If you’re at home, look out your window. Are you happy with the landscape you see? If not, this guide to landscaping for beginners can help you implement the landscape designs of your dreams.
When homeowners start learning about landscaping, they no longer have to settle for a property that’s “alright” or “livable.” Instead, landscaping lets you love your backyard and can increase the curb appeal of your home, too.
What is Landscaping?
People often think of gardening when they think of landscaping. But, in truth, gardening is only a small subset of landscaping.
Landscaping is the act of making physical modifications to a piece of land to improve it. Improvements can be either practical or aesthetic, so that’s pretty all-encompassing.
Putting in a new flower garden is landscaping. However, so is building a patio, planting a tree and installing an in-ground pool.
Types of Landscaping Features
You’ll face very few limits when it comes to the number of different landscaping features in which you can invest. While it’s good to have options, too many can get overwhelming quickly. Here are some of the most popular ones to give you an idea of where to begin.
A new flower bed might be exactly what you need to brighten up your yard. We recommend creating depth by placing taller plants in the back and shorter ones in front. In addition, a mix of flowers that will bloom during different seasons ensures year-round color.
A healthy, verdant lawn ties the rest of your landscaping features together. Unfortunately, keeping your lawn green is challenging. Watering frequently, using the right fertilizer and keeping the weed population down can all help.
Shrubs are a great way to provide year-round color in your yard. We do mean year-round, too.
Lilacs or azaleas bloom in the spring. Hydrangeas provide a variety of blooms in the summer. Fothergilla bushes have beautiful foliage in the fall, as do other bushes. You can even have color in the winter with red twig dogwood bushes.
Flowering trees herald the arrival of spring. Because they’re so much larger than shrubs and other plants, flowering trees can quickly become the stars of your landscaping. After a long Ohio winter, you’ll love seeing the first spring blooms.
The phrase “foundation plantings” refers to the plants placed around the base of your home. The practice of using them started to hide visible concrete from a house’s foundation. While construction methods have changed, and that’s now less of an issue, the habit stuck.
Shrubs are the usual choice because they’re low maintenance and attractive. They can help soften the lines of your home and make it feel more welcoming.
Would you believe that your driveway is part of your landscaping? It’s true! A well-maintained driveway makes a massive difference in your home’s external appearance. Snow removal is also much easier when you’re working with a smooth surface.
Taking a stroll through your garden is one of the best ways to enjoy your landscaping during the warmer months. So rather than potentially trampling delicate plants or wading through mud, why not install a walkway? Whether you’re using stone for a rustic look or brick for a more modern landscaping design, it’s sure to wow.
Fences and Retaining Walls
A beautiful home with a white picket fence is part of the American dream. With the proper landscaping, it can be part of your reality. Plenty of fencing options are available. You will be able to find one that fits your style no matter what.
A retaining wall is an equally practical investment, if not more so. If there’s a hill near your home, a retaining wall can help prevent erosion. When styled correctly, it can be an aesthetic improvement to your property as well as a practical one.
Fountains are one of the best ways to take your landscaping to the next level. The wide selection of stones and finishes available to you means that they’re highly customizable, too. Whether you want to create a moment of tranquility or a focal point for your garden, fountains are the answer.
If the fountain you install is part of a pond, consider turning the entire area into a water garden. Aquatic plants will add variety and visual interest to a pond or other water feature. Homeowners frequently choose water lilies, in particular, for their beautiful appearance.
How to Avoid Pricey Landscaping Mistakes
Mistakes are often a necessary part of the learning process. However, some of them can be expensive. The cost of landscaping mistakes adds up quickly. This is especially true when you take into account what they might do to your home value.
Implementing the right landscaping ideas can increase the resale value of your home by up to 15 percent. When you’re dealing with prices in the hundreds of thousands, that’s a considerable sum.
The landscaping choices you make matter from a long-term financial perspective. It’s better to avoid mistakes entirely rather than being forced to learn from them. The two best ways to avoid making mistakes are doing your research and hiring landscaping experts.
Research ensures that you’re up to date on the latest trends in real estate. Hiring thoroughly vetted landscaping professionals means you’ll have their experience to draw on, which can be valuable.
An expert landscaper will be talented and highly skilled. The work they do will be of the best possible quality.
The Best Places to Find Great Landscaping Ideas
Some of the genuinely unique landscapes many of us admire require three factors: time, money and inspiration. Unfortunately, inspiration is often the most challenging to come by, so we put together a few ideas:
Landscaping and gardening magazines contain a wealth of information.
If you have a friend or neighbor whose landscaping you admire, ask them about it. Most people are delighted to talk about their backyard ideas.
Use any real estate connections you have. Agents have their fingers on the pulse of landscaping trends. Instead of asking an agent, look at current home listings.
Take advantage of technology by searching for garden images online. Try searching for landscape images too. Different keywords will net different results.
Reach out to professional landscaping services for consultations. This can help you get to know your options for hiring one later on.
The part of landscape design that makes it challenging is the sheer number of options you have. Spending the time to familiarize yourself with current trends and your preferences narrows them down.
Before you can do anything else, you should decide what you need your space to do for you. For example, does it need to be child or pet-friendly? Ensure none of the plants in your garden are toxic when ingested and water features aren’t easily accessible.
From there, decide what you want. For example, maybe you want space for entertaining or room to grow your own produce. Even if you don’t necessarily need something, prioritize it if you want it.
Landscaping is about making your space work for you.
Evaluate Your Space
A lot of landscaping depends on natural forces outside your control. The sun is the main factor you’ll need to consider. Wind and water are close behind it.
Consider how you currently use your yard, then how you’d like to use it. Do you need a wind block? What about a pavilion to keep the sun and rain at bay?
If you’ve been in your home for a while, you’re probably already familiar with your yard. However, if you have recently moved to a new location, it can be helpful to get to know it. Make a note of how conditions change over the course of a day.
It’s also helpful to see your property in different weather conditions. Do you end up with two inches of standing water after it rains? Here at Exscape Designs, we’re big proponents of proper drainage systems. If that’s what you see, you might need one.
Don’t Overthink It
As human beings, we tend to overcomplicate things. Landscaping is no exception. Have you ever noticed a trail worn into the grass near a perfectly good sidewalk?
The trail is likely following a more direct path. Whether it was at a public park or in your own backyard, that means a redesign could improve the landscaping.
Apply the same principle to the rest of your landscaping. Enjoying it should be intuitive, not frustrating.
Look at the Big Picture
When designing a beautiful landscape, you need to consider the area in which the property exists. Your design could be technically perfect, but it won’t be attractive if it clashes with the view or the neighborhood.
Creating pretty landscapes means looking at the big picture. Your yard doesn’t exist in a bubble, and outside factors will affect its appearance.
Incorporate Your Favorite Plants
Do you have a favorite flower? Maybe you like daffodils or tulips for the fact that they bloom so early. Perhaps you’re drawn to lilacs, peonies or roses because you like their scent. It’s also possible that you have fond memories attached to a type of flower.
Whatever the case, your garden should make you happy to look at and spend time near. We recommend incorporating your favorite plants, whether you love them for their flowers or foliage.
Unfortunately, landscaping doesn’t spring into being fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. Plants, shrubs and trees need time to mature. Inorganic elements like wood and stone might look better after a year or more of weathering.
All this means is that you’ll need to have patience. Any landscape designer will tell you it’s a frustrating but necessary part of the process.
If you’re feeling impatient, start researching and contacting design firms sooner rather than later. The sooner you begin the process, the sooner it’s over. Then, you’ll have the landscaping you want.
Our final piece of advice is to welcome change. That might be even more difficult than having patience, but it’s crucial.
Your life will never stand still, and your landscaping will reflect that. So whether your family is growing or you’re retiring, what you need from your backyard landscaping will change.
That’s alright. It’s okay to let go of preconceived ideas of perfection, particularly when they’re no longer the best option.
Are you located in the greater Cleveland area or the northeast part of Ohio? If so, Exscape Designs is here to help you with all of your landscaping needs. Whether you want a new flower bed or an outdoor kitchen, we can make it happen.
We’re dedicated to making your landscaping dreams a reality. Our highly skilled team acts with integrity, professionalism and accountability to make that happen.
Contact us today to start a conversation and set up an initial consultation. We can’t wait to hear from you.
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