April 5, 2017

concept art of outdoor living spaceYou’ve daydreamed about the perfect backyard, the perfect storefront, or the perfect patio for some time. Your dreams are shaping up into what could be a solid reality. Now is the time to make it happen – but first, consider these seven simple things you should think about before designing your dream landscape.

1. What are you starting with?

Evaluate first what you already have. Are there any landscape features already in place? If so, will they need to be removed or incorporated? Will grading or digging be required to achieve the desired look? If the area in question has features you do not like, such as a steep hill or existing trees, how could these be incorporated or altered to fit your vision? Considering these factors will aid in the planning process.

2. Consider plant hardiness.

If your dreamscape involves lushly planted gardens, do a bit of research on the types of plants you wish to include. Ann Arbor sits near the boundary of USDA plant hardiness zones 5 and 6. Choosing perennial plants (those that return every year without the need to be replanted) well suited to these zones will keep your garden looking great for years to come.

3. Consider time expenditure.

After installation, some landscaping features require regular maintenance. The most labor intensive are water features such as ponds, fountains, and swimming pools (filters must be cleaned, water parameters monitored, and chemicals applied). Some plants also require special care (fast growing bushes must be trimmed, ornamental and fruit bearing trees should be pruned, and roses dead-headed to remove spent flowers). Research these items or ask your landscaper so you know what you are getting yourself into.

House at Night4. Count the cost.

Before planning your garden area, decide on a maximum budget. As you learn the cost of each item and feature you desire, determine the total. If you exceed your budget, you will need to reduce costs by removing a feature or finding a cheaper alternative.

5. Check local codes.

Permits may be required for some outdoor structures. Also, if your neighborhood has a homeowner’s association or you live in a gated community, there are often guidelines that must be followed, such as building fences and pools to certain specifications.

6. Solve landscaping problems with creative ideas.

Use internet sites as well as respected landscaping magazines to research ideas for your project. You may encounter solutions you never thought of for turning that hill into a terraced garden or filling that shaded corner with plants that will thrive.

Designing your own landscape can be a demanding task, and implementing your design is even more daunting, but this is a task you don’t have to tackle by yourself. If you live in or around Ann Arbor, Michigan, contact us today. Our landscaping professionals will walk you through every step, allowing you to live your dream that much sooner.