As winter winds down it is time to think about changes to make in your yard come spring. The earlier you get plants established this spring the better off they will be, and the more time you’ll have to enjoy them come summer. If your plans include designing or redesigning a portion of your landscape read on for a guide to start the process.
|Bubble diagrams help you identify the best locations for different elements in your garden|
Step 1: What are your needs and wants for your landscape?
Often times we get distracted by what we have – this step challenges you to move beyond what your yard looks like now and think about what you would want it to be. Do you want space for entertaining friends and family? Play space for kids or pets? Space for edible plants? A quiet seating area to relax in? Improved views from inside the house? Let your imagination wander at this point – our clients are often surprised that we can take an abstract idea and turn it into a beautiful feature in their yard.
Step 2: What are you working with?
Now it is time to take a look at what you have. Start by looking at the existing plants on your property. While everything can be removed it is likely that you’ll want to keep some of the plants that you have. However, don’t get bogged down by smaller plants that are often easy to move or inexpensive to replace. Focus on large trees and shrubs that provide screening and shade. Make note of the conditions of different areas of your property. Which areas are sunny, shady, or wet? Where are there slopes and which areas are flat? Finally take a look at the house – where are the windows, where are hose bibs and other areas that you need access to? Where are AC units and areas that you may want to screen? Which views do you want to highlight?
Step 3: Combine your needs with your realities
Take the information from step 1 and 2 and identify the best use for each area. The flat spot that is shaded by a tree would make a great space for a seating or entertaining area. The sunny spot that you can see from the yard but is less noticeable from the house would make a great spot for a perennial garden – you’ll be able to enjoy it during the spring and summer months but won’t notice it during winter dormancy. The view from your home office could be enhanced by a tree that attracts wildlife for your viewing.
Step 4: Refine materials selections
Now that you have a plan, take a moment to think about materials including paving options, plants, fencing, etc. Do you have deer? If so you may want to change the hosta garden to a garden of ferns. Do the paving materials match or combine nicely with the building materials of your house? Double check the mature heights of the foundation plants you are considering against heights of your windows. Remember, you get the most value for your money when you make thoughtful selections that won’t need to be changed in a few years.
Step 5: Come up with a phasing plan that works with your budget
You’ve developed and refined your plans for the garden – now decide what you should do first. If you plan to put in significant hardscape make sure you are maintaining access for any equipment and hold off on planting near this area until the work is finished. Consider putting in trees and large shrubs before perennials and annuals. The trees will provide more initial impact and can start getting established. No matter what your budget is, there is some part of your landscape that you can start improving!
Step 6: Get started!
Now that you have a plan you are ready to get started. If you have designed your own landscape and are looking for a high quality installer, consider Bright Leaf Landscaping. If you made it to step 1 and ran out of steam, don’t worry, just give us a call at 919-475-1015 or fill out our online contact from at http://www.brightleaflandscaping.com/contact-us/. Design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!