Tips for Changing Your Landscape

Fall is coming, and there’s no better time to re-evaluate your yard to see where you want improvement and changes. Whether it’s planting some trees and flowers, installing a new retaining wall, or digging it all up and starting from scratch, the time is now to revamp your landscape.

Before digging up that shrub or laying that stone paver, take a step back and really think about your outdoor space. Look it over with a critical eye, and give some thought to how you envision the final results. Ed Castro, president of Ed Castro Landscape in Roswell, Ga., recommends asking yourself the following questions: How are you going to use it? For sports? To play? Do you want a garden? Will it be a formal garden or a flower garden? Will you be entertaining, or do you prefer something informal for sitting and gathering? “Have an idea of what you want from a functional standpoint,” Castro says.

Also, when deciding what to do with your space, Castro says the design should be influenced by the landscape away from the home, and it should be influenced by the architecture near the home. In this way, the space will have continuity and flow with its surroundings.

Along these same lines, don’t go overboard with your plans; more isn’t always better. Don’t be afraid to go with simplicity. “Lawns are still very popular, but maybe not so big,” Castro says. “There’s nothing more romantic than a sweeping, open lawn. It’s a nice contrast, a nice open space; it provides something for the eye to rest on. And it’s pretty cheap per square foot to install.”

In fact, initial planning is crucial to achieving the outcome you desire. Don’t overlook the technical details of creating your ideal landscape while focusing on the picturesque qualities like what flowers and trees you want. For instance, don’t overlook drainage, says Evan Rogers, co-owner of Scapes in Marietta, Ga. “It’s a major destructive force. It can wreak havoc on a garden design.” Likewise, if incorporating a hardscape into your design, Rogers says it’s extremely important to utilize strong structural materials for a quality project.

If you’re thinking of an outdoor living room and/or kitchen, really consider how you will use these spaces on a day-to-day basis. “Outdoor rooms are usually not a curb appeal type of thing; it’s a function thing,” Rogers says. “If you regularly entertain for eight to 10 people, that’s a different entertaining space than if you entertain one other couple. Have some forward thought on how you’re going to incorporate that into the design. If you’re not careful and don’t consider that, you’re going to be disappointed with your space.”

Of course, when embarking on a landscape redesign or new outdoor space project, money is always an issue. First, think about how you will pay for your project. Second, examine your finances and determine how much money you have for your project. Third, be realistic about your plans. If you want a grandiose backyard and outdoor living room and kitchen, prepare to pay for it. In addition, plan to pay for a job well done by a quality contractor, rather than opting for the lowest estimate. “Set aside the appropriate budget to have it done right,” Rogers says. “It’s always more expensive than you planned for.”

However, don’t despair if you don’t have the available funds to accomplish your dream outdoor living space right now. In many cases, you can complete the job in phases. “Planning is a good thing to get a sense of what they might do over time,” Castro says.

Along these same lines, think of your outdoor improvements as an investment in your home. “The majority of installations would be good investments,” Castro says. For example, buy cozy, comfortable, quality furniture that can go with you should you move, he says. Containers are another upgrade that you always can take with you.

When planning your budget, don’t overlook the cost of maintaining your outdoor space. Perhaps you love working outdoors and playing in the dirt. If so, this will help minimize your maintenance expenses. If you’d rather enjoy your space than take care of it, then be sure to include maintenance fees in your final budget.

To get the ball rolling on your landscape design and project, seek out the experts. “Align yourself with a company that meets your personality and needs,” Castro says. “Look for a relationship. How do they feel to you? Do they get what you want to do?”

In addition, look for landscape designers who are part of reputable organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and the American Society of Landscape Architects. Castro also suggests looking for those companies involved in the local community. “Do they give back? Are they visible in the community?” he asks.

And, most importantly, always check references. In fact, ask the company for references of clients who were not happy with their project. Talk with these people to find out why: Did it turn out different than they expected? What specific problems did they have with the project and/or the company? If at all possible, you want both sides of the story.

Yes, there’s nothing better than relaxing in the great outdoors found right outside your door. Make the most of it with a landscape design perfectly suited for you.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. We have a semi-landscaped yard in front of our house but after the storm, we haven’t re arrange it because we lack time. I think we need to renovate it and clean the dirt.

  2. My front yard needs some serious help and my backyard, well, we won’t talk about that. Good thing there are parks!

  3. Planning is definitely crucial, especially when it comes to foliage! We need to to our front yard

  4. When we moved into our home 20+ years ago, I did a lot of landscaping and created an English garden. Many years later, time, weather pattern changes and wild life invasions, have changed my original look. I like your idea and might be ready to transform it again.

  5. I love blue and white hydrangeas and tulips across the front of homes or white picket fences. There are so many ways to beautifully decorate the landscape around your home!

  6. I am going to keep this in mind. We are still super hot here. I don’t have green thumb but you never know.

  7. These are great tips and really beautiful ideas!

  8. I will be landscaping my new house very soon. Thanks for the great tips and ideas.

  9. Ronda Ogilvie says:

    I would love to spruce up my landscape! As soon as I learn how to grow a money tree I’m right on it! LOL

  10. Great tips for changing the landscaping in your yard. This looks amazing.

  11. I love the idea of doing it in phases. Often we want it all done NOW and that can be overwhelming.

  12. Outdoor improvements really are an investment to the home! I think an unkempt yard is a huge turnoff!

  13. When the time comes and I’m ready for this, I’ll definitely be using a landscape designer to figure it out for me. I’m excited to have it look pretty outdoors!

  14. Great tips. We have a wide open yard right now and would love to do something with it!

  15. Choose plants that are native to the area. I live in New Mexico so I have a lot of low water plants

  16. Catherine S says:

    Thanks for the great tips. My own yard could use. Little TLC.

  17. Great tips I just recently changed my landscaping and I love it but I would love to have some of the landscaping in some of those pics too.

  18. Great tips and ideas. I love to see landscapes that pull styles from the surrounding areas to keep a good flow.

  19. I am now so inspired to want to landscape my yard for fall, but these allergies are keeping us indoors :'(

  20. We’ve recently done a lot of landscaping in our front yard. We had to dig out a whole strip earth and we put in stone pavers…it was pretty much took up the last two weeks of June and the first of July to get done. But its beautiful now. You definitely need to think it over first and make sure your plans will work.

  21. I love the outdoors and I so want an outdoor kitchen and livingroom, either or both with a big outdoor fireplace. However, our budget won’t allow it. We have been working on a few other landscaping projects a little bit at a time though. Maybe someday I’ll have the yard of my dreams, complete with a big fireplace, livingroom and kitchen.

  22. Our yard is COVERED in weeds and it seems like there’s no stopping them. it sucks because we just had the grass done. We need to landscape and these tips will go a long way, thanks!

  23. Such Great Tips I’ll Have To Use In The Near Future Thank You!

  24. I miss having my own yard. But when we do get our yard back I will surely use these ideas.

  25. I cannot wait to get a house so I can plant a big beautiful garden. I would love to change up the landscape here at my apartment but I don’t own the land.

  26. That was one hard thing for us moving to the mountains in AZ. Most of the landscape here is pine trees and dirt. Had to get used to not having to tend a lot of stuff!! :)

  27. I’m so not good at landscaping. People must be hired. These are great tips!

  28. awesome tips. i have a huge backyard and its just bare, never knew what to do with it but with these tips i think i have a idea of what i would like to do starting in the spring of next year.

  29. These were amazing tips, I really need to implement this for my own landscape!

  30. Lisa Bristol says:

    We are just moving into a new home. There is lots of landscaping to be done. I will looking online for ideas.

  31. Heidi Bee says:

    I so needed this, we really need some landscaping help!

  32. Thanks for the great tips – I’m inspired!

  33. I would love to have an entire yard! We live in the city, so just a small patio space. Still try to do what we can with it!

  34. Our landscaping is done by the goats. They do the trimming and the weeding. Heh. Sometimes the hubby has to supplement with the riding mower but it’s free food for them!

  35. We live in hot, hot, Texas, but I would so love to change up our backyard landscape and make it more inviting. These are some great tips!

  36. I love these ideas. I’m so bad at doing any of this, when I pinned this post I put it in my “home” category, since I have no gardening or green thumb section. 😉

  37. Good tips for refreshing a landscape!

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