1) Plan ahead
Many homeowners don’t realize that, just like a home or other structure, the landscape should be carefully planned and organized ahead of time, before the shovel ever hits the ground. It should harmonize with the architecture of your house, respect the existing trees, and capitalize on good views.
Utilities and drainage issues need to be addressed from the start. And your town probably has regulations that pertain to tree preservation, setbacks, and lot coverage. Most importantly, it should work with the way you live, entertain, spend your free time, and whether you enjoy gardening or would prefer to leave that to others!
2) Keep the big picture in mind
What are your long-term goals for your property? Are you planning to stay or sell in a few years? Do you eventually want to add a swimming pool? Perhaps a fire pit or outdoor fireplace? Will you be replacing your old driveway?
Are your terraces in need of repaving? It can be wasteful to allocate resources where they will be disturbed by future construction. When you do spend money to have major work done, you can be assured that it will fit in with your future goals and have the necessary utilities in place for future additions such as fire or water features.
3) Get expert help
Consider retaining a landscape architect-a licensed professional, to advise you and prepare a master plan for your property. The most successful landscapes, however simple, have a guiding vision behind them.
A landscape architect will work with you to determine your needs, wants, and goals, as well as an aesthetic vision that will make the finished product a close collaboration between you and the designer. An architect-designed landscape is not necessarily more expensive- but it can certainly appear that way.
In fact, you could very well save by avoiding costly mistakes, using durable materials, selecting appropriate plants, and being able to get competitive bids from several contractors on your project.
4) Consider long-term maintenance costs
While there are low-maintenance landscapes, every landscape requires a certain amount of maintenance, as you may already be all too well aware of! Landscape maintenance can be costly and time-consuming, whether you use an outside service or do it yourself.
When you plan ahead, we are able to predict and control how much maintenance, such as pruning, mowing, clipping hedges, and caring for perennials and seasonal flowers, will be needed.
Some of the best landscapes actually are on the lower end of the maintenance spectrum. It is definitely a factor to be aware of from the start of the planning process.
5) It’s a work in progress
Every property or garden evolves over time. Trees and shrubs get larger and create shade and take up more space. Family needs change over the years.
What was a play lawn may be programmed to become a shady, low-maintenance fern garden as trees grow up around it?
Again, the master plan is a useful way to think about the life cycle of the property, so that decisions are made early on that can hold up to future requirements and continue to add value rather than detract from your home value.