Anyone can have a beautiful landscape installed, but keeping that landscape looking its best requires a bit more input. If you've been known to slack on landscape maintenance in the past, make this the year you change your habits for the better. Here are five New Years Resolutions for better landscape maintenance.

1. Create and Use Compost

It's no secret that you need to fertilize your landscape, but compost will do a better job than standard fertilizer mixes because it contains a broader range of nutrients. Start tossing all of your leaves and vegetable scraps in a composter. Let them break down, and then spread the compost around shrubs and trees for better growth.

2. Add mulch more often.

Many homeowners just add mulch to their landscape once a year. However, if you want your landscape to look better year-round, you really need to apply new mulch every month or two. Just a thin layer placed on top will refresh the look of your garden beds. Plus, if you replace mulch as it breaks down, you offer your plants and soil better protection than they would otherwise get from a dwindling layer of mulch.

3. Check before watering.

It might be easiest to just water your plants every day or every other day regardless. But this often leads to over-watering. This year, resolve to always check your soil before watering. If it is wet three or four inches down, then you don't need to water. On the other hand, if the top three inches of soil are too dry to compact into a ball, you need to water. This will save water and also prevent you from drowning out any plant roots.

4. Spray your flowering bushes and trees with insecticides.

Flowering and fruiting bushes and trees often attract insects, which not only pester you in your backyard, but also compromise the health of your trees. This year, resolve to have these trees sprayed with insecticides. You can have them sprayed once right before the flowers appear and then again once the flowers have fallen off. You'll enjoy having fewer bugs around.

5. Choose native plants.

This year, each time you add a plant to your garden beds or landscape, make sure it's a plant that is native to your local area. Native plants are easier to maintain. You won't have to water them as much or apply as much fertilizer.