Your garden is your little piece of heaven where you can relax, have fun, invite friends over for a barbecue party, and have some precious quality time with your family. It can even be the place in which you seek refuge when your work is in dire need of some creativity and inspiration. Perhaps you want to start your little organic farm project in your own garden.
Whatever you have in mind for making over your landscape, it’s definitely exciting. It’s so exciting that most of the time, you’ll just want to rush into creating a new design before being well-prepared for this new project. You wouldn’t regret taking your time, but you’ll surely be thankful for planning your new garden well. After all, you don’t go for a makeover of your landscape every day; it has to be perfect!
Before jumping on the bandwagon and starting the actual process, let’s take a look at five basic steps you should take.
- Evaluate Your Current Yard
Now that you have a clear idea for the purpose of renovation, there’s one more step to take before figuring out how it could fit in your yard. This step is evaluating the current state of your yard.
To start with, make a map of your yard as it is right now. You’ll find that there are some permanent structures in your yard, so identify them and highlight the available space left. Take good care to specify underground structures as well—those that might cause any hazards in case of deciding on a pool or a pond. This is also a good time to check for the water pressure of your house, especially if you’ll be adding an irrigation system. It’s much easier to install it before the landscaping process.
If you have any existing plants, it’s also time to decide on which to keep and which to cut off. Before you commence with landscaping, you should prune the ones you want to keep and remove all of the resulting debris alongside the dead plants and those you want to discard. If you’ll be adding any new plants, make sure the existing ones are healthy and disease-free.
- List Your Makeover Goals
If you’ve already decided on making over your landscape, you must have some new ideas in mind. You might want to add a pool, start a mini-organic farm, or create an outstanding outdoor area. This is all great, but why exactly do you want the makeover? What would make you choose a classic outdoor area over a pool and a barbecue lounge? It all comes down to your makeover goals. Without setting your goals clearly, you might just go after the first things that you come across, only to realize that this wasn’t exactly what you were looking for after all of the trouble.
To start with your goal setting, you’ll have to realize that there’s a problem you’re trying to solve. It might not seem like that at first, but it’ll need some digging. As any goal-setting goes, you’ll dig into the why, what, where, who, when, and how. Instead of just saying you want your curb to be more beautiful, try to be more specific.
- Why do you want to makeover your landscape? Is it for relaxing purposes, so your kids can have a playground, for family gatherings, for work, or for all of the above?
- What will the transformation add to your life?
- Where exactly do you want the makeover to take place; will you redesign the whole landscape or just specific areas?
- Who will be using your new curb? Is it solely for you, or your whole family? Do you want to renovate it for adults, for kids, or for both?
- When will you be enjoying it the most; during the day or night? In summer or in winter? During the working days or over the weekends?
- How do you need it to be more beautiful? Will you achieve that by adding more plants and greens? Or do you want certain lighting arrangements?
- Brainstorm Landscape Makeover Ideas
Here comes the part where you plan for the actual makeover of your landscape. In this step, you’ll want to research as many landscapes as you can. With your goals clear in mind (or on paper), you’ll start collecting ideas. If your yard is going to be used by more than just yourself, then it’s a great idea to include any other beneficiary in your brainstorming session.
When it’s time for the session, you’ll list your goals and look for ideas everywhere. Don’t discard any idea, no matter how absurd it may look in the beginning. You’ll want to look into different trends and the desired time of renovation. For instance, if you want to give your yard a makeover for fall, you might want to go for textured plantings that will keep your landscape colorful instead of brown. A fire pit or heating system will also go a long way toward offering a comfortable outdoor seating area in winter.
After your brainstorming session, you’ll start narrowing down your options depending on different factors. These factors include how practical the idea is, how easy its maintenance is going to be, how much it’s going to cost, how aligned it is to your goals, and whether it’s the best idea to solve your problem(s).
- Research Landscape Contractors
You might find more than one option when it comes to choosing a landscape contractor. They can be an agency or an independent contractor; they can provide you with a complete landscape makeover service or be specialized in a certain field of work. For starters, you’ll need to decide on the exact kind of work that will be done, which we’ll get to in just a minute.
No matter the kind of work you’ll need to be done, there are some crucial points you should research in any landscape contractor before you decide on one. First of all, you need to ensure that the safety of the workers is covered by a landscaper or lawn care insurance in case of any on-site accidents. The insurance will also cover mistakes made by the workers, such as killing the wrong trees or unintentional consequences of herbicides on an undesired area. An insured contractor protects you from liability in case of an accident or an injury, which you might otherwise be responsible for dealing with.
Aside from the insurance, you want to make sure that they’re certified to carry out their job. Depending on your area of residence, landscapers can have different certifications, but they must show you they’re qualified. The presence of certifications is strengthened by their reputation in your area, their portfolio of similar previous jobs, their area of specialization, and the reviews of their previous customers. Most important of all, you want a contractor who provides you with quality assurance. If something doesn’t work the way it was planned, you want to know they’ll be following up with you to fix it.
- Plan the Makeover with Your Landscaper
The final step between you and getting the yard of your dreams is the actual work, which all starts by finalizing a contract with your landscaper of choice.
Depending on the work you want to be done, your choice of landscaper can vary, so always make sure you’ve drafted out everything clearly before you finalize your contract. As a matter of fact, there are many things you should check before finalizing the contract.
For starters, you’ll need to make sure you’re both on the same page, so convey all of the ideas and plans you’ve reached with them, clearly. Once you’ve done that, ask them for a detailed price list for all of the items. These items might include more than what you had in mind, like certain tools or equipment. Make sure you have a clear idea of the full cost and whether it aligns with your budget. Your contractor might ask for a down payment, or a certain amount to be paid after an agreed-upon milestone, so make sure you’re aware of that too.
Once you’ve reached an agreement, ask them for a detailed plan of how they will proceed. This plan should include a detailed timeline of the whole process, and what exactly is going to be included in their work. If you need certain services to be carried out in a specific way, this is the time to point it out. In the case of recurring services, you might want to specify and differentiate responsibilities related to every season.
Getting a landscape makeover is exciting, and that’s all the more reason you should be prepared the best way you can. First of all, you can’t leave such an important task to just anyone; you need to make sure the contractor is well-qualified and capable of carrying out your plans. You’ll start by researching the available landscapers, and then figure out your makeover goals and check how they align with your current yard evaluation. Next, by brainstorming your new ideas and settling on what you want, you’ll be able to reach a solid plan with your well-researched contractor.