Beautiful landscaping increases the property value of your home. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recommends that you invest 10 percent of your home’s value in landscaping. This investment in your property’s appearance can grow to 20 percent of your home’s value. This is certainly an area you do not want to neglect!
The first decision to make is whether you want to do this project yourself, or hire a professional landscaping company like Behnke’s Design and Landscape. There are a few things to consider before making such a decision:
1. Your experience with landscaping.
2. The size of the project. Larger projects can become very complex in both the staging of materials and installation.
3. Your understanding of how plants work together in the landscape. Using seasonal color, texture, form, and size in contrasting and complementary fashions creates balance and harmony.
4. Your understanding of technical landscaping aspects such as proper grading to avoid drainage problems.
5. How your lifestyle affects landscaping choices: e.g., outdoor living space requirements; areas for your children to play in; and the time you have available for maintenance.
6. The amount of time and energy you have to devote to your project.
If you are more “hands-on” and desire to do the project on your own, research the plants best suited for your needs. Many books, articles and websites can help you. Go to behnkes.com first! Make sure to note alternate plant suggestions, since not every plant you initially fancy will be available or suitable for your conditions.
Of course if you visit Behnke’s garden centers, our staff will help with your selections. There are many other factors that influence landscape design. One of the most important is the protection of your home through proper grading. Improper grading leads to water drainage issues that can damage your home.
This in turn can cost you more in repairs than it would have to hire a landscape professional from the start. A well-planned landscape is pleasing to the eyes and enhances the value of your property, while incorporating your ideas and needs; however, planning a landscape is not merely arranging plants on your property. You should have a written plan, which at the very least entails a design or sketch of the placement of the plants in the yard. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas. Have fun creating your own design!
This design should include:
1. Structural elements- such as walkways, patios or pergolas
2. Shade and flowering trees
3. Planting beds
4. Foundation shrubs and plants
5. Other landscape elements such as ponds, fountains, outdoor lighting or irrigation.
If you decide to have Behnke’s design your landscape, work closely with the designer. The more of your personal expectations and preferences you communicate to the designer, the more satisfied you will be with the resulting design. In any case, remember the design is the base map for your final landscape but don’t be concerned if some tweaking is required during the actual installation due to real site conditions.
After you have a final design, it is time to implement this plan! If you do not have the funds to finish your entire design at once, phasing in your design is fine. Begin with the structural and grading elements of the project. Follow with your shade trees, then the backyard, and finish with the planting of the foundations and the front yard.
Of course there is nothing more exciting for Behnke’s Design and Landscape clients than to see their landscape transformed in a few days’ time rather than the months it would take to complete a do-it-yourself project. Whatever you decide, remember autumn is an excellent time—and in many cases the best time—to create the beautiful landscape of your dreams.
By Sarah Mann
(From Behnkes Gardenews Fall 2008 Newsletter)