Take advantage of this time in the med to late fall when trees are bare and plants are dormant, to analyze your property and think about what landscape decisions will truly make you happy. Planning your landscape project this winter will lead to a glorious summer next year as you enjoy your exciting new outdoor living space.
When you first bought your house, did you walk through the empty rooms and visualize what it would look like once fully decorated? Did you enjoy having a blank canvas to work with so your personal dreams and style could truly take hold?
Now, with the winter fast approaching, it’s a great time to do the same thing with your landscape.
Take Advantage of a Cozy Fire
You may want to start your planning while simply relaxing by your cozy fireplace. Enjoy your time as you leaf through favorite home and garden magazines and visit the Sponzilli residential landscaping projects portfolio for inspiration and ideas. Watch different landscaping shows and think about what truly delights you.
Walk Your Property
Once you’ve entertained new possibilities, it’s time to stroll through your property. Take notes during your walk to capture your on-the-spot inspirations.
As you walk around your yard, think about:
- Does part of your property offer a favorite view? That may be a great place for a gazebo.
- Do you feel serene in a certain location? This could be a prime spot for a private patio for reading and quiet conversations.
- Do certain areas in the yard naturally lend themselves to a specific activity? Maybe that level area off in the corner is an ideal place for your child’s new swing and playset.
As you get the answers to these and other questions, your plans for your yard will take shape.
The ideas you jot down during your walk can work as a starting point for conversations with your landscape designer.
Contact a Landscaper Who Specializes in Residential Landscape Design
Now that your ideas are flowing, and you’re starting to recognize your true “wants” for your outdoor living space, contact a local landscaper who specializes in professional local architecture and planning.
A talented residential landscape designer will be brimming with additional ideas or problem-solving outdoor solutions you haven’t thought of.
Your landscape designer will create a residential design plan for your entire property; it will include all the items you want included in your outdoor living space.
The designer can also show you how to break up the project into phases. Perhaps phase one will involve a patio and garden paths, along with new electricity and water lines. Then phase two could include the addition of a swimming pool, deck area, and outdoor lighting.
The key is to have a master plan in place from the start. This doesn’t mean you can’t amend it, but having a master plan will prevent you from haphazardly building hardscaping projects that will need to be torn up during phase two.
Imagine the frustration (not to mention wasted dollars) of having to destroy a one-year-old patio so that they can run new electric lines for outdoor lighting in year two.
Lock Down Your Budget
Now it’s time to complete your budget. This will prevent any disappointment or frustration in the future.
Your landscape architect will help come up with realistic numbers so you know how much things will actually cost.
Then, determine how much money you want to and realistically can devote to your landscaping project. Perhaps money is no object, and you want everything done as soon as possible. That’s great.
Or perhaps, you want to dedicate “x” amount of dollars each year, for several years, to get your dream outdoor living space with pool. That’s great too!
There’s no right or wrong—it’s all about what works best for you.
Since you’re planning early, if you like, you’ll also have time to research how much money you can get from a home equity loan. And you’ll have time to get the loan secured before your landscaper breaks ground in the spring.
Get Onto Your Landscaper’s Spring Schedule
Now you’re ready to book your landscaping service and set your desired start time. Since you’re ahead of the spring crowd, you’ll be much more likely to get the start time you want. And the earlier your project starts, the sooner it’s completed, leaving more time to enjoy it next year.
Get Materials Before the Spring Rush
Once you set a start date, your landscaper can order items needed for your new outdoor living space. This may include plants and trees or hardscaping materials. Ordering early will ensure that the yearly spring rush doesn’t delay your order—which in turn could derail your project.
Uh Oh ... Don’t Forget Permits!
Your municipality most likely requires that you get town permits before certain outdoor construction or landscaping work begins. They also require permits for electric, water, or gas line changes or additions.
If you wait for the spring rush, you’ll probably be in for weeks of waiting. Many things can make the process take longer than you thought it would or should. Do yourself a favor and beat the spring rush. Apply for all your permits early so you won’t have to reschedule your start date due to permit delays.
If you live in a townhouse community, your Homeowners Association will also need time to issue their project approvals or permits.