From Spotlight: Fresh Ideas for a Brand New Yard

4 Super Easy Ways to Pretty Up Your Spring Landscape

Plant a tree. It’s an easy idea — and you’ll love your landscaping more and more as it grows.

Spring front yard with small tree, and mulched flower bed
Image: Stephanie Lopez

No matter where you live, why not celebrate spring by making some landscaping changes? You don't need to invest a lot of time or money. To give your yard a dose of charm without a ton of effort, try these four spring landscaping ideas

You'll boost your curb appeal for sure.

#1 Plant Just One Tree

Planting one tree isn't a huge effort, but it's one of the best projects you can take on for your spring landscape. Plus, once the tree is established, it's about as low maintenance as a landscape can get, and the difference it can make to your yard lasts for decades. The key is to choose a tree that adds interest to your landscape in the form of color, shape, and texture.

There are a ton of trees to choose from, but if you want to play it safe, try a Japanese maple. Many are suitable for most any climate. They all offer color, form, and texture that can liven any landscape. 

A red house with a mulched bed and Japanese maple

One, the Mikawa yatsubusa, is a dwarf version that changes colors in the fall, resembling a tie-dye shirt. You won't be lacking color then!

Related: 11 Trees You Should Never Plant in Your Yard

#2 Add a Color Punch With Mulch

A raised mulched bed in grass

Mulch is one of the easiest ways to add both color and texture to the entire yard. "Next to a green lawn, coffee bean-colored mulch is a great contrast," says Paul Fraynd, owner of Sun Valley Landscaping in Omaha, Neb.

If a dark roast isn't your preference, there's a a multitude of mulch colors that can spice up your bland landscape. Red, black, gold, cedar-toned — you choose.

For something different, try pine cones. They introduce a knotty texture that breaks up the monotony of flat lawns and box-like shrubs.

A front yard with pink and yellow flowers in a mulched bed

The point is that mulch is easy: Choose a cool color and texture, then dump it, spread it, and forget it.

"Keep it away from wood or siding, though," warns Fraynd. "It can rot the wood and may attract insects."

#3 Add Some Edging

Edging of stone that separates the yard here from the shrubbery.
Image: Maggie Stuart for HouseLogic

Look along your walkways and garden beds. If your lawn just seems to morph into your shrubbery or threatens to take over your front walk, some interesting edging could perk up your yard. No pruning, cutting, or watering required.

Define a walkway with some personal or found items, says a public affairs executive for the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

Colored hockey sticks can line a path or wine bottles planted neck down in the soil, says the NALP. Just make sure you do the entire path. Two or three wine bottles lining a path might look like leftovers from last night's party.

If you want to keep it all in the plant world, low-maintenance ground covers are an excellent choice for edging, according to the NALP. Try lily of the valley, vinca, lamb's ears, or pachysandra. Some add color, and others add texture.

#4 Create a Focal Point That's All About You

Your own passions and pleasures are great inspiration to add color and texture to your spring landscape. Try creating a focal point with something that brings back a happy memory, like your old toy truck, tricycle, or wagon, says the NALP. Turn it into a colorful planter.

A red wagon filled with herbs

Or opt for hard nongardening materials to contrast with the softness and monotony of nature's green. "Make a table using an oversized flower pot or lobster trap filled with something that represents your passion — golf balls, sea shells — and cover the container with a wood or glass top," says Fraynd. "These can be fun to talk about and give a unique personality to your yard."

Your yard is a reflection of you. You're not one-dimensional. Your yard shouldn't be either.

Related: 4 Awesomely Easy Landscaping Projects

Author photo of writer Stacey Freed
Stacey Freed

Stacey Freed writes about homes, design, remodeling, and construction for online and print national trade and consumer publications, including "Better Homes & Gardens." Previously, she was a senior editor at "Remodeling" magazine. Follow Stacey on Twitter.