January 20, 2022

New Year, New Yard: Planning Landscape Installations

The new year has only just gotten underway—and that means it’s the perfect time to plan any new landscaping installations you might make this year. In fact, now is the best time to get started, though we’ll discuss the reasons why in a moment. Below, you’ll find some of the top things you’ll need to think about before you give your yard a makeover!

Start with Your Timeline

Depending on what you plan to do with your landscape, you may need to start sooner rather than later—or perhaps you can push the work off until later in the year. For example, let’s say that you’re planning to install a new pool this year, and you’d like it to be ready to go in time for Memorial Day, which is when many pools traditionally open for the year. If that’s the case, it’s best to get started now because you’ll have a lot of planning ahead, plus your contractors will need a head start to finish by the deadline.

The same is true if you want new plantings or new grass to be grown in by early summer. The sooner you can plant, the better—within reason, of course, since you can’t plant when it’s too cold.

Other things, like repainting fences or repaving driveways, are best done in warmer weather. Wait until the spring rainy season passes to get these jobs done without a hitch.

Build Out Your Budget

Budgeting is tough, but you can make it simple. Start by writing down how much you have to spend on this project because barring a windfall, that’s one part of the project that can’t be changed.

Next, make a list of all the things you want, and do a little research to learn what the average cost for each might be. At this point, you’ll probably find yourself going over budget since most of us would love to have more than our bank accounts will allow!

That’s OK, though. Now that you have your “want” list, it’s time to go over it and decide which items are the things you truly need. As an example, consider a scenario in which you want to build and landscape a backyard entertaining space. You may have things on your want list like a patio, shade trees, a gazebo or a pergola, and a large koi pond. Now it’s time to boil it down to what you need to make it more affordable. Will the gazebo ever be used, or will most guests spend time on the patio? Can you shrink the koi pond down, or do a little less planting?

These are the types of things to consider when you’re creating a budget!

Getting Down to Details: Softscaping or Hardscaping?

This one is a big question to consider. What’s the difference between hardscaping and softscaping? It’s easy: Hardscaping refers to everything hard in your landscape, from walkways and patios to bricks, decorative stones, and even rocks that may line paths or rock gardens. Softscaping is all the planted stuff—grass, perennial beds, and more.

Which should you choose? For this, it may be helpful to re-examine your needs versus wants. Hardscaping is in general much more expensive than softscaping, so if you don’t need brick paths or stone to fill flower beds, you can save money by instead investing in softscaping—like grass seed and ground covers.

In other spots, however, hardscaping may fall on your “need” list. If you’re going for that pool, you’ll need a hardscaped pool deck so that people don’t track dirt and grass clippings into the pool. If you’re building an entertainment space, a hard surface, be it a patio, deck, or something else, will make it much easier to place tables and chairs. Deciding what you want to do with your landscape isn’t easy—but the difficulty is part of the fun because the possibilities are endless. Make sure to come up with a firm budget, and most importantly, start planning now because spring and summer will be here sooner than you think!


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