DIY a Water-Positive Landscape in a Weekend

iScape in collaboration with ScottsMiracle-Gro and world-renowned designer, John Gidding, have come up with some great DIY projects that are water-wise and green-sensitive, thoughtfully planned out for your own specific outdoor designing!

If you wanted to get started yourself in iScape, check out the details below.

Texas Weekend Project: Create a Layered, Native Landscape

For those living in Texas or the Southwest, you can create a beautiful, layered native landscape flanking your front steps - all in a weekend! Design your space thoughtfully, choosing Texas natives and adding boulders for interest and a timeless look. Prepare, plant, mulch, and water.

What You'll Need:

  • Boulders
  • Native plants like Frogfruit, Prairie Verbena, Texas Sage, Turk’s Cap, Flame Acanthus, Texas Red Road and Mexican Plum
  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Garden tools (spade, rake, tiller, watering can or hose)

Day 1 is all about planning and prep.

Start by designing your yard with the layered look in mind. This involves positioning taller plants at the back and shorter ones towards the front. Incorporate the placement of two-man boulders into your design to serve as focal points, thereby creating a sense of depth and interest. Once your design is ready, visit your local nursery to purchase the native Texas plants, soil amendments, and the two-man boulders. Once everything is purchased, prepare your yard by removing the existing grass and weeds and amending the soil with compost to improve its quality and nutrient content.

On Day 2, you'll be planting and mulching.

Start by positioning the plants and boulders according to your design, adjusting as needed to achieve the best visual balance. Once you're satisfied with the layout, start planting. Dig holes twice as wide as the pots each plant came in, place the plants into these holes and make sure they are level with the surrounding soil. Backfill the hole and firm the soil gently. Once everything is planted, apply mulch around the plants, leaving some space around their bases. I like Scotts® Nature Scapes® Color Enhanced Mulch as you can choose which color matches your landscape and it helps prevent weeds and retains moisture in the soil. Finish the day by watering the landscape deeply to help the plants settle into their new environment.

On Day 3, you'll finalize.

Start the day by taking many steps back and evaluate your new landscape from a vantage point. If anything looks off, don't hesitate to make the necessary adjustments to any plants - hopefully boulders will not need adjustments. Then clean up! Store leftovers and tools.

I’ve suggested plants like Frogfruit, Prairie Verbena, Texas Sage, Turk’s Cap, Flame Acanthus, Texas Red Oak, and Mexican Plum to create a vibrant and regionally authentic Texan landscape. However, it's always wise for homeowners to have a chat with their local nursery before getting started. They will provide valuable advice about the suitability of these species for specific garden conditions and local climate and suggest refinements.

Here’s what it could look like on iScape:


Massachusetts Weekend Project: Create a Clover and Phlox Oasis in a Sunny Yard

For those living in Massachusetts or the Northeast, get inspired to create a clover and phlox oasis - all in a weekend’s work! Prep your outdoor space, scatter clover seeds, plant phlox and water deeply at first to set your landscape up to be more drought-tolerant in the future.

What You'll Need:

Day 1 is all about planning and prep.

First clear the yard. Start your project by removing any grass, weeds, and debris from your yard. Then, till the soil. If your soil is compacted, using a tiller will help loosen it up, promoting better drainage and root penetration. Finally, enrich the soil by mixing in compost to increase the soil's nutrient content.

Day 2 is when you start planting.

Start by planting the Phlox, spacing them about 1 to 2 feet apart to ensure they have enough room to grow and flourish. Next, scatter clover seeds and evenly distribute them over the area. I like

Scotts® Turf Builder® Clover Lawn which helps keep your landscape greener with less water and naturally self-fertilizes. Lightly rake the seeds into the soil to ensure they have good contact with the soil, but don't bury them as they need sunlight to germinate.

After everything is planted, water your entire backyard deeply.

Day 3 onward, water consistently until plants are established.

Keep the soil consistently moist until your plants are established, which might mean daily watering, especially in the beginning. This reliance on watering will drop as soon as the phlox and clover are established, usually within a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on the specific conditions of your backyard and the local climate. Once these plants are established, they become hardy, needing infrequent watering and maintenance, and are better equipped to withstand periods of extreme heat and drought.

Here’s what it could look like on iScape:


Get started today with iScape, now available on the Google Play Store. Visit for more inspiration or to download the full suite of Greenprints via the iScape app.