The warmer months are fast approaching, and as such, it becomes necessary to start thinking about tackling your garden. Most people tend to abandon their outdoor space in the winter, allowing it to become unkempt and overgrown. This does mean more work for you; however, a well-thought-out landscaping plan allows you to get to work and can even help you to come up with a garden design that needs minimal maintenance, making it easier to keep during the winter.
Firstly, while a lot of landscaping tips and techniques are universal, they cannot always be applied in the exact same way. They will need them to be customised to your garden. This is why you should always begin your planning efforts by taking a step back and looking at your garden as is. Do you need to remove any rubbish or clear any weeds or debris? This should be the first thing that you do because it can help you to get a better idea of the space that you are working with.
After that, you should start to look at the ground conditions. Does the ground need levelling in order to make it easier to work with? It is also worth considering the state of any existing structures or features in your garden. Do you want a completely blank slate, in which case everything will need to be removed, or can you incorporate them into your designs? Finally, the topsoil will also need to be analysed to consider whether or not it is hospitable to the types of plants that you want to plant.
DIY vs Hiring a Landscaper
The deciding factor is likely to be your budget. There are many landscaping techniques that are well within the remits of an enthusiastic amateur. However, you should also consider the scope of the work. If it is beyond your skillset or would pose a risk to your safety or to the safety of others on the property, then you should definitely consider hiring a landscaper.
They are experienced and qualified; after all, if you were going to add an extension onto your home, then you would look into builders near you; it is exactly the same principle. Luckily, there are a number of sites out there like MyBuilder which allow you to post your job, and the eligible tradespeople then get in touch, and you can decide from there who you want to hire.
Choosing the Right Materials
The next thing to think about when planning your landscaping efforts is the materials. Your choice can have a significant impact on the cost and the timescale of the project. It might also be worth considering the environmental impact of your choices too. For example, repurposing materials or buying them secondhand can go a long way in saving you money as well as minimising the environmental impact of your project.
You can also find sales at garden centres for the plants or even ask your friends and family for cuttings that you can then transplant into your flowerbeds. Obviously, aesthetics are important; however, you will also need to think about the durability of the materials. They will need to be suited to outdoor use, which means weatherproof. You might also want to consider whether or not the materials will speak to your tastes and mirror your home décor style.
The biggest risk to your landscaping efforts is moisture. Standing water in your garden is likely to ruin any efforts that you have made as well as compromise the structural integrity of your garden structures. This is why you will need to think about ways in which you can disperse the water. Obviously, working the ground will help to increase your rate of drainage, as will paving and patios. You should also try to ensure that the ground level is at least six inches below your property in order to ensure that any runoff water or dampness will not compromise the interior of your property. If this is an ongoing issue, then it would make sense to add more drainage into your landscaping efforts to help further.
Choosing plants is often seen as the fun part when it comes to landscaping your garden. For the most part, it is often one of the final steps. However, this doesn’t mean that choosing the plants will need to wait until the end. You will need to consider the climate where you live, how much sunlight your garden gets and the type of atmosphere and look you are trying to achieve.
Shrubs, flowers, trees and other plants are all solid choices. Most of the time, a variation is recommended because it creates more visual interest. There are also several options that bloom year-round or are what is known as evergreen. This means that your garden won’t become a barren wasteland in the winter, so you might want to consider incorporating some of them too.
One of the most popular landscaping techniques is zoning. Defining the different areas within your garden simply makes sense. It helps to guarantee that you have made the most of the space as well as making it easier to maintain too. If you have the time, space and money to zone your garden properly, then you might want to consider different flooring for each zone. You could go for a patio where you plan to dine alfresco because this provides a better base for the furniture.
The play area is likely to be the lawn. If you want a separate area for lounging, then you could build a deck in the area that gets the most sun. You could choose to paint the fence behind each zone in a different colour to create different backdrops and reinforce the purpose of each zone. If you want to create zones on a budget, then you could strategically place planters around the different areas or utilise architectural planting to divide the space. Finally, remember to incorporate the vertical space that you have too. Climbing vines, vertical planters, trellis’ and living walls can all also be used to differentiate the zones as well as help to make the most of a smaller garden.
The last thing to consider when planning your landscaping efforts is your privacy. Nobody wants to be spied upon in their own garden; depending on your property and the location, this might not be something that you need to consider. However, if it is, then there are several things that you can do. Firstly, taller fences could be an option, although you might need to consider the council or the homeowners association. Any of the vertical zoning efforts mentioned above can also be used.
For example, suppose you want to set up an area in which you can relax in the sun, but you don’t want to be overlooked for whatever reason. In that case, it might be worth thinking about how you could use a trellis or a living wall as a privacy screen without impacting the amount of sun that you are going to get. Of course, this will not always be possible, but it is worth thinking about.
The Bottom Line
Designing your gardens landscape doesn’t necessarily have to be tricky. There are several elements to consider, but it simply comes down to clever planning. All of the points of design are mentioned above, which allows you to take them into account when planning your landscaping efforts. Obviously, you will need to customise everything to your garden, but this is easily done.