If your house is your castle, then your yard must be the palace grounds. Treat them as such by designing the perfect landscape for your family. Whether you have been in your home for years or just moved in, there are certain things you must consider when it is time to refresh the landscape.
1. What Is the Initial Cost for Design and Installation?
You can have big ideas, but your budget may dictate whether they are carried out now or later. Talk to landscape architects about costs upfront to know if what you envision is a reality. You may need to scale back plans or have them drawn up in stages to spread the cost out.
2. How Much Upkeep Will It Need?
Some landscape features require more upkeep than others. For example, lawns are notoriously high maintenance, requiring mowing, edging and regular applications of fertilizer. Hardscaping with wooden and stone elements can reduce care requirements and help conserve natural resources. Water features can be made easier by adding lake aeration and fountains to reduce algae and keep them clear. Make sure you have the equipment and knowhow if you are planning to tackle the upkeep yourself.
3. Are the Features You Want Suitable for Your Climate?
You need to choose features that work for the weather patterns where you live. Sure, there may be an unusually wet, dry, hot or cold season now and then, but climate patterns are, in general, fairly predictable. Choose plants and features that will thrive in your area. There are plenty of resources to help you choose what plants will work best for your climate. Start by finding your USDA hardiness zone and work from there.
4. Who Will Be Using the Yard and for What?
Your landscape is about much more than appearance. If designed properly, it will become a useful and functional extension of your home. Choose elements that work for lifestyle for the biggest impact. Depending on your family, that could mean large play areas or an outdoor kitchen for entertaining. Take time to talk to friends, family and neighbors about their landscape choices and what they like (or don’t) about them. This can help give you a real-life perspective.
5. Will You Need to Obtain Special Permits?
Features like pools, outdoor kitchen or fire pits may require special permits before installation. Talk to contractors or local zoning offices to find out what permits you will need and how to go about obtaining them.
Proper planning will ensure that you design a yard that is attractive and functional. Ultimately, what features you decide to include will depend on personal preference, planned use of the space and your budget.