April 7, 2018 - 7:22am -- stone.91@osu.edu

Spring temperatures might have you thinking about your yard and garden. If you are interested in landscaping, here are a few tips and resources that might be helpful.

Always remember that Lucas County residents can contact the OSU Extension's Horticulture Hotline, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 am - 1 pm. The hotline is run out of the Metroparks Toledo - Toledo Botanical Garden at 5403 Elmer Drive, Toledo, Ohio. Emails can also be directed to lucascountymastergardener@gmail.com

Just as you would not build a house without blueprints, you should not put together a landscape without a design, no matter how small.

Landscapes can provide aesthetic, economic, functional and environmental values. To get started or increase those values, you should start with a site analysis. 

It is important to get down on paper property boundries; existing structures including the house, garage, and shed; existing landscaping and hardscapes; functional areas or spaces including play space, lawns, paths, traffic patterns, vegetable gardens, and storage; and environmental conditions and exposured.

It is also recommended to take a soil test. The information that can be gained through a simple soil test can be very useful when choosing plants and determining if fertilizer is needed. A soil test provides a baseline and should be a must for gardens and landscapes. Haven't ever done a soil test? The Hort Hotline can help explain how to take a test and where soil samples can be sent. 

Bubble diagrams are a fun way to begin developing a plan for your landscape and comparing ideas on paper. It doesn't have to be pretty, but is a way to brainstorm the function of the landscape in a new way by many.

Next, think of the landscape as an extension of the home.  Just as the rooms in a home have walls, ceilings and floors, so should your landscape.  Outside these rooms can be catagorized as public, private and service space. 

While there are many resources available in this area, consider enlisting the help of a landscape designer or architect, depending upon your situation. If you are going to experiment yourself, there are lots of books, magazines and web resources that could engage your creative juices. I would recommend having a folder where you can collect ideas and begin building a palatte possibilities, or you could pin-it them Pinterest. 

As I was working on an upcoming presentation, I came across a resource that I found helpful as an introduction piece. Check out Alabama Cooperative Extension's bulletin entitled: Residential Landscape Design. The PDF copy can be found online at:  http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-0813/ANR-0813.pdf

If this is got you excited but need more direction or advice, contact OSU Extension in Lucas County at 419-578-6783. Hotline hours are M, W, and F from 10 am - 1 pm.  Happy Landscaping!