Looking forward to making changes to your landscape, but aren’t sure how to create a plan that works? The Good Earth has landscape design tips to get you started right.

1. Sun or shade… or both? Stand in your landscape areas every two hours from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., especially during the summer. Take pictures and make notes. Four hours of morning sun is much different than four hours of afternoon sun.

2. Read the plant details. Plants grow, we all know this, right? But here’s the thing: It’s easy to forget that when you are looking at a shrub that is 2 feet tall, just the height you wanted. That 2-foot plant may grow to 10 feet tall at maturity, and you've just created a long term maintenance nightmare! Choose based on the mature size of the plant, not the size it is now. If you want a more mature looking landscape, purchase a more mature, larger plant instead of purchasing more plants.

3. Scale and space matter. If you want the layered look, you will need to accommodate that in your space. A 3-feet-deep landscape bed won’t allow for much layering unless you plan to layer perennials and annuals. To layer most shrubs, you will need at least a 6-feet-deep bed. Keep the scale appropriate. Design to accent the home, not hide it.

4. Before you dig, draw it out on paper and in your landscape. It’s much easier to change bed lines before the sod comes out and the edging goes in. Use spray paint to easily mark bed lines, then run a mower around the lines to check the ease of maintaining them.

5. Choose focal points carefully. Large pots at your entrance, a boulder accent here and there, a large seasonal color display — anything that draws the eye to a focused point should be worthy of it. Framing your garage, for example, should be avoided (unless you have a very fancy garage).

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6. Design for visual interest. This can mean contrasting leaf color or size, groupings of blooming plants, specimen trees, or ideally, all of the above. More quick visual interest tips include repeating plant choices, planting in odd-numbered groupings and using both evergreen and deciduous plants.

7. Consider traffic flow. Retraining our brains is harder than you think. Work with how your family uses the space instead of against it. Or learn to live with basketball-dented rose bushes.

8. Address the H20. Changing the bed lines and plantings means changing the irrigation system and the lighting system and maybe even addressing drainage issues. It may sound daunting, but for long term success, don’t skip this step! Change the sprinkler system as you change bed lines, before planting. Doing so afterwards is often a bigger headache, especially when saying "I'll do it later" leaves you with dead plants.

9. Make a maintenance plan. Study a gardening calendar, make a goal and ask questions. Call, email, Facebook — use whatever you need to help head off plant decline, because whose garden really needs more dead plants?

Psst! Not sure where to start? Ask yourself these six questions before your next project.

10. Keep asking questions. The Good Earth’s team is experienced, so put that experience to work for you. They have an entire online learning center with tons of articles and helpful tools. In shop, everything is organized to help you find what you're looking for. Their mission is your success, so ask away! They're the experts, after all.

Still not sure how to get started? Take pictures and measurements of your space and bring them to the Good Earth team at 15601 Cantrell. They're available seven days a week during spring and can point you in the right direction.

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