The stone and cedar two-story Illinois home is reminiscent of a classic Hamptons house, where a custom in-ground pool makes for a luxurious backyard getaway. The pool house is designed in the same style as the main house, while bluestone pavers are used to create an elegant pool surround.
Pull mulch away from the bases of tree, creating a donut-hole affect, advises The Morton Arboretum in Illinois. The mulched area should extend to the drip line of the tree branches, or at least cover a 4-5 foot diameter area around the trunk.
Don't forget about hidden nooks, such as this spot with a mossy garden gnome. For choosing materials, medium-textured mulch is best because fine particles will pack down and retain moisture, which evaporates before reaching plant roots, according to The Morton Arboretum in Illinois.
Here's a general rule for when to mulch a yard: Wait until after a hard frost in the fall to apply winter mulch. You don't want to apply it too early in the fall because mulch can delay the soil freezing process by retaining heat in the soil, according to experts with The Morton Arboretum in Illinois.
A long-lasting organic mulch option is pine bark or shredded bark, according to experts at The Morton Arboretum in Illinois. You can purchase bags of small or large chips. Other types of organic mulch are grass clippings, as well as animal manure (mixed with a coarse-textured material). Composted leaf litter will work, but it may increase weeds if not thoroughly composted.
For a cheap and possibly free source of mulch material, ask local tree service for wood chips, says Josh Fuder, agriculture and natural resources agent for UGA Extension-Cherokee County. If chips are not composted, The Morton Arboretum in Illinois suggests applying a nitrogen fertilizer at a rate of a half pound per 100 square feet of chips.
Mulching can be a big task in the fall, if you have multiple garden beds. Here's a tip from The Morton Arboretum in Illinois: Organic mulch should be composted or otherwise treated before use. The step kills insects, weed seeds and disease microorganisms. The texture of composted mulch generally is more uniform, creating better curb appeal.