Is your lawn looking less than picture-perfect after a long, harsh winter? Don’t let that sad soil or monstrous weed patch overwhelm you. Whipping your yard into shape isn’t as tough as you think. We spoke with Marty Levin, owner of Passionate About Landscaping ( for tips on how to improve your outdoor space yourself.

A little elbow grease can turn weedy patches  into a lush lawn. Credit: thinkstock A little elbow grease can turn weedy patches
into a lush lawn.
Credit: thinkstock

Create ablank canvas

It’s not the most exciting part of the job, but a thorough cleanup to create a blank canvas of yard is a must. “Before any planting, the beds should be cleaned up of all issues,” Levin says. “You’ll probably have to trim some trees because we had a bad winter. There are a lot of loose limbs, so take down everything that is a possible widow-maker.”


Invite the birds

One way to create an eye-catching lawn is to incorporate several textures. “To enhance a garden inexpensively, add some hardscape, such as a boulder or birdbath. Small stones that create a path also work. These give a bit of architecture to the garden and really set it off nicely,” says Levin.

Plant once, plant right

In the case of planting, one-and-done is preferable. “I’m not a believer in annual flowers,” Levin explains. “They last for one season and they die. I prefer perennials, which come back each year.” He points out that many perennials, such as moonbeam coreopsis and purple salvia, produce beautiful, vibrant blooms. Just make sure to talk to your garden center specialist so you plant accordingly for your shady and sunny spots.

Don’t tacklethe patio

Outdoor improvements you do yourself can save money and instill a sense of pride. But sometimes a job requires the tools and know-how of the pros.

“A lot of people try to take on patios by themselves, for example,” Levin says. “Most people just don’t have the right equipment for something like that, so we end up doing a lot of patio redos for folks.”

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