Everyone wants a beautiful garden. Whether it is for a special event, to attract homebuyers, or simply to enjoy being outdoors, homeowners want a landscape that that is appealing but easy to care for. Here are a few tips to consider before starting on your landscaping project.

Understand the yard before planning the landscape design

Every plant should be listed in the gardening book, which describes the plant’s light and care requirements. Some need several hours of direct sunlight every day, while others need only shade, for direct sunlight will kill them quickly. Also, some have certain soil or water requirements.

Take a couple of days to ascertain the amount of sunlight received by each area of your yard throughout the day before developing a plan. For yards with no trees, outbuildings, or other barriers to the sun, this task should prove easy. For other yards, it may require monitoring light levels throughout the day to determine which areas receive the most direct sunlight, and which the least.

Understanding environmental conditions in the areas to be planted makes plant choices easier. Doing so before picking out plants prevents the disappointment of choosing one and planning its placement, only to find it will not work anywhere in the yard.


Buy in phases. Few people have the financial resources to landscape their property all at once. Divide your project into phases, and pay as you go with funds on hand. You’ll save on loan or credit costs and be able to evaluate your progress and adjust plans before moving to the next phase.

Don’t assume cheaper is always better. Economics of scale being what they are, home improvement warehouses typically offer the lowest prices for common plants and hardscaping materials, such as lumber. However, they may not have the selection and quality you find at more specialized sources. Also, a local specialty shop may provide more personal service, expert advice, and guarantees, which are all helpful if you’re a novice. When installing a pond, for example, it may be worth it to pay more through a source that specializes in water gardens, particularly if the staff can help you choose and install equipment. Plant prices may be higher at specialty nurseries, but many offer money-back guarantees on trees, shrubs, and bedding plants.

Consider future maintenance

“Low maintenance” is a hot buzzword these days, but is a factor to take very seriously. Modern life is busy and complicated. Some landscaping features are low maintenance and conducive to a fast pace lifestyle; others are not. Before planting an exotic flower bed, installing a koi pond, or taking on any of the numerous projects glorified in magazines and on DIY shows, investigate what the long term maintenance needs of the project or plant might be.

Once installed, it is too late to back out of any maintenance requirements, so start with eyes wide open. If you discover it will require too much work every year, stop at the planning stage. Not only does nixing a complicated design save money on installation, it prevents heartache when plants and other elements do not fare well because they require more maintenance than you can provide.

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4/66 McCoy Street MYAREE 6154 WA


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