Your trees, shrubs, and perennials are still sleeping, but your landscape plans should be in full swing for the coming season. The reason? Projects take time, and if you want to see them realized and enjoyed this season, now is the time to start. People are often surprised by how long it takes for a plan to go from concept to implementation. In reality, a landscape plan may require several meetings and renditions before a final plan is agreed upon.
To help you along, here are my top 5 steps to driving home a landscape plan:
- Meet now! Getting an early start allows for more creative and detailed plans to be established. Don’t put yourself into a position where you feel rushed and make rash decisions.
- Establish a budget – Planning with a budget will keep expectations aligned with what is possible. There’s nothing worse than realizing that the plan you’ve been working on for months can’t be realized because the project’s scope is more than you can afford.
- Be guided by a common purpose – When you as the decision-makers come together, make sure one of the first things you answer is “Why are we doing this”. Establishing a common purpose early in the planning process will keep everyone on the same page and save precious time.
- Invite a pro to the table – Now that you’ve met, have a budget, and have established a common purpose, it’s time to invite a landscape pro to the table. A Landscape Professional will ask you to consider critical things you haven’t thought of. Things like:
- Are the hardscape and garden areas properly connected? Different areas of space need to transition correctly and work together so that the area feels right.
- Will the plants you want to put in your garden provide balance and symmetry? For a garden to work, the plant material needs to work well together with an appropriate amount of repetition and a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures.
- Has there been thought given to the variety within the landscape? Is the landscape area interesting throughout the seasons, what is there to look at in the winter, are their displays of color in Spring, Summer, and Fall?
- Build it! – You have an excellent plan, but now you need to execute it with excellence. Here are a couple of important things to discuss and consider with your contractor before starting.
- Timing expectations – Establish a starting and finishing date but leave a buffer for what can’t be controlled. For example, the weather, delayed material delivery, and the unexpected (“didn’t expect to find that under the ground”) can all work to compromise your ideal project finish line.
- Local By-laws – are there permits you need to apply for trees in the area you need to protect, neighbors that need to be notified, or safety requirements that need to be planned for? All good things to discuss with your contractor.
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