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19 Things Your Landscaper Won’t Tell You

Add as much as 15% to your home's value with these expert landscaping tips.

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01 Landscaper Wont Tell You Graww MowerISTOCK/BRADWOLFE

Ditch the Mower Bag

Those grass clippings will become food for earthworms and microbes that will help make your lawn green and healthy. Here are some more tips for growing a healthy lawn for your home.

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02 Landscaper Wont Tell You Window ViewISTOCK/SOLIDAGO

Look at Your Landscape From Inside the House

If you have a room with a big window, make sure it looks good from there too.

Here are some eco-friendly tips to make your yard “greener.”

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03 Landscaper Wont Tell You Plant FlowersISTOCK/VGAJIC

Don’t Fill Everywhere With Plants and Flowers

By next spring, you’ll have a weeding and pruning nightmare. Don’t give up gardening all together, though—gardening has some surprising health benefits.

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05 Landscaper Wont Tell You Red MulchISTOCK/CHARLIETURCHETTA

Pretty” Red Mulch Might Not Be Best

It has been found to contain arsenic and other harsh chemicals that can be harmful to children and pets and will contaminate your soil. Psst—If you see white stuff on your mulch, this is what it means.

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04 Landscaper Wont Tell You Bagging LeavesISTOCK/UKRAINEC

Hate Bagging Leaves?

You don’t have to. If there’s just a light layer, go over them with your mower and leave them on your lawn. As they break down, they’ll help limit weeds from popping up.

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Hand Checking Soil On Ground At Vegetable GardenPIYASET/GETTY IMAGES

Send a Soil Sample to Be Tested

Dig down six to seven inches deep and then gather two cups of dirt into sample bags. Mail them off to a local agricultural agency to find out what nutrients you need. Can you reuse potting soil in planters?

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06 Landscaper Wont Tell You Buy Potted PlantsISTOCK/SARAHDOOW

 If You Find a Flower You Like, Always Buy More Than One

Plant clumps of species in odd numbers, such as five or seven in one area, or repeat the groupings throughout your landscape for a unifying effect. Don’t miss these secrets from the garden center.

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07 Landscaper Wont Tell You Front YardISTOCK/TAB1962

DIY Landscapers Plant Beds Too Narrow, Close to House

You want to extend your beds out at least one- to two-thirds of the house’s height, if not more.

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08 Landscaper Wont Tell You Canvas CoverISTOCK/CJP

Weed Fabric is Generally a Waste of Money and Time

I once had a customer whose beds had seven layers of weed fabric, yet she still had weeds. I guess she kept thinking, If I put down just one more layer, the weeds will stop coming.

Here are some natural ways to kill weeds without chemicals.

10 / 19

09 Landscaper Wont Tell You FurtilizerISTOCK/BANKSPHOTOS

Most Lawn Fertilizers are 30% Nitrogen, Which is Way Too Much

Look for a fertilizer with time-releasing water-insoluble nitrogen and use it only twice a year on a steady schedule, like on Memorial Day and after Labor Day. In general, well-irrigated and older lawns need less fertilizer.

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10 Landscaper Wont Tell You Tall FlowersISTOCK/NICHOLASHOFFMAN

Watch Out for “Purple Loose-Strife,” or “Lythrum Salicaria”

Though it’s inexpensive and has a lovely flower, it’s an invasive species that will spread everywhere and choke out other plants.

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11 Landscaper Wont Tell You WaterISTOCK/DARRYA

One Inch of Water Per Week Is Ideal

Infrequent watering encourages roots to grow deeper to find groundwater, creating a stronger plant. Check out the best watering cans for every garden.

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12 Landscaper Wont Tell You FlowersISTOCK/MAGMOS

Look at a Color Wheel When Choosing Garden Flowers

Colors that are opposite each other, like yellow and purple, look beautiful together. These purple perennials will provide beauty every year,

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13 Landscaper Wont Tell You Landscaper PlansISTOCK/DARRYA

Hire a Designer, But Landscape Yourself

If you don’t have a big budget, hire someone to do a landscape design and then install it yourself in stages. That will keep you from making costly mistakes, like putting plants in the wrong spot.

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14 Landscaper Wont Tell You Plants DrivewayISTOCK/GOLFLADI

Don’t Plant Bushes, Spruce Trees at the End of Your Driveway

Trees and shrubs planted at the end of your driveway may look nice, but they can block your view of oncoming traffic. Keep your line of sight clear. Check out the top 10 small shrubs for small spaces.

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15 Landscaper Wont Tell You Garden HoseISTOCK/TROPPER2000

Don’t Overspend and Then Neglect to Maintain Your Landscape

One thing I’ll never understand: people who spend thousands on their new landscapes…and then neglect to water the plants. It happens all the time. Look for these water wise plants that will thrive in a dry spell.

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16 Landscaper Wont Tell You Plant TreeISTOCK/VICTORASS88

Plant Too High, Rather Than Too Deep

People have a tendency to over-dig, and the roots of the tree or plant can get buried, causing it to suffocate, or water accumulates at the root level and rots out the roots. Here’s the right way to plant shrubs and bushes.

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17 Landscaper Wont Tell You Kids PlayingISTOCK/ARTMARIE

Kids Make Make the Job Take Longer

We know they are curious and want to help, but please try to focus their energy in other ways. And squirting us with a squirt gun? Now you’re really pushing it. Check out 25 secret garden tips we learned from grandma.

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18 Landscaper Wont Tell You Glass WaterISTOCK/LANDSCAPER

Stay Hydrated

Landscaping is a workout, so stay hydrated while you’re out in the sun. And please don’t stand there talking to me with a cold drink when it’s 100 degrees out. Offer me one, too.