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A raindrop on a rose blossom adds just the right touch.  Ask why gardening rewards Pat and me with so much joy and we will give you many reasons.   We always emphasize our belief that gardening, especially effective landscaping, is something that's important to everyone who owns their own home.    Any house can be beautiful inside but not  truly gorgeous without a landscape to compliment it.  The payoff is day-to-day enjoyment and an opportunity to significantly enhance the monetary value of your property. 

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Learning about gardening is not much different than learning to cook.  First, master the basic principles and then apply your personal style.  Don't forget the vast knowledge base existing on the web especially the horticulture department of your state university.  The above photo of Don was taken while he was teaching weekend gardening classes at Rolling Hills Nursery in Murray, KY

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Create your landscaping to compliment a focal point.  A front, rear or side entrance are good places to begin.  Keep in mind the purpose of the entry point when you devise your plan.   

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Landscape all exterior walls paying particular attention to stretching all four corners.  Window boxes are a great touch but avoid wooden ones. 

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Landscape all exterior walls paying particular attention to stretching all four corners.  Window boxes are a great touch but avoid wooden ones. 

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Make sure you create an inviting front entrance.  It's a great place for container gardening and sure to appeal to your guests especially when it's time to show your home to prospective buyers. 

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Dress up outbuildings rather than trying to hide them.  Even include them in your landscaping plan.  A fresh coat of paint, window box and a brick path with surrounding landscaping might turn a potential eyesore into something far nicer.  

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Create harmony by constructing "hardscape" features that work well in your garden.  Consider adding such things as a water garden, pergola, retaining walls and textured patio surfaces.

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Maintain an effective barrier between your lawn and beds. It not only looks good but will save you endless hours of work. 

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Create an interesting and durable landscape.   Avoid planting anything not adaptable to your area.  Remember to consider sun/shade requirements, growth pattern, soil conditions, etc. 

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How about adding a vegetable garden?  Remember to give it lots of sun and fertile, well-drained soil.  In our area, a raised bed with soil additives is essential for success.

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Changes you make to an already existing landscape are sometimes subtle.  Save and prune what you can, remove what's no longer useful and plant something new where it's needed most.  Ask for advice from more experienced gardeners.  The above Before and After photos of our current home near Metropolis, IL  ...note the following modifications:

  • Removal of two tall trees at the entrance which blocked the main entrance.   Make your front entrance an inviting "curbside view" focal point.  Keep  taller landscape objects on the parameters to make your house appear much wider.   Think of your front yard as your public area and back yard  for seclusion.

  • Replacing white crushed rock with cypress mulch.  The plants are happier and the landscape is no longer broken up. 

  • Heavy pruning to promote vigorous spring growth.

  • Addition of a "Welcome friends"  house flag.

  • Although not landscaping per se, adding board and batten shutters, windows on the garage dormers, repainting the 360 deg covered porch and replacing outdated outdoor lighting fixtures helps meld the house and landscaping together.

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Annually sponsored by the Metropolis Garden Club.  Nearly 40 people visiting our gardens during the 2008 event.

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