Greetings to all and many thanks to those who have ordered or are considering ordering our services; for those of your starting your landscape planning, this newsletter will have some good tips.
I received a disturbing phone call a couple weeks ago; a local resident wanted to know the “quickest and cheapest” way to install a new lawn. After some discussion, I learned that the area was quite large, the soil was sandy, and she was not planning to install an irrigation system – though I tried to emphasize the complexity of the project and the need to do it right the first time, I believe she heard what she wanted to hear and still hoped for good results cheaply…
Landscape Planning Errors
The NUMBER ONE ERROR I have observed in homeowner landscape planning is the underestimation of cost and effort required to achieve the desired results. This is understandable for several reasons: (1)the landscape planning knowledge required is not generally available, (2)there are relatively few qualified landscape contractors and (3)landscape installation is often the last step in new construction – after budget overexpenditures in other areas. Consider this national (U.S.) statistic: the average cost of a complete landscape installation is ten percent of the value of the home; often the only affordable way to complete the landscaping properly is to break it down into a two or three year project.
Landscape Planning step by step
The important point to grasp here is to DO IT RIGHT the first time; landscaping is hard work, expensive work – but very satisfying work for the long run, if done properly and enough time is devoted to landscape planning. Start with soil considerations: do you need to till in amendments, create land forms (hills or berms), trench for irrigation, install hardscapes (ponds, walks, etc.)? Perhaps this rough shaping could be the first year’s project – sometimes the planting plan will change after seeing the results of the major earth work. By taking one step at a time the homeowner will do a better job and be able to alter the details as the project takes shape. If you will be hiring an installation contractor to install your landscape, be sure to ask for references and check out the company’s previous jobs.
See our complete list of garden how-to articles here.
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About Dan Eskelson
Dan has had his hands in the soil for most of his adult life as a gardener, landscaping contractor, golf course superintendent and landscape designer. When the ground freezes, he builds websites, produces video and plays the hammered dulcimer. Full bio here.