Build your fantasy landscape

January 18, 2014

It is the beginning of a new year – time again to dream big. Let your grandiose landscaping plans come to life in 2014.

What is your fantasy garden? Is it filled with blooming flowers? Or is it chock-full of edible veggies and herbs?

Perhaps your dream landscape is simple, low maintenance and less demanding of water supplies. Anything is possible in a new year, especially if you tackle projects in a logical sequence and in accordance with your allotted resources.

Planning is key.

First, assess your current landscape for its strengths and weaknesses.

Ask yourself if you have too much lawn, inadequate entertaining space, lack of privacy, etc. Perhaps the space is boring, without character or out of sync with your family’s current lifestyle. For example, a large lawn may require an inordinate amount of time and resources when you would rather travel, fish or spend time with the grandkids.

Decide on the elements you would like to include in your new landscape, such as a vegetable garden or a patio where you can grill and dine. Next, ask yourself what you can afford over five years and break your “wish list” into financially feasible projects for years one through five. Be sure to budget for contractors, equipment and permits.

Also, make a list of the existing features you would like to retain, such as a great view, a lovely shade tree, heirloom perennials and roses or hardscape, such as fencing, decks and walkways. Keep in mind that all the old and new elements should coordinate and function well in your future landscape.

When dividing your plan into steps or projects, do not forget how each change will affect what remains. For example, if a slope is added, water might run downhill and flood your perennials. Consider irrigation stations, maintenance concerns and daily use. Remember that a great landscape is an extension of your home and should be considered living space; so as you make changes, keep some space free for your enjoyment.

Plan for year-round beauty. One of the best ways to do this is to incorporate plants that provide seasonal color.

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