What do you need to know when starting a garden from scratch?

Landscape design is often a long, complicated process. You might have to deal with multiple contractors, from the one who installs the irrigation system to the one who designs the plantings. There are many steps in the process, and it can feel overwhelming at times. But you can make sure you're on track for success by checking a few things before you get started.

As a landscape designer, we often hear from new clients: "I don't have time to do all of this. Can you pick out the plants?"

Landscape design is definitely a creative endeavour, but the truth is that you have to have some plan in place before you go to the nursery or start digging holes. If you skip the planning process, you're just going to waste time and money and end up with a yard full of bamboos.

So, how can you guarantee your landscape design success by starting with easy wins? You need a plan before you start!

What makes a good plan?

The first thing is that it's not a plan. Sure, some people come in with floor plans and blueprints, and they might even be drawn to scale. Instead, think of your project as a list of necessary tasks that need to get done for your landscape design to work. This can include scheduling out when you want plantings or irrigation systems installed to figuring out exactly where that shed needs to go.

Like anything else, landscape maintenance is best to start small and move incrementally.

Here are some easy-to-achieve tasks that can significantly impact your landscape.

The first step to successful landscape maintenance is

·         Remove any dead or dying plant material; it's essential to remove this material before it has a chance to spread disease to other plants.

·         Watering the newly planted areas; most plants need at least an inch of water per week, more if you live in a hot and dry climate.

·         Mulching around newly planted shrubs and trees; mulching helps retain moisture around new plantings, protecting them from drought stress during their first year or two in the ground.

How much space do you have?

If you have a big yard but don't want to spend a ton of money, maybe go for some low-maintenance plants. If your yard has only so-so sunlight, try something like shade-loving ferns instead of an extensive garden.

What do you like?

It's important to know what you like to communicate this to your designer. Maybe you want a modern look with lots of clean lines and stone accents. Or perhaps you prefer more of an English cottage feel, with lots of flowers and vines everywhere.

Are there any restrictions?

Sometimes some things disqualify certain types of plants or materials. For instance, if your town has an ordinance against certain types of plants or materials, or if your neighbours have allergies, those rules need to be considered early in the process for everyone to be on the same page.

Trying to tackle all the problems at once and attempting to make your yard perfect can be overwhelming. That's why it's essential to start with smaller projects or issues instead of tackling them all at once.

What are easy wins? Easy wins are projects that won't take time or effort but will give you great results. They're an excellent way to build momentum and keep yourself motivated while also working on other significant projects around your home.



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