Three Steps to Prepare Your Overgrown Yard for Landscaping

An overgrown, ragged, yard that looks like a post-apocalyptic field is bad news. Even in dry areas where you won’t expect much to grow, hard-to-kill weeds can spring up in an untended yard. Those who live in wetter climates will have to keep a constant eye out for pests and the constant barrage of invasive weed species which will attempt to crowd out your yard.

overgrown garden

Step One: Budget and Plan

Not only is an untended yard unsuitable for relaxation or play, but it can lower your property value, draw the ire of neighbors, and become a breeding ground for insects and vermin. To improve your yard’s appeal and increase your property value, you can add flowerbeds, trees, pathways, and even decks, gazebos, and pergolas. To begin working on a plan, create an outline of your yard on gridded paper. You can experiment with different possibilities to see what might look good, and the grids can help you draw your yard to scale and work up cost estimates based on square footage.

For those who worry that building things like pergolas and gazebos will be far too expensive, remember that they can add value to your home if you plan to sell it later. Additionally, in dry places it can be cost-effective to spend more on wide pathways and large gazebos and less on thirsty grass! Figure out how much of your yard you are willing to mow and water and figure out different options for how to use the rest of the space.

Step Two: Prepare the Above-Ground Space

To landscape an overgrown, neglected yard you must first get down to the dirt by removing the weeds. To prevent the weeds from growing back quickly, you must uproot them. To make things easier, an expert from Solutions Self Chem recommends using a weed killer beforehand, to make the roots limp and thus easier to extract. Instead of just bending and pulling, use a shovel to turn over clumps of dirt, exposing the weeds’ roots and simultaneously turning over the soil. If a yard has been untended for a long period its surface can become dry and inhospitable, meaning you will need to till the soil before planting anything new.

Step Three: Familiarize Yourself With the Underground Systems

Before laying sod, digging a pond, laying the foundation for a pergola or gazebo, or calling contractors to do these things for you, find out where your sprinkler system’s heads and pipes and located, as well as pipes or lines for any other utilities. While this seems like common sense, many people can get overeager and begin digging in their untended yard too quickly, accidentally damaging something. Contractors who will be assisting in landscaping your yard will want to know the layout of the sprinkler system so they can avoid damaging anything and so they can know which sprinkler heads to deactivate or remove.

It might not be easy, but by following these three first steps you can avoid costly mistakes and get your landscaping off on the right foot. Soon your yard will lend value to your property and be the envy of your neighbors!

Erin Emanuel