Build a Better Backyard

WIKY, Spa City USA and The Home Improvement Specialists want you to know how to Build a Better Backyard!         



Spa City has Swim Spas, Above Ground pools, Hot Tubs, Umbrellas for your Hot Tub and Pool and Hot Tub Chemicals.  They also carry Trager grills.  Everything to create your back yard vacation!

You can build a better backyard today by calling Mike Hoag and The Home Improvement Specialists at 812-629-7478. Enhance your home with a new deck, a sunroom, or maybe new gutters or fencing.  One call does it all for complete home remodeling! Call Mike Hoag at The Home Improvement Specialists are a 2 time Courier and Press Readers Choice Award winner for home improvements.


Landscaping evokes visions of dollars and debt, but it doesn’t have to leave you pining away for a nicer back yard. With a little bit of cash and good weekend or two of hard work, you can transform your back yard. Rethink what it takes to make your back yard more hospitable, because it really doesn’t take as much as you think.

You’ll make the most impact in your back yard by simply cleaning up what’s already there. This will take some time, but doesn’t have to be expensive. Rake up stray twigs and leaves, put all the rocks back in their place, and trim the bushes and trees. With the excess growth out of the way, you can take a fresh look at your yard and decide what to do from there.

Use “person-powered” tools

What are the costs of yard clean-up? It doesn’t have to be that bad. Rather than buying the power leaf blower, hedge trimmer and weed whacker, invest in a good set of manual tools that can cost much less. They just require a little work — consider it your weekend workout. A good pair of hand trimmers can make quick work of those overgrown shrubs, and tidy up the borders of your grass. Believe it or not, you can still get a hand edger at any hardware store; the first time might take a lot more work, but if you stay on top of it, edging can be a simple bi-weekly touch-up.

The best part about using person-powered tools is the impact on the environment, or lack of impact. Even electric leaf blowers have their carbon footprint, because so much electricity is still supplied by power plants that aren’t as green as they can be.

Plant inexpensive annuals

By now, most garden centers have a great supply of impatiens, marigolds and begonias. While some varieties can be pricey, like New Guinea Impatiens, select the hardier “base model” impatiens instead. Keep it simple to stay on the cheap side.

Not sure what flowers to choose? Take a look at your yard. Where will you put the flowers? Next, take a day to check out how much sun that spot gets. If it’s sunny all day long, stick with the marigolds. If it’s shady all day, the impatiens are your best bet. Somewhere in the middle? Begonias.

When planted in the right areas, meaning getting the right amount of sunlight, these plants don’t require large amounts of water to stay healthy. However, there are some perennials that require even less water — check out daisies, day lilies and peonies.

Planting a flower bed doesn’t have to be hard, either. Once you figure out where you want the flowers to go, you know you have to get out the shovel and remove the grass that’s already there. Shake out any excess dirt from the clumps of grass, and put the grass in a yard waste bag. You may need to get that shovel back out and pretend you’re back in Kindergarten, digging just to dig. Loosen up the soil, then smooth it back out with a plain ol’ garden rake. It should be loose enough so that you can use a hand trowel (a tiny shovel) to make holes for the plants. After taking the individual plants out of the temporary containers, pull a little at the roots to loosen them up. By “tickling the roots,” you encourage them to spread out after planting. Plop them in the hole and backfill the hole with dirt. Water well, and you’re done!

Use “natural stuff” to feed your yard

Composting isn’t hard at all, and takes very little cash. Some people designate an area by simply calling it their compost pile. Gather leaves and other “dead stuff” from your yard in one pile. Add some kitchen scraps, like fruit and vegetable peels, mix it all up and let it bake. After a few weeks, mix it up again. You can use a shovel, a garden rake, or spring for a pitch fork for this job. Keep a very casual eye as you turn it every few weeks. Soon you’ll see moist, dark soil emerging. Once you have a good mound of compost, add it to your flower beds in a thick layer. You can even get that garden rake out again and mix the compost in with the soil already in the flower bed. The compost will provide all kinds of nutrients to the plants, and you avoid chemical fertilizers.

Here’s your list of tools so far:

  • Shovel
  • Pruners
  • Hand loppers
  • Hand trimmer
  • Garden rake
  • Yard rake
  • Pitchfork, if you feel like splurging

Check out your yard. By now you’ve purchased some gardening tools that you’ll use for years to come. You’ve purchased some annuals and maybe some perennials. So far, you haven’t spent more than a couple hundred bucks. You got some exercise, and reduced carbon emissions by not using power tools. Next, take a look at your finances and see if you have the cash to do more. From here, you’re adding things to your yard that make you happy, and improve the look of your back yard. You’ve mastered the basics. Congratulations!

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