With the existence of YouTube these days, it is possible to learn about and do almost anything yourself. However, it is unlikely that one video will be able to explain everything to consider or avoid in order to achieve success with a project. Landscaping is one subject that is difficult to replicate projects as no site is the same and each site has its own challenges, advantages, and objectives.
Here is a list of best practices to follow when considering a DIY landscape project.
1. Know Your Site
Spending time on your site and getting to know your property is one of the most beneficial steps of the landscape process. Spending a full year on site watching and experiencing the seasons come and go will help guide the design process. It is difficult to know how the winter landscape will make you feel when the deciduous trees lose their leaves, or to understand just how hot that West facing patio can get in the summer. Also, it is important to understand how stormwater moves through your site to ensure grading and drainage is addressed as needed. Spend a minimum of one year on your site in order to understand just exactly what your landscape needs.
2. Create a Plan
Having a plan to follow when you are working on your own landscape project is beneficial for many reasons. Following a plan will ensure that the finished project is cohesive and unified even when it is installed in phases over time. Also, a plan will allow you to quantify materials in order to know how much of a product you might need for the project. Material might be unavailable or possibly changed or updated and a color, texture, and or pattern might not be available when you are ready to add on to your project.
3. Plan for the Future
When creating your landscape plan, don’t hesitate to let yourself dream big. If you envision a greenhouse or a water feature, include that space in your design. You don’t have to install it all at once, but when you do decide to move forward some of the infrastructure work should already be done for future use (i.e. electrical/irrigation lines). Also, when planning for the future, it is important to consider maintenance and what it will take to maintain each area.
4. Plan for the Seasons
Seasonal interest is the key to an eye-catching landscape. It is important to have something enjoyable and interesting in your landscape during winter just as much as it is in the summertime. Seasonal interest can be achieved not just with the right plant material but also with boulders, soil berms and mounds, and mossy logs or other garden sculptures.
With any landscape, there is potential to consume or to conserve resources. Landscapes use water, fertilizer, and fuel when maintained with power tools and equipment. Amending soil to improve holding capacity, reducing traditional lawn areas, using lawn alternatives, and installing low-water usage plants can help conserve resources that will leave you with a more healthy landscape that is less expensive to maintain than a traditional landscape.