Landscaping: The ultimate guide for homeowners

Outdoor landscaping is often considered a luxury; it’s nice to look at, but not worth investing money in. Not anymore! Outdoor landscaping is becoming a popular spring home renovation project and for good reason. Our guide explains why you should invest in landscaping, how to properly plan for the outdoor renovation and how to find the right landscaping contractor for the project.

Tell me: Why does my home need landscaping?

As a homeowner, it’s not always easy to decide how much money to allot to one project. Should the kitchen be gutted entirely, or should the budget be split to allocate funds to finishing the basement? According to a study published in Remodeling Magazine, outdoor renovations is now in the top 5 list of home improvement projects for 2015, grouped with kitchen and bathroom renovations. Why should calling a landscaping contractor to do renovations be on the top of your to renovate list? Here’s why:

  • It’s the first thing people will notice about your home. If you’re selling your home in the near future, you want future home buyers to be immediately attracted to the property, enticing them to walk into your house. This begins with the exterior look of your home. Even if you don’t have plans to sell your property, the outside will still leave a lasting impression on visitors and passersby.
  • It adds value to your property. The whole point of a home renovation is to add dollar value to your home. Landscaping does just that and can increase the value of your home by up to 20 percent.

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I’m convinced, but don’t know where to start.

The spring season is the perfect time to not only think about outdoor landscaping, but to start planning for it. After all, you’ll want to spend as much time as you can outdoors, enjoying the landscaping oasis you’ve invested money in. But before you can do that, you must first think about what you want for your property. To help you visualize what your new space could look like, consider these factors:

Who will be using the yard?

Do you have children or pets? Are you the type of person who will host outdoor parties? Your landscaping design should reflect your needs and what you plan on using the outdoor space for. If you’re the entertaining type, you’ll want to have walkways built to make room for traffic. If kids are in the picture, perhaps you want a space dedicated to a swing set, therefore trees and plants should be strategically placed to allow for that. Speaking of kids and entertaining, if you plan on spending a majority of your summer outdoors, you’ll also want to decide who will be responsible for maintaining the property. If you’re a DIYer with good time management skills, then you’ll naturally build that work into your routine. If not, you’ll want to consider hiring your landscape designer to do the maintenance work as well.

Patio furniture – location is everythinglandscapingdesign4

The last thing you’ll want to do is to invest money in an outdoor renovation – complete with brand new patio furniture – only to find the sun and wind in your way, disrupting you and your guests as you’re enjoying your new digs. That’s why it’s important to survey your property and determine which side of it gets the most sun and when. If you’re thinking of purchasing a fire pit, you won’t want to put it in a corner where the wind will continuously extinguish the fire. Design around the elements and you’ll always be comfortable – and uninterrupted – when spending time outdoors.

Don’t do it all in one shot

How many times have you sat through a home renovation reality show, watching an entire house and backyard get gutted, waiting for the final reveal at the last five minutes of the show? When it comes to your landscaping renovation, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing! Creating a cozy outdoor space complete with plants and flowerbeds should be a slow and enjoyable process. It gives you the opportunity to see how the space is developing and make changes based on that. Upon the first stage of the outdoor landscaping renovation with your contractor, you might decide the property needs more plants, or an outdoor kitchen for those backyard parties, but you won’t know unless you work slowly to develop the space.

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But wait! Here are some more things to think about as you visualize your new landscaping:

  • Privacy;
  • Allergies;
  • Desired completion date;
  • Structures (gazebos, fencing);
  • Design themes (country, contemporary, relaxing, practical).

There are a whole host of factors that will determine how your landscaping will look and function. A landscaping contractor will be able to sit down with you and help you visualize it based on these factors.

I’m visualizing my new landscaping! But what about budget?

Designing landscaping that suits your home, needs and wants should be a fun experience that won’t break the bank. The budget you allocate for your landscaping should be realistic, organized and flexible in case unexpected issues arise during the process.

Your budget should include the following:landscapingdesign1

  • irrigation installation
  • lawn service
  • tree removal or pruning
  • new plants and shrubbery
  • fencing
  • flower beds and planting
  • exterior lighting
  • outdoor entertainment features (fire pit, outdoor kitchen, seating).

Not sure how much money you should be budgeting for landscaping? A landscaping expert will be able to sit down with you, assess your needs and wants, and work with you to develop a specific one that you’re comfortable with.

How do I find the right landscaping contractor for my project?

You’ve worked hard for your money and property, which is why you want nothing but the best for your landscaping. To help you make your decision – and find the right person for your project – ask potential hires these questions before you make your decision:

  1. How long have they been in business? Every business has to start somewhere, but companies that have been around for 10+ years are doing something right. Not only that, but they’ve likely developed a strong portfolio and client base over the years.
  2. When will they be able to start the project and how long will it take? Any landscaping professional should be able to give you a schedule of events of when the work will take place and for how long. They should continuously work on your project before moving onto the next one.
  3. Do they have references on hand? A good landscaping company will be able to direct you to other clients whose homes they’ve worked on in the past. This will give you a proper visual as opposed to just looking at pictures on a company website.

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Ready to pose these questions to the professionals? We have a large directory of landscaping contractors who specialize in landscaping and design. They’ll be able to make your landscaping dreams come to life!

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