Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Do-It-Yourself Landscape Part #1 Design Goals

When you first decide to tackle that landscape project you may want to gather your thoughts before you grab a shovel.

First thing to consider is what are your design goals?
Some goals may be:
  • Curb Appeal
  • Re-Sale
  • Add Function
  • Update
  • Fix Problems
Remember the old Saying "Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative"
That is the best way to describe adding CURB APPEAL.
Some of the most noticeable and usually needed element are adding or revamping walkways, especially if you have been stuck with the original builders idea of a walkway that is barely wide enough to walk on or lacks function or creativity.

When adding plants or other design elements look at the Architecture and Style of the house. Victorian style house you may choose a more pyramidal style tree such as a Linden or Cleveland Select Pear. For a Modern style house, a more round tree may work better like Ginnala Maple, or Hawthorn.

Another Design Goal may be for Resale. In this case you will want the maximum return for the least investment. Simply replacing overgrown shrubs with smaller versions, getting rid of the out of style junipers, and most of all eliminate all weeds. Irrigation systems are one of the best investments for your landscape, and despite the typical cost of $2000-7000 you will get that money back when you sell.

Keep the plants to a minumum but remember to add color and texture. Not every potential buyer will appreciate a large perennial garden especially if they are looking for low maintenance. Keep the design with simple clean lines that flow, you may want to invest in some select larger specimen plants by the doors or patios.

A third design goal may be to add Function to your landscape. This may be a Courtyard, a Circular Driveway, Patio, BBQ, or any element that will improve your enjoyment of the property.
Typically these are larger ticket items and unlike most landscape improvements will not have as great of return on investment.

Another design goal may be to fix problems. Especially removing those old junipers, replacing a decaying timber wall, or thin out overgrown plants.

The Last design goal may be to Fix Problems. These are the problems that you must address or the issues will cost more in the long run, and could possibly cause other major issues. 90% of the time this will involve drainage issues, keeping water away from the foundation is always need to be a consideration in every landscape project no matter how big or small.

I have seen many "Landscapers" install berms for a decorative feature, but the homeowners soon find that they have disrupted the flow of drainage and now have a water feature where the flow of drainage has been stopped.

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