Landscaping for Newbies

You’ve got the yard and the vision, but no clue where to go from there. You’ve never done the landscaping of your yard on your own, and you aren’t sure how to begin creating it. Before you get started, make sure you’ve answered these key questions so your space will become the retreat you were hoping for.

What can your yard handle?
Determine how much work will need to go into it. Has it been well taken care of? You’ll also need to be realistic about the size and shape of your yard. There may be a hundred ideas swirling around in your head, but those big trees probably won’t work on your small plot with neighbors tucked in close.

What are you going to use the space for?

Whether it’s a quiet place to get away from the world or extra room for your evening soirees, this will affect the design choices you make. These can be things like colors, patterns and textures, light, and variety. Once you know what you want, it will be easier to get an idea of what these elements will entail and start nailing each decision down. These apply not only to the plants you’ll choose but any furniture, lighting, or patios you want to put in.

What’s your budget?
You may plan to re-enact what you watched a team of professionals pull off in an HGTV show, but it’s not that simple. If your budget isn’t going to allow you to hire a professional, you’ll definitely want to start small rather than taking on the entire yard single-handedly.

Decide on an area you’d like to start (many people start in the front yard), then give yourself a budget for all aspects of that project and stick to it. Maybe you really dig a few luxurious items and can’t go on without them.

It’s okay to move your budget around, but keep in mind that if you overspend on that one item, you’ll have to work some magic to balance everything else. You could also put off a few aspects of the projects until later when you’ve built up your landscaping budget again.

Any hardscaping?
Don’t get so excited about the new plants and sod that you forget about that pathway or patio you want to put in. Tasks that require leveling, moving dirt, and bringing in any machinery or heavy parts are best done before you bring your plants on board. This includes any upcycled garden boxes or raised beds made from large wooden crates you want to use.

Following this tip will protect your precious new plants from any mishaps in the area and provide you the framework needed to sort out where each one should end up. Try to be selective with any additional lawn ornaments as well. Don’t overcrowd the space; instead, keep it looking simple and clean.

Where should each plant be placed?
When you’ve finally got all your potted trees and flowers sitting in the yard, ready to transfer, make sure you have a good idea of what each plant needs to thrive. Some plants need more sunlight than others, some need to be planted at just the right depth, and others start so small that you forget they need extra space to grow.

Keep track of the plant tags for each as you’re laying them out, and remember to take into account some of those design elements from earlier. Before you know it, your yard will be growing into the haven you imagined and you’ll be ready to plan the next project.