Chris Lambton is the host of the DIY Network’s “Lawn and Order”, “Yard Crashers” and appears on HGTV’s “Going Yard.” We talked to the landscaping enthusiast about where to get started as a landscaping and gardening beginner.
What are some landscaping projects you would suggest for beginners?
One of the best landscape projects for beginners is to edge and mulch your yard. It is an easy first step for homeowners, is inexpensive to do and gives you immediate gratification for a job well done. Mulching will give your yard curb appeal, help keep down weeds in your flower gardens, act as a compost feeding your plants and it smells nice. You can purchase mulch by the bag from most garden centers. I recommend ground pine mulch and not a large wood chip mulch as that takes longer to break down. If you have a larger area to mulch you can get mulch delivered, by the cubic yard, and dumped in your driveway. This is a less expensive option than by the bag but does require a pitchfork, a wheel barrel and some extra work.
What are your top three tips for someone who wants to tackle their landscaping and gardening projects?
Figure out what you want in your yard first. The first step when I am working in someones backyard is to ask them what they enjoy doing outside. If you like cooking then start a vegetable garden and outdoor kitchen, if you like to entertain maybe a fire pit with lots of seating. Make your yard personal to you and your family.
Location, Location, Location. Choosing the right spot to start your backyard transformation is key. Figuring out location of the sun, privacy and prevailing wind is important to consider before putting anything in the ground.
Start small. Makeover shows I execute on HGTV are very different than real life transformations. What you aren’t seeing are the 25 people with decades of experience working late into the night to get the job done. By starting small you can get the project done in a timely manner, get confidence in working outside and enjoy the project. One step at a time will keep a homeowner from getting overwhelmed.
What are the dos and don’ts of landscaping?
Do plan for the yard to have year around color. This is often overlooked by people in their landscape plan. It is easy to get beautiful color during the summer but the other seasons take some research and planning.
Don’t overplant. Homeowners (and some landscapers) plant to get immediate gratification. Plants are placed too closely together so it looks lush and full immediately without thinking 3-5 years down the line. When planting, find out how tall and wide a plant gets and allow it enough space to grow. If you plant them too close together it will impede their growth and can result in plants dying off or having to be removed.
What are the top three necessary landscaping tools every new gardener should have in their basket?
The three tools every new gardener should have are a metal rake, long handled spade shovel, and a manageable wheel barrel. The metal rake is great for grading out the yard before and after planting, spreading mulch and thatching the lawn. The spade shovel is perfect for digging holes for planting or turning over your vegetable garden every spring. The wheel barrel is used almost every season for transporting plants and dirt, as well as helping remove leaves and sticks in the fall. With these three tools in your garage or shed you should be well on your way to making a magazine worthy yard.