18 Jul Revamping your landscape? What to do first
You’ve been walking out your back door to an area of your home that should bring relief from the stress of the day but when you do you are hit with an ominous question, what should I do with my backyard. For some of you, this means facing the revamp of your landscape that you put off at the end of last season. Sometimes, the hardest part is deciding where to begin, so we thought we would add our two cents to the conversation. Here is an outline to follow when deciding what changes should happen in your landscape. If you get stuck at any point, please leave a comment here or on our Facebook page, we would love to help, and will always work to achieve your desired results in your landscape.
The first phase of revamping any existing landscape is to edit the elements that are already there. Start with the obvious by removing elements that bother you. This is where a little wisdom from Jerry comes in, “Don’t name your trees.” Plants are not pets and the more you attach emotion to them, the harder your choices will be. “The kids swang from that tree”. Great, keep the pictures but remove it if it has become an eyesore or has become overgrown, damaged or injured.
Then edit out elements that you may like, but are just not working. They may interrupt the flow of your landscape or may be unmanageable due to heavy maintenance requirements. Yards are for relaxing, remove any part of your landscape that just feels like work.
Hardscape is becoming more and more common. It should be the foundation for any good landscape design. It includes any permanent elements including dirt work, construction, and paving. Let’s break it into three categories.
This can include drainage, retaining walls, fences, and storage. Anything your yard will suffer without should be taken care of first. Just because these features are utilitarian does not mean they have to be boring or ugly, but you should allow time and resources here first, you will thanks us later for this advice.
Next, you will want to design elements that define the uses for your yard. Do you need a bigger deck for outdoor entertaining? Would that piece of the lawn look better with a path around or through it? What about borders and fencing. Decide these things at this stage, so that you know what will be happening where. Some typical yard spaces are entertaining or outdoor dining space, recreational spaces such as pools, or basketball courts, play spaces for children, and isolated living space for pets so that they can be separated when necessary.
Other, less necessary spaces may include areas for relaxation, or to give focal points such as flower beds, or outdoor sculpture the focused attention they deserve. This is your list, whatever you want in your yard, prioritize and get it in there!
Much of landscaping is purely ornamental or added for some aesthetic quality, such as color, texture, or in the case of water features, sound, and tranquility. Add these elements last. Not because they are less important, but designing usable space first, gives a better framework for placing decorative elements. Be practical when it comes to placement. Position these elements close to electric or water sources, if needed, will minimize time and expense. Also, keep in mind the use and traffic plan you established at the beginning. If you are going to interrupt the flow, make sure that is what you want.
While many people think of landscaping in terms of plant material, this is actually the least of your concerns. Not only are plants typically inexpensive, in comparison to stone, lumber and other materials, they are also easily positioned. Once you have a map of the other elements, it will be obvious which areas will and will not work for major plantings.
Select large, long-lived specimens, such as trees and shrubs first. Research each element to make sure you have selected the best plants and placement. When all else fails, contact us for advice, we love to help! It is easier to work with the plant’s limitations and qualities than it is to try and make it fit your needs or wants. Keep the colors and textures of these large specimens in mind when you get to selecting other plants.
Flowers and Bedding Plants
Last but not least, add flowers, bedding plants, and plant borders to your plan. Work with the existing and newly planned elements to create an aesthetically pleasing, simple to maintain and practical display. If you don’t like to take care of plants, keep this in mind. If you do, don’t be afraid of experimenting with more temperamental species.
By following a common-sense plan, mapping out necessities first and following up with the things you want in order of importance, you can create a landscape you will be proud of.
Remember, even if you hire us to design and implement your landscape, we want your input. Reinventing paradise can only occur when those who will live in it, bring their preferences into the design process.