Landscaping is the quintessential driver of curb appeal in suburbia.  This time of year most yards need work.  Luckily the increased daylight hours offer an opportunity to address your property’s issues and ensure usability and aesthetics all summer long. 

Although the inclination to dig in and and get started can seem irresistible, proper planning is a crucial first step.  So whether you are sprucing up for a pending sale, BBQ season, or even a simple upgrade before summer,  spending time on the front end can be the key to avoiding some common pitfalls.

Takeaways:

  • Spring landscaping is a cost-effective home improvement project

  • With a little effort you can increase the usability and aesthetic of your property

  • By planning ahead you can avoid some common mistakes & make the most of your investment

 

Mistake 1- Failure to understand your medium 

The most common miss in landscaping is a failure to understand the nuances of your particular yard.  This is a crucial step in the planning process that is frequently given short shrift if it is considered at all.  

Sunlight, wind and water drainage will each have implications for your project and must be carefully considered, both for usability of the finished product and to support your plant choices.

Aligning the correct plant types with the conditions of your lawn is the key to building a thriving oasis.  Miss on this and you’ll be fighting a losing battle with the elements all year.  

Action item:  Map out your lawn before you begin.  Note the weather characteristics including wind, water drainage and sunlight throughout the day.  Research plants that are suited to the conditions and ensure they fit both their proposed location as well as your vision for the finished product.

Mistake 2- Forgetting about maintenance

Sunlight and weather are but one component of plant selection.  Different plant breeds also require varying levels of maintenance and care.  Don’t let your quest for the perfect aesthetic force you into a burdensome maintenance schedule.  

Consider if you are truly committed to watering, weeding and fertilizing at the level required by a given plant breed.  Also think about the pest implications, are you landscaping or feeding the local deer?  

Action item:  Instead of one trip to the garden store, make two.  One to window shop and one to buy.  Include a trip to the internet between visits to understand each plant choice in terms of common pests, fertilizer and watering schedules.

 

Mistake 3- Becoming overly ambitious

We’ve all seen home improvement shows that miraculously transform a yard in a single weekend.  While most of us aren’t foolhardy enough to think we can get the same results in that time, we still tend to overestimate our capabilities.

Winter is finally over, we have much pent-up energy and big plans.  We must balance these with the reality of busy weekends, occasional rainy weather and the possibility of a future wane to our enthusiasm.  Failing to do so can leave us with a half-finished projects sitting for weeks on end.

Action item:  Pace yourself.  Build an overall plan for your yard, but break your project into smaller autonomous projects.  Execute these manageable pieces one by one. 

The bottom line

Landscaping is a cost effective way to not only improve the look of your property but also its usability.  Spring may be new to us, but the mild weather will likely stick around.  By pacing yourself and avoiding three main pitfalls you can ensure your family will benefit from your spring projects throughout the year.