To make the most of your real estate, develop it to best suit your lifestyle. A development plan that encourages a happy engagement with your outdoor environment is the goal.
High-maintenance landscapes are for dedicated gardeners and plantaholics (and you know who you are!) who love to work in the yard.
Low-maintenance landscapes are for those who enjoy being outdoors and doing a bit of puttering.
No-maintenance landscapes are for those who will hire a professional maintenance company.
A seamless transition from your home's interior to its exterior is created when the architectural and interior design style — from line, shape and colors to textures and building materials — is echoed in the outdoor spaces.
You may not know a lot about plants yet, but you can start by making a list of plant attributes that you like. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Native to your region
- Drought tolerant
- Attracts birds and butterflies
- Colorful foliage (be specific)
- Deer resistant
- Showy flowers
- Autumn color
Before you get too carried away with the details of the project, be sure that you understand the parameters — don't think of them as limitations — that you have to work within. You'll save time and money in the long run if you deal with these issues up front:
- Your budget. How much are you comfortable spending now, or over the course of a few years, to implement the design? What are the long-term maintenance costs? It's always best to design to your comfort level.
- Homeowners association rules and regulations. These may range from minimum plant sizes to paint colors for garden structures to fence styles and placement.
- Zoning and building codes. These laws often focus on safety — when to put a rail on a deck, or the maximum height of a street-side fence, for example.
A simple consultation or coaching session with a landscape professional may be all you need to move forward with a small project. Larger, more complex projects, especially those that involve hardscape elements, will benefit from the knowledge and experience of design and construction experts.