Now is the time to create curb appeal for the winter

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Tips for Fall Gardening

One of my pleasures in life has always been feeling good about coming home. Currently I pull into my garage from the alley so I get to walk into my back yard. It makes me smile year round because my husband has painted it some great colors and always keeps the grass and plants healthy. I am showing here a backyard of my friend who bought this house for the backyard. In preparation for writing this article I called my friend, Judy, who gave me some great tips for keeping your yard and curb appeal throughout the winter season. Judy has become a certified master gardener in her retirement and volunteers at the Missouri Botanical Garden (when Covid permits). She is a wealth of information. Her first suggestion is to “get in the zone” – USDA hardiness zone. The USDA created a standard which gardeners can use to determine which plants can survive in which locations. The zones are based on the coldest temperature of the year at each location averaged over a 30-year period. Most of Missouri is in the central zone, or zone 6 on the map, this includes St. Louis. The zones are changing as climate change has an impact. Source Shannon Weber gives this advice in her gardening tips for zone 6: You may have to start some seeds indoors in March and April and transplant the seedlings outside in May or June in order for them to experience a long, productive growing season. Vegetables that perform well with this method in zone 6 include common garden varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash and potatoes. On the other hand, cold-weather crops such as lettuce, radishes and peas can be sown outside as early as March. The next tip from Judy was to determine your time commitment. She said first of all to make sure your garden design and content is something you enjoy and then determine how much time it is going to require. Ask yourself if you are up to the task and modify as needed. Judy said that at this time she likes to use trees and bushes because they require less time. Judy strongly advised the use of fescue grass. She said it grows best in our St Louis zone and is what you see on most lawns in the area. Fescue grasses grow well in northern climates, grow in partial shade, have a finer leaf blade and are able to withstand periodic droughts. They are capable of more rapid leaf growth under shaded conditions, but do not grow as fast when in full sunlight. The water use rate for fescue grass is much lower than Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, and drought tolerance is good. Judy suggests a higher cutting length, three inches, and use the clippings for fertilizer rather than bag them. Judy is currently most interested in using trees and shrubs for her landscaping. The right tree in the right place can create an inviting outdoor living space (of significant value to current buyers), frame a view, or simply add valuable shade or structure to your yard. Selecting a tree or two is not an easy task. Focus your search and find the best tree for your yard with these simple strategies.
  • Check your hardiness zone which will help you narrow down your choices to trees that can survive winters.
  • The size of the planting area is critical when choosing a tree
  • How would you like new tree to contribute to your landscape?
  • The most valuable trees are often integral elements of outdoor living spaces.
  • How will your tree contribute to the winter landscape?
Autumn is a good time to get into the garden and start working on your winter curb appeal. It’s a good idea to take a photo of your front yard in all seasons to see if it may need adjustments. Other diy’s for the fall and winter that enhance your curb appeal.
  • Highlight Your Front Door. …
  • Clean Up the Exterior. …
  • Clear Out All Gutters. …
  • Add Outdoor Lighting. …

So what’s your style preference

There are many styles to choose from when you decide to design your front and back yards. It’s a good idea to consider the style of your home before you go crazy and plan a Japanese garden for a Tudor style two story. Listed here are some ideas. St Louisans have resources a plenty for rain gardens. Rain gardens have great benefits for homeowners. They reduce the potential for basement flooding, they are attractive year round and they are very easy to maintain. MSD has a grant for homeowners to help fund and design rain gardens. Click here for more information. This rain garden was installed on a grant from MSD. The owner put it on the market this year and it just kept on blooming. Native landscaping is gaining in popularity across the country. I absolutely love it. It reminds me of my grandma’s garden. I am fairly certain she had a native garden. She served us fresh vegetables all summer. All of the cousins gathered for a meal at her house every Sunday. She also canned, and preserved so that we enjoyed it during the winter also. My favorite was the strawberry rhubarb pie she made from her garden. She was taught to plant flowers on the border and put the less attractive vegetable plants in the middle. It was always beautiful. The benefits of native landscaping are sparking a gardening movement that says “no” to pesticides and fertilizers and “yes” to biodiversity and creating more sustainable landscapes. Novice and professional gardeners are turning to native landscaping to reduce maintenance and promote plant and wildlife conservation. The Missouri Botanical Garden has a wealth of resources and information about native plants and steps to install a native garden. This native garden seems to have gotten a little out of hand in the month of August.
This is a classic example of using trees for curb appeal and the right kind of grass for the St Louis zone. Photo was taken in August of 2021.
Envision how much better this home could look if the woody shrubs were removed and some greenery added below the windows to show them off.
Here are some additional websites that contain some more helpful tips for your gardening and curb appeal needs. Garden Design, Plant Addicts, USDA natural resources, Climate Change Have some fun with this during the fall and winter. I’d love to hear from you with some before and after pictures.
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