Fixing up the landscape is often Dad’s favorite hobby—but with all the work he does for the family, he deserves a break. One day per year is hardly enough to show our appreciation for the fathers in our life, but we can still seize the chance to freshen up the yard (while letting him relax!) with these DIY improvements.
Refresh Your Mulch
Spreading a new layer of mulch is one of the easiest ways to refresh your landscape. Not only does it give the yard a fresh, woody scent, it instantly makes your garden look well-cared-for. The work shouldn’t take more than an afternoon, depending on the size of your garden. Your plants will be happy with increased moisture retention and organic matter, and the layer of mulch will give Dad a break on future weeding. You can easily pick up a few bags from your local garden center or arrange for home delivery.
Sharpen an Edge
Redefining or adding a new edge is another sure way to polish up your yard. Using a border spade, simply recut the edge around your beds, water features or pathways, or go a step further by adding a line of brick, stone, or even flowers. An edge helps define the space, leads the eye, and gives a clean, polished touch that Dad will appreciate. To create extra-straight edges, set up a string between two stakes to guide your line.
Plant Some Perennials
Enhance your landscape with some fresh perennials. Add some color to a shady spot with a Hosta or Heuchera. Attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies with beebalm or milkweed in full sun or partial shade. Is there a time of the year when your garden doesn’t have flowers? Plant a perennial that blooms then for consistent color all season. Does your landscape look haphazard and aimless? Unify your landscape with a repeating color, or give your garden bed a focal point. There are plenty of gorgeous zone 5 perennials for Illinois that will impress Dad year after year!
Plant a Tree or Shrub
A tree or shrub can enhance and even transform the feel of your yard over time. Big trees purify our air, give shade, and offer birds a source of habitat, among other benefits. Evergreens provide privacy, winter interest, and shelter from the wind. Fruit trees and berry shrubs treat us with spring blossoms and summer eats. Planting is easy to do yourself. Dig a hole twice as deep and wide as the root ball, mix compost into the excavated soil then backfill with the mixture. Plant your tree or shrub 2” high as you will be applying 2”of mulch to the finished area. Make sure the trunk is straight and the base is level before you backfill. Feel free to consult our garden centers for more advice. As the decision has a long term horizon, you may want to consult J.U.L.I.E and Dad before you dig.
Install a Pathway
Adding a small path can make a significant improvement to your landscape. Paths connect spaces, create visual interest, and cut down on muddy boots.
A simple mulch trail through a garden is one option. Lay some landscaping fabric down first to keep weeds from coming up.
A gravel or crushed stone walkway is another choice. Three inches is usually enough depth, and a well-defined edge will prevent the rocks from spreading.
Stepping stones are another easy favorite. You can plant some ground cover, like thyme, around them to give extra charm, and lay some sand underneath to make the leveling easier.
These are just a few easy DIY projects to improve Dad’s prized landscape. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s up to his standards! The last thing you’d want is for him to redo a project that was meant to save him time to begin with. Our landscaping professionals would be happy to give you some advice on this! We can also help you install some even more elaborate projects if you wish to surprise your Dad or husband with something extra special this summer.
Platt Hill Nursery is Chicago’s premier garden center and nursery.