maybe the variegated agaves you plan to place along the pathway to your front door could obstruct foot traffic. Maybe one area might benefit from hardscaping elements, like a retaining wall.

Whatever ideas you have in mind, visualize them through drawings. When you plan and plot your landscaping project, you’ll have the right placement for the right elements. And while you’re at it, consider placing a focal point.

The focal point is the first thing your guests see in your landscape. It can be anything from a sculpture, a plant, or a large tree, as long as they draw the eye.

Redesigning your yard can seem daunting at first. But with the right plan and bright ideas, you’ll turn your once “lifeless” garden into a landscaping paradise.

Scroll to Top