There is more to landscaping than choosing a tree or planting a floral border. Professional landscapers can help you incorporate your ideas into a sustainable landscape, using plants best suited for your soil and region. Unless you know a lot about horticulture and have the equipment and time to do your own landscaping, it is worthwhile tohire a local landscaping professional.
What You Need to Know
- Consider the needs of everyone in your home, including pets and children. A yard with fragile grass or one that lacks a play area may be impractical.
- Research costs for trees, retaining walls and other landscaping elements before looking for professional bids, so you can have a realistic budget from the start.
Identify your goals for your landscaping project. Decide whether you want a low-maintenance or xeriscaped yard, one that changes with the seasons, one that provides screening or shade or complements your home. Get ideas from gardens you admire, magazines and people whose opinions you trust.
Contact a local landscape architect or designer to help you draw up plans. Ask what portions of the project are feasible for you to do yourself, and what is best left to a landscape professional.
Consider whether you have the equipment, from chain saws to Bobcats, to carry out a landscaping project. While many people have the skill, according to Edward Rose & Sons horticulturist Charles Ford, having the right equipment can make or break a landscaping project, and it can be very expensive to rent or buy.
Consider using plants that require little or no water, chemical fertilizers or pesticides. A landscape professional can plan a water-thrifty garden, tell you which plants attract butterflies and beneficial insects, and advise you on native plantings.
Evaluate the potentials and pitfalls with landscaping your property. Understand how soil type, drainage and slope, areas of shade and features like water or power lines or a septic tank might affect landscaping decisions.
Realistically assess whether you have the time or expertise to complete a major landscaping project yourself. Break your project into separate tasks and decide if you want to do any of them, while hiring a landscape professional to do the rest.
Tips & Warnings
- Know exactly where your property lines are, and find out where water, power and sewer lines are buried before doing any digging or excavating.
- Understand how large trees will grow, and how wide their root systems will spread, before planting. Roots can break drainage pipes and crack foundations, and it’s unsafe to have large tree branches overhanging your roof.
- Take into consideration any irrigation need before planting.