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8 Ways to Get the Best Garden on the Block this Spring

8 Ways to Get the Best Garden on the Block this Spring

Have you been admiring your neighbors foliage and landscaping talents for years? Maybe you’re lacking the green thumb or your budget for a bountiful garden is limited. If you begin to plan and prepare now, you will have the best garden on the block this spring and into the summer. These tips are easy ways to spruce up your exterior view whether you’re into rustic or manicured.

1. Fresh Sod for the Spring

The foundation to a beautiful yard is healthy, green grass. If you really want to impress the neighbors, consider laying down sod this spring. Home and Garden suggests that sod should be laid in the Spring or early Autumn. Cooler temperatures with some rainy days help sod to root much more quickly. You can prepare the area for the sod yourself or get professionals to do it to ensure you get a healthy, thriving lawn.

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2. Preparation in Winter

You can begin pruning the hardy hedges if you have them as well as winter shrubs that have stopped flowering. If you’re planning to grow vegetables, you can prepare the bed if the ground isn’t frozen.

3. Map Out Your Garden

If the weather outside is still bitterly cold, stay inside, and create a diagram on the computer or by hand to determine how you want your garden to look. Think about where the sun hits on your yard and choose which sun-loving plants you want. You can also create a spot for your shade-loving plants. If you want your shade lovers to be in a sunny spot in your yard, you can conceptualize a creative way to block the sun. This is a great indoor project that will get your geared for the upcoming gardening season.

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4. Order Summer Flowers and Seeds

Let the creative part of you flow as you choose what summer-flowering bulbs you will want for your garden. Lilies and Gladiolus can be planted in early spring, giving your garden color. Looking through gardening catalogs can help to inspire you when it comes to how you want your garden to look. Based on your map of how you want your yard to look, you can order now to get them in time for spring planting.

5. Prepare Your Soil

Good soil is the lifeblood to any thriving garden and preparing it in the winter months is the best practice. Creatures that assist in the ecosystem of your garden by converting dead material into that of organic matters. Earthworms, centipedes and fungi assist in making your top soil perfect for growing. Your top soil should be about 12 inches deep but this depends largely on whether soil has been well cultivated. One of the best methods to improve your soil is to cultivate deeply as it open soil up for air and water. Dig 6-12 inches in the winter months and add organic matter such as seaweed or leaves.

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6. Sow Slower Seeds Now

The garden experts recommend you begin sowing seeds that need a longer growing season in the months of January and February. Now is the time to sow your Geraniums, Begonias, Peppers and Aubergines. They will need to be grown under a heated propagator or something that promotes growth.

7. Collect Rain Water

If you’re in an area where it rains a lot, collect this natural water while you can. Rain water is best for many plants such as Camellias, Blueberries and Rhododendrons. A lot of tap water is slightly alkaline which plants may be sensitive to. You can have a water barrel or install water butts that are right under your downpipe in order to catch as much rain as possible.

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8. Garden Decor

Garden decor can really spruce up your yard appeal and it takes no effort. Create a theme that matches with the flowers you have decided to go with. Even little pockets of themes are a fun way to bring your yard to life. For instance, if you plant tulips, you can put a garden windmill in the same area. Voila! You now have a mini Dutch garden. Decks and law furniture give a welcoming area for visitors that come for a BBQ or just to admire your yard. The good news, lawn ornaments and furniture aren’t so pricey so you can achieve a great looking yard for very little money.

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Loraine Couturier

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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