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With the arrival of spring, it’s a natural time to start thinking about how to get your home’s surroundings in prime shape. And more than just wanting to know what you should do, you’ve also been thinking about what you shouldn’t do. So, let’s explore some things you may want to steer clear of outside your mobile home.

Terrier playing with a sprinkler on the lawn

Maybe you just need to freshen up and add to your current landscaping. Or perhaps you’ll be starting from the ground up (pun intended). Either way, let’s begin thinking about what lies beyond your mobile home door and what you may and may not want to do about it.

1 – The problem of not enough

For those of you who just moved your mobile home into a new area, you may be suffering from our first problem here—no landscaping at all. Bare ground seems to be the order of the day. In fact, there may not even be grass growing yet, especially if the area is still torn up from digging your foundation.

And when you’ve just moved in, it’s understandable. Of course, you haven’t had time to get your area well-landscaped. However, don’t leave your lawn looking bleak and untouched. Get out in the dirt and put in living things. You want the place to look cheery and welcoming—somewhere you’ve put down roots, figuratively and literally.

2 – The problem of too much

Yes, we are encouraging you to get some living things in the ground as we just mentioned (and a decor item or two might not be a bad thing either). However (and this is a big “however”), don’t overdo it. Actually, we’re going to say that again just to really drive it home. Do…not…overdo…it.

Whether it’s trinkets lining your walkway or too many plants to thrive in your small space, don’t overdo it. Be reasonable about how much you put in. Plus, it may even look more appealing with a few key items than it would with a ton.

3 – Doing without asking

Here’s problem number three for you—landscaping or hardscaping without proper permissions. To make sure this doesn’t happen, do some researching before jumping in. Check your mobile home park rules (if you live in a park) or even local codes to see what you are and aren’t allowed to do. Plus, even for something you are allowed to do, check to see if you need to get a permit (putting in a fountain or fence, for instance).

4 – Encroaching on your neighbor’s property

Sure you want to put up a fence, a boxwood hedgerow, a forsythia border, or a perimeter of roses. However, you don’t want to fracture relationships with those who live nearby by accidentally crossing property boundaries. Better to find out before you plant where the line is between your land and their land. Look into your property boundary, then get started with the planting.

5 – Filling up the front porch

Is your front porch technically your landscape? Perhaps not, but it’s definitely something others may be able to see. And, if you don’t handle it well, it could become a sort of external eyesore. So we say it’s fair game to address here.

Your mobile home porch is just that—a porch. It isn’t a living room or a bedroom, a garage or a storage unit, so avoid stacking it sky-high with things that really should be stored elsewhere. When you’re short on space, consider decluttering, rearranging, or perhaps building some new storage options. That way, you can keep your front or back porch a scenic locale.

6 – Tearing up the lawn with trucks (or cars)

We get it, driving on the lawn gets you closer to the front door for unloading your groceries or carrying the baby’s heavy car seat in the house. But, that’s not all it does. It also places undue pressure on your lawn. And that’s putting it lightly considering how much trucks weigh.

So, to avoid shredding your lawn, use the designated vehicle-friendly areas: roads, driveways, etc. This could help keep your yard from becoming a mud bog. Yes, you’ll have to walk a bit farther, but there’s even a silver lining to that situation: you may burn more calories.

7 – Not keeping up with the landscaping

While we don’t think you need to worry about “keeping up with the Joneses,” we do think you need to be mindful of keeping up with the landscaping. What good is it to plan and execute a lovely yard only to skip the maintaining stage. Flower beds overgrown with weeds and gangly shrubs could result. To prevent this from happening, consider creating a schedule of landscaping work to help you stay on top of the job.

Gardening, weeds

8. Failing to maintain your gravel driveway

For the most part, your gravel driveway should be full of, you guessed it … gravel! When it becomes a meadow of grass and dandelions with a few gravel stones mixed in, then it might just be time to do something.

Don’t get yourself in a position where you can’t tell where the driveway stops and the yard begins. Do weeds insist on growing up between your stones? Consider weed killer. Or maybe it’s time for a new load of gravel. Either way, don’t let the weeds take over your gravel driveway.

9. Using objects that should be hitting the trash pile

Frankly, we suggest you think twice before using your own cast-offs as part of your landscaping. Sure, you can plant flowers in the bowl of the toilet you’re ditching from your bathroom remodel. But, should you? We suggest you think twice before taking objects that deserve to be thrown away and “saving” them by using them for your lawn decor. If you’re going to use sentimental objects in your landscaping, be choosey and tasteful.

10. Letting plants grow and grow and grow

Wait, having your plants grow is a good thing, right? So why are we telling you to stop your plants from growing? Yes, you certainly do want plants to grow. However, you don’t want them to overgrow.

It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes you might have to cut back for the best final outcome. Some of your plants may need removing, trimming, or pruning from time to time, whether it’s explosive ornamental grass or over-enthusiastic bushes. Be sure you give it to them to keep your landscaping tidy and in good shape.

11 – Overmowing

As you know, there’s nothing like well-mown grass to keep your lawn looking ship-shape. In fact, it can be surprising what a difference mowing the lawn makes. But, take care not to mow the lawn overzealously.

Take off too much grass, and you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Not only can it kick up dirt, but it could also damage your lawn. To prevent going overboard, learn how to cut your grass to the right length.

12 – Not protecting your landscape from the cold

Don’t go to all the trouble of landscaping around your mobile home, then simply leaving it vulnerable the elements during the winter. Instead, determine if you need to cover any of your plants for maximum health. If you think some of your plants could benefit from cover, take the time to do it.

13 – Forgetting the flowers

Just as all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so all green plants and no colorful flowers could make your landscape a dull place. Why settle for green and other earth tones alone when there are plenty of flowers available to provide a pop of color? When you’re looking to decide which color you should choose, check out Matching the Colors of Your House and Garden. Incidentally, that leads us to our next potential mistake.

14 – Putting in plants that don’t belong

Actually, we advise you to steer clear of two different things here. First, don’t put in plants that are aesthetically out of place. Evaluate whether the option you’re weighing will look good with your home and yard.

Leaves of the ivy plant

Second, be careful about introducing plants that aren’t native to your area. While it may not be a definite non-starter, at least do some research before popping that non-native plant in the ground. You could start by checking out Invasive Nonnative Plants to Avoid Planting in Your Yard.

15 – Not thinking about what it’s going to look like when it’s done

Sure, you can come up with tons of great ideas for flowers to plant and mulch to spread and trees to introduce. But have you taken a moment to step back and visualize your finished product? If you haven’t, consider doing so. Think about whether the end result will be appealing and whether it’s likely to have the same effect in person that it does in your mind’s eye. Additionally, consider drawing it out or using an online tool to help you get a feel for what you’re doing.

16 – Not making tidy edges

You’re thinking, do I really have to be that picky—paying attention to my edges? Well, tell yourself you’ll try careful edging at least once. You just might be converted. Check out Fine Gardening’s Perfect Edges for Your Beds and Borders.

17 – Using dumpy edging materials for landscaped areas

Did you notice how we mentioned “tidy” edges? Well, we’re going to argue that not all borders for your planted areas are created equal. That’s why we suggest you tread carefully when incorporating edging material for something like your flower bed. For instance, purple painted rocks might just not look as good in reality as you thought they would. On top of that, using random objects (broken bricks, trinkets, etc.) to line your sidewalk or driveway, might be something to think twice about, too.

18 – Being “hardscape happy”

Maybe you’re getting the idea that we don’t like going “overboard.” In the same vein, don’t do wild and crazy things with hardscape elements. A gazebo that’s almost as large as your mobile home itself might just be going too far. So might a majestic fountain in your tiny backyard.

To steer clear, weight your decisions carefully, and if you’re not sure whether something will be too much, check with a trusted friend (or several). Or, consider consulting a professional.

19 – Leaving the litter

From time to time, stray items may end up in your lawn. Don’t leave them. From candy wrappers to a disposable water bottle to a random driver’s fast food bag, pick up the trash as you notice it. Plus, do the same for junk mail that accidentally lands in your lawn.

20 – Not gardening with the whole year in mind

Clearly, not all plants bloom year round. Thus, you’ll want to remember to account for a plant’s life cycle when it becomes part of your garden. Planting only flowers that open during the summer could leave your garden a bit boring and “blah” when the other seasons roll around. Thus, do your gardening with season changes in mind.

21 – Failing to take down decor

Next up, a pointer especially for those of you who love to decorate your outdoors for various seasons or holidays. Hopefully, we don’t even need to tell you to bring in your pumpkins once fall has passed and they’re starting to get mushy. But just to be safe, we’ll tell you anyway. Leaving pumpkins and gourds out past their prime could look a bit less-than.

A pile of old pumpkins

In addition, faded garden flags or old, empty flower planters could also mar the landscape. To prevent this from happening, you could even set yourself a reminder on your calendar or phone that will alert you to check for timed out decor on a date of your choosing.

22 – Not minding the mailbox

Sometimes, the trip to the mailbox can be a pleasant event—a great chance for a quick breath of fresh air and a short walk to clear your head. A dilapidated mailbox may still be able to hold mail, but it could dampen the look of your yard while it does its job. Take the time to repair or replace so you’ll have a fresh looking mailbox to go with your lovely landscaping.

23 – Failing to pick up after yourself

Did you get interrupted in the middle of your gardening? If you won’t be able to get back to it for a while, be sure to head out and pick up your gardening tools. No sense leaving them out if they create a messy look (not to mention they might get rained on). Just scoop them up and transport them to their proper locations. And, for routine gardening jobs, budget enough time for both your gardening work and your cleanup.

Get gardening

Feel like you’re getting a handle on the things you don’t want to do as you landscape around your mobile home? Once you’ve decided what you’re going to avoid, how about assigning some of your brainpower to what you do want to do. Check out 10 Types Of Gardens That Will Update Your Mobile Home Exterior.

About Dan Leighton

Dan Leighton has been working in the mobile home industry for over a decade. His focus has been on sales and customer relations - making sure each person in the transaction is comfortable and fully transparent. He has a wife and one son. Dan continues to look for innovative ways to help both sellers and parks get the most bang for their buck.