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DIY landscaping: How to avoid the biggest lawn mistakes that Northeast Ohioans frequently make

Danielle Wiggins and her family set out to put in a patio, walkway and clean up their flower beds with a budget of $400.

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio —

With the extra time indoors and budgets tight, "Do It Yourself" projects can be a great way to pass time, upgrade your home and distract you from the stress associated with a changed way of life due to COVID-19.

With all this in mind, my family decided to tackle a backyard DIY landscaping project -- and lucky for us, our neighbor, Isaiah Brazytis, is a professional landscaper.

“This is a great time to work on your yard,” Brazytis says. “You're at home anyhow.”

BIGGEST DIY LANDSCAPING MISTAKES

Brazytis is a maintenance supervisor at LeafStone Landscapes out of Walton Hills. He says the biggest DIY lawn mistakes Northeast Ohioans make are planting things that deer like to eat and taking on a project too big to handle.

Here are before-and-after photos of their landscaping project:

PROFESSIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WIGGINS FAMILY

After looking over our lawn with my husband, Chris, Brazytis recommended we clean up our flower beds, lay down mulch and put in a path from the side of the garage to the driveway. The path would give us a spot for our grill that's not so close to the garage.

Our budget for the project was $400.

My kids and I are not good at landscaping, so Chris did most of the work through hail, snow and rain during this week-long April project.

Even though we did go over budget (spending a little more than $500), the entire family was proud of how the patio, walkway and landscaping turned out.

“Daddy, didn’t do a good job,” said my 9-year-old, Christen. “He did amazing!”

Although we made the mistake of making upgrades that we didn’t budget for, Brazytis told us that if we had hired a professional to complete the same project, our cost would have doubled. Needless to say, we didn’t mind spending the extra $100 to get what we wanted.

LANDSCAPING MATERIALS AND PROCESS

Materials

  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Edger
  • Rocks
  • Mulch
  • Stone bricks( various sizes)
  • Sand
  • Paver set
  • Weed screening
  • Lava rocks
  • Pick mattock
  • Tamper shovel
  • 2x4 wood block (to level the sand )

Flower Bed Process

  • Clean flower beds of old mulch and dead leaves
  • Pull out rocks that serve to line the flowerbed
  • Lay mulch and spread  evenly with a rake and hands
  • Reset the border of the flower bed with stones after the mulch is evenly spread 

Patio and Walkway Process

  • Measure out dimensions of the patio, walkway and flower bed.
  • Dig the patio and pull up grass,
  • Dig about 3 inches deep for the walkway and patio,
  • Take off the top layer of grass for the flower bed.
  • Level out ground with a tamper and remove any tree roots so the stones for the patio will lay flat,
  • Lay down weed barrier in flower bed, patio and walkway to help prevent weeds ,
  • Add sand to patio and walkway holes,
  • Smooth out and level sand to help stone bricks lay flat,
  • Lay bricks for patio and walkway,
  • After stones for the walkway are laid, place black Lava rocks in between stones for decoration. Lay mulch in newly formed flower bed along the walkway.
  • Place paver set on stone bricks in the patio. Brush paver set in cracks between stones and wet. This help stones stay together and not shift.
  • Clean up and enjoy!

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