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Perennials are a good, inexpensive way to keep your flower beds blooming year after year

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Do-it-yourself landscaping can help beautify your yard in so many different ways, it's hard to know where to begin -- from layering flowers to installing water features to giving your yard year-round interest.

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Here are some tips from the experts at About.com:

• Bring in the reinforcements. Perennials are a good, inexpensive way to keep your flower beds blooming year after year. But they only bloom for so long each season. Consider bringing in annuals to reinforce them with colorful flowers during their long non-blooming periods.

Plugging the gaps will give you continuous color in your yard.

• Let there be water: Water can be a great focal point for the landscaping in your yard.

Pools and waterfall look nice, have soothing sounds, and birds and beneficial insects love them.

They're relatively easy to install and generally involve pre-formed rigid plastic liners, durable pumps and flexible tubing.

Adding water can be the touch that turns a nice yard into a garden oasis.

• Minnesotans know all too well that there are four season to the year. So don't forget to plan for that when you are landscaping.

That means doing your homework and coming up with a good plant-selection plan. Try to have flowering trees and shrubs throughout spring and summer, fall foliage in autumn and good structure in winter.

• The layered look: This one may seem obvious, but it can be easy to overlook. Don't forget to put the tallest plants in the back row of the garden and the shortest in the front.

Layer your planting beds in three rows and use repetition, both in the planting bed and elsewhere in your yard, to provide unity.

• Don't forget about evergreens. They, and other plants prized for their foliage, will provide continuity while deciduous plants give your yard color and variety.

• It's not all about plants. Some of the most important landscaping features are things like walls and fences, which can make a yard look complete. Arbors give structure to your yard, while patios and decks provide transition from indoors to outdoors.

• Think like an artist: Enhance the beauty of your yard by using form and texture to your advantage. A plant's branching pattern and design can be used in surprising ways. Varying form and texture is one way to jazz up a yard with diversity. Evergreen conifers don't have flowers, but they have foliage that offers a wild array of different forms and textures.

• Minnesota largely escaped the drought that parched much of the country this summer, but we may not always be so lucky. Consider selecting drought-tolerant plants for your yard. The use of such perennials will reduce time and money spent on watering, and they often grow well in moderate to poor soil.

• Plan now to avoid a lot of extra maintenance work later.

You may end up with a beautiful yard that you come to hate because it's so much work to maintain. Unless you don't mind spending hours each weekend on upkeep, plan your design for easy mowing and low maintenance.

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