Fall is the perfect time to add new life to your yard. The heat of the summer has passed and cold, hard frosts are still weeks or months away. This second chance planting season allows you to amp up your curb appeal.

Here are some lovely ideas for autumn planting!

Selecting the right plants, trees, and shrubs can be overwhelming. Many nurseries are full of colors, sizes, and varieties of plants. There are so many choices you don't know where to begin.

The initial step is to create a plan of action. Without a solid design plan you may end up having random plants that look ... random. Think both long and short term. What plants do you want now and how do you want your yard to appear years down the road.

To make sure everyone is on the same page, illustrate your plan on a large sheet of paper. Make notes for shapes of flower beds, what types of plants you want, where you'll mulch, and what size plants you'll need.

Next, do your research. Sometimes the best source of information is the nursery itself. You can see up close and personal what plants will fit within your design plan. Do you want small, evergreen shrubs for your front bed? Boxwoods are a great choice! Are you looking for a shrub with a bit more color? Consider using bayberry.

Think about how plants will look during the different seasons. Are there flower beds that will be filled with annuals during the summer and will be dormant in the Winter? Consider adding evergreen shrubs, such as holly, spruce, or yew in order to keep green color all year!

Now that you have a plan and know what plants are available, it's time to load up the car with the latest finds! Consider how long you have until the first frost. Plants need several weeks to become established.

Consider that flower beds look best when layered in textures, color, and sizes. Begin with taller shrubs in the back of a bed and work your way down.

When planting your shrubs and trees, be sure to dig a hole that is twice the size of the root ball. Stamp the dirt to remove air from the soil and then water well. Be sure to give plants plenty of room! Most plants and trees come with spacing instructions. Take into account how big trees will become 40 years down the road!

Many bulbs also need to be planted during the Fall. If you want beautiful hyacinths and tulips this next Spring, then do your planting in the Fall. Allow these items to settle a few weeks before topping with a think layer of mulch. Plus, remember to sweep aside the mulch when Spring arrives!

Fall is a wonderful time to spruce up your yard. Be thoughtful with your design and plant choices and you're sure to create a beautiful accent to your home.

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