03 Sep 2015

The first impression of a home is often made from the street. The exterior appearance or curbside appeal of a home can say a lot about its inhabitants, so this begs the question – what does your yard say about you?

Perhaps it’s time for a little landscaping revamp, but where to begin? There are an overwhelming number of options out there that will improve the appearance of your yard and thus the overall appearance of your home.

Many homeowners may choose to pursue a landscape project on their own, either for cost reasons or for a love of DIY home projects. Before you commit yourself to such projects, you may want to first take a few things into consideration to ensure you are completely ready to create the backyard of your dreams.

Your abilities

The first thing to do is complete an honest analysis of your own skill set. Have you had successful experiences with plants and gardening in the past? Do you believe you have a relatively good feel for colour and design, at least in relation to landscapes? If not, it may be best to seek help from a landscaping professional. Be honest – you want to avoid creating a mess of a garden.

Your commitment

Landscaping can be a seriously time consuming project. Are you prepared to see all your weekends this summer disappear into devotion to a landscaping project? Figure out just how big of a commitment you would be looking at when redesigning your yard, and consider whether you have enough time to complete the project or not.

Planning

An absolutely crucial step is to develop a plan. This is one part of the project you may want to consider hiring a professional for. A full yard overhaul can be a big project, so consider using a multi-year plan if necessary. Set yourself a time limit and a money budget, and stick to it.

While the plan is still in development, you can spend some time clearing away the old clutter in your yard, so you can picture the exact space you’ll be working with. The variables in landscape design range beyond personal taste. You must consider the intended yard use, budget, climate, and your own personal skill sets. What kind of backyard would you like? Do you want to incorporate a vegetable garden? A play space for your kids? Consider the sun and wind patterns when planning too.

Colours and textures

Remember to keep the seasons in mind when planning your yard. For most climates, you’ll want to see flowers blooming in the spring and summer, colourful foliage in fall, and structure in winter. The use of both annuals and perennials will ensure continuous colour in your yard. Evergreen and conifer trees can provide a great sense of continuity, as well as creating structure and maintaining greenery in harsher months.

Accents

Want to make your backyard feel like a calming oasis? Consider incorporating a water fountain or other features for use as focal points, a vital characteristic to great landscape design. Some suggestions of hardscape features include walls & fences, trellises, walkways, decks, and arbors. Sculpted cement or forged edging are also great for creating accents.

Lighting accents can also bring added life to your landscape. Feature and design lighting are all about creating emphasis, whereas task lighting will both illuminate dark pathways and provide lovely ambience.

Know your plants

Always consider the light and soil requirements of your selected plants, and place them in your yard accordingly. Try to use as many hardy plants as possible, meaning those that are more likely to survive summer droughts and late spring/early autumn frosts.

Most importantly, be open to change! Over the years your tastes and preferences may change, and so will the usage requirements of your yard space. By planning ahead for the possibility of changes, you can save yourself a lot of trouble down the road.