Spring is just a month away which means many homeowners are having thoughts about their lawn and garden. But if you’re already giving your landscape a serious look, Dean would like to challenge you to think beyond fresh fertilizer and flowers and question if this is the year you redraw the lines and reimagine your landscape altogether.

Five good reasons to rethink your landscape:

  1. Irrigation lines are shallow and easy to run. Please still call 811 before you dig.
  2. Landscape lighting is low voltage, safe and simple.
  3. Planter beds and pathways are relatively easy to remove.
  4. There are plant sizes to fit every budget.
  5. Existing landscape is almost always arbitrary and easy to edit.

Key Components

Softscape

  • Lawn – turf or ground cover, native or exotic
  • Planting beds – how many varieties, sizes, tiers, blooming cycles
  • Trees – growth speed, deep watering techniques, shape, size, color
  • Hedges – “green” walls and fences

Hardscape

  • Driveways – best decisions to reduce the large expense
  • Pathways – the shortest distance to a good design is usually NOT a straight line
  • Patios – where and why?

Boundaries

  • Fences – height, purpose, degree of privacy
  • Gates – building a sag-free gate
  • Walls – garden, retaining, privacy

Most common redesign mistakes

  • Not thinking in 3 dimensions
  • Not planning for proper drainage

Design Do’s and Don’ts

The REAL challenges are not technical issues like how to glue a PVC irrigation line together, or how to plant a tree, or clip a pathway lamp onto a lighting circuit. The REAL challenge is helping folks understand how to approach the design.

Don’t start with budgets … Dreaming is FREE. The best way to honor a budget is to discover what you really, really want.

Don’t start with details … They’re a mental trap! Most people are uncomfortable with “unknowing” and so they feel better chasing down a line of details.

Do begin with a wish list … not of details but of desired experiences.

Do always begin with First Principles:

  • Landscape an extension of home design – Don’t ask how big the lawn should be or where do we plant the roses. Ask what ROOMS will we create in the yard? What destinations? What halls will we travel to get there? What doors will we walk through and what will their walls and floors and ceilings be like?
  • Outdoor living is an extension of indoor life. What windows and vistas and views are we creating to enjoy while we’re still inside?
  • Don’t just fill up space. Create something intended to MOVE you emotionally.
  • Don’t be afraid to flip the script by bringing green close to the house and hardscape destinations farther away.
  • Do try erase the arbitrary lines that others have drawn and begin with your own blank canvas.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

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