You’ve just purchased a large amount of acreage. There are woods, a stream, fields and even an old stone wall by the dirt road beside the house. Now that you bought it, what are you going to do with it? The opportunities are endless, and it’s all your personal domain.
One of the first things that you need to do, though, is to draw up a diagram of what you’re putting in or what you’re going to be doing with each specific area. If you’re planning on making a garden, sketch it out. If you want to plant an orchard, pick the spot and then research what you’ll need to get the job done. If you decide to put in a pond, are you going to use the stream? Plus, figure out what you’re going to keep as lawn and how much of the acreage you’re going to want to have mowed.
Why you should mow
Looking out your window, you wonder why you should mow any more acreage than what’s by the house. It’s important to mow fields as such, even if they’re not wooded. You want to keep snakes away from the house, as well as rodents. There’s also additional wildlife to consider—not that you would mind watching some deer in the distance, but not on your back porch. Ticks are always a problem as well since they love long grass.
Another issue is the maintenance of the land. Mowing helps keep your property under control. You can tell where your boundaries are and where one area stops and another starts for the specific purposes that you want them. You can create “rooms” within your land with shrubs, hedges, tree groupings and even flowering plants.
If you decide to mow the ground yourself, you might need to purchase a heavy-duty riding lawn mower for efficient lawn maintenance. If you buy a commercial zero-turn mower, you can mow faster, more accurately; and it will be more reliable for cutting the grass. Remember, you may be mowing for several hours a day during the growing season, or even all day every week depending on the climate if the property is big enough. If you equip your mower with a mulcher, you will provide the grass with nutrients that it needs, and you won’t have to empty a bag regularly.
If you want to save some time and enjoy your time off, then you can hire a professional lawn service. They usually have as many employees as it takes to do the job correctly. If you have brush that needs to be cleared or weeds that need to be removed, they can provide that service as well. To have grass mowed on an acre depending on where you live, it can range in price from weekly $70-$98, biweekly $83-100 or monthly $86-$105.
Keeping it natural
Some of the options you have when you own a lot of ground is keeping it natural, cultivating it… or a little of both. Most people like to keep it a bit of both. You can plant gardens and section them off by using raised beds, stone walls or wood fences. You can plan a patio with a firepit, a hammock under a tree for reading or even a rock garden.
If you have children, you can put in a large playground with a sandbox and use wood chips for the soft ground surfaces as needed. Maybe you can even install a pool for the family. Perhaps surround it with a hedge to give you some privacy.
With the natural sections, you can leave the woods the way they are to encourage wildlife and walks through the woods. You can mow some fields and let other ones grow wildflowers for the bees and butterflies. You can even have a pond and have the stream fill it up and flow out of it naturally. This would give the wildlife a place to drink and, if you stock it with fish, a quiet place to go fishing and relax. Just be sure about all the regulations and the effects they will have on the property if you do this.
Plant an orchard
If you want to further cultivate your land, why not a small orchard? What you must remember, though, is that you can’t just plant an orchard and forget about it; it does need some attention.
The first thing here is to select where you want to put the orchard. A sunny area with at least eight hours of sunlight is required. If you live in a northern region, apples, sour cherries and American plums need to be planted on a south-facing side for the extra heat. You don’t want to plant early-blooming or sensitive-to-cold fruits in a south-facing area, either. They may bloom too soon and then have the blossoms killed by frost.
Peaches and apricots are better off growing on a north-facing slope in a warm climate. These fruits and any fruits that grow in the hot summer will fare better on a northern slope. You want to plant on a northern slope so that the cold air will flow into the lowlands and, if you get a late spring frost, this won’t kill the blossoms.
Another subject to learn about is pollination. Fruit trees will grow better with two different varieties of the same fruit genus grown together. The two types need to bloom at about the same time in the spring. They also need to have pollen that’s compatible to each other. When ordering your fruit trees, check and see if they can cross-pollinate. You also want to look for fruit trees which are disease resistant to reduce having to spray in order to produce a decent crop.
When you have a lot of land, there are any number possibilities as to how you use the space. Tell us in the comments section what improvements you have made to your property and land!