How to Plan for a Major Landscaping Project

5.09.2016

If you are planning to engage in a major landscaping project during the summer months, there are a lot of things to consider. Below are six important things to remember as you take on your project.


Consider Your Family. If you are going to have young kids running around your backyard, you may want to rethink that fragile lawn ornament, or the unfenced pool. If you have pets that dig or eat things, you should make sure that you don’t have any poisonous plants in your yard, and you’ll need to take extra precautions to make sure that they don’t dig up your landscaping. If you will be entertaining guests quite often, you will need to make sure that you plan enough space for people to sit and play. Take the time to think about how you will be using your yard and make sure that your landscaping will fit your lifestyle. 

Plan it Out. The number one mistake people make is forgetting to make a plan, and they end up spending more time or money than necessary. As you take on your landscaping project, it is important to make sure that know what you are getting into. You probably have plenty of idea boards, but now it is time to put them into action. Evaluate the things that you want to do, the potential cost of each project, as well the flow of the different pieces Draw out your yard and then draw your landscaping plan in the space. Make sure that you don’t overlook practical details such as irrigation, lighting, and electricity (if needed). 


Budget. Make sure that you have a budget in place for your landscaping project, and that your project fits your budget. Landscaping can be 30% more expensive than other renovations, so make sure that you properly anticipate the costs. A good rule of thumb is to plan to spend between $4-$5 per square foot, depending on the complexity of your project. Once you have a good idea of what you want to do, take it to a landscaper to get a quote (this is a good idea whether or not you are going to DIY, so that you have a general estimate of how much the project will cost). It is a good idea to set aside at least 15% contingency in case anything happens or your plans change. 

Decide: DIY or Leave it to Professionals. Take some time to legitimately assess your skillset. While you can save money by doing many landscaping projects yourself, it may not be a wise idea, especially if you try to do more than you are able to. Your inexperience can add weeks to the project. On top of that, landscapers have many of the necessary tools to do projects, and they include using those tools in their quotes. To go out and rent or buy these tools can cost hundreds of dollars more to do a project than it would cost a landscaper, who already has them. 


Grow For Your Area. During the design process, you may come across amazing ideas that just wouldn’t work well for your climate. While it would be pretty neat to have a beach-like resort in your backyard with palm trees, if you live in Maine, the winters will kill your plants in a heartbeat. Try to pick native plants so that your landscaping project will be a success. Make sure that you consider the local wildlife and insects as well. 

Keep it Simple. Don’t get too excited and bite off more than you can chew. When you are in the planning process, keep your design as simple as possible. Once you have a plan and budget in place, stick to it. Try not to bring home everything that you see at the garden center or home improvement store, as your landscaping will become cluttered and confusing. 


Don’t Forget to Recycle. Before you begin your project, decide what you are going to do with your extra materials such as grass clippings, stumps, and other leftovers. Many of these items can be recycled to provide necessary nutrients for your newly landscaped yard. Instead of just taking them off to a landfill, use them yourself or recycle them in the proper facilities. Of course, you should make sure that you have a dumpster ready to take care of anything on-site.
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