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Do It Yourself Landscaping

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It's a good idea to come up with a master plan -- on paper -- for your landscape. The plan doesn't have to be to-scale, but it will give you an overall picture, and assure that your beds, borders, and projects all work together.

Use mason's line when laying out garden beds. It won't stretch like regular string.

When planting flowers, choose a color theme, just as you would when decorating your home. Pink and blue with yellow and white accents is a popular scheme. Or try one of the following: blue and white with touches of silver foliage, all yellow with a few orange flowers, or all white -- especially pretty for viewing at dusk.

Trees and shrubs add beauty and drama to the landscape. They're the giants of your yard, adding height, color, and cooling shade. The wide variety of trees and shrubs now available is a treat. Choose from foliage in an infinite number of greens as well as yellows, purples, and interesting variegations. And with today's smaller landscapes, there are more small trees available than ever. Choose from trees that range from as little as 6 feet to 15 feet or more. And it's always wise to look for trees and shrubs that serve more than one purpose. A tree planted primarily for summer shade can also provide springtime flowers. In summer, it can also provide fruit or nuts, which are appreciated by people and wildlife alike.

Want ideas on the best trees for your area? Take an afternoon stroll at your local arboretum, where you'll see hundreds of trees in their mature state. If possible, visit in spring and autumn to see flowers and fall foliage.

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