Impressing friends and neighbors and generally having an attractive and appealing yard is the goal of most of us. It may surprise you to discover that much of the work needed to create a great looking outdoor space can be carried out yourself, even if you don't see yourself as being a particularly skilled gardener. However, you will need to have some time on your hands and be prepared to work hard to achieve that great looking yard.
There are plenty of software programs available, and these can give any garden novice some useful advice on where and how to start in transforming an outdoor space into something more. A good software program can help you to explore a range of different options and can give you a good idea of the type of plants and shrubs that will look good.
Another useful place to make a start and get some good suggestions is by checking out one or more of the many landscaping and gardening websites available. Having a fairly accurate idea of what you want to achieve and how you want your space to look is important, and carrying out some initial research before laying down a paving stone or planting a bush is recommended. Doing some initial research can help to minimize the errors you make, although you should be prepared to make a couple of small mistakes which can easily be fixed.
Make sure you know the location of any electricity or gas lines or pipes in your yard before you take a shovel and start digging. Digging through an electricity line can be an expensive error, but more to the point, it can also be potentially dangerous.
You can also avoid wasting your time and money by finding out about any zoning rules which might apply to your outdoor space, and which may prevent you from digging, planting or building. Planting shrubs or trees that reach a certain height, or erecting a fence or wall may not be allowed in some states, and it is always best to find this out before starting any landscaping project.
These rules can be even stricter if you live in a community where you have to belong to a homeowners organization, and you will definitely need to discuss your plans with them. It is possible to have a yard the neighbors will envy even if you aren't an expert gardener, and the tips above are a good place to start.