A guide to landscape projects

There comes a time in every homeowner’s life when you wonder what to do next in your outdoor space. We see it with new homeowners. There are the ones who have finally gotten organized inside and have turned their attention to the landscape they inherited or the builder package that needs a little more…building. And we see it with homeowners who have busy lives and changing needs.

Maybe the grass on the south side isn’t holding up to kid traffic or the jungle gym space would make a nice patio. There’s never a shortage of projects, but there are shortcuts to deciding what comes first and what to do next.

This guide is based on the questions, projects and photos we see everyday, as well as the answers and landscape help we give homeowners.

WHAT CAN I DO MYSELF?

Create Landscape Beds (Edge & Mulch)

This is a project that takes little time and can actually end up saving you mowing and touch-up time. Create landscape beds around trees, utilities (just be sure not to hide your fire hydrant), mailboxes, lampposts and surrounding the exterior of your home and you add a layer of color and texture. You also help to hide your foundation or utilities and protect things like tree trunks and painted mailbox posts.

» Check here for some shortcuts when creating your beds. And when you’re ready to plant, check out our Guide to Planting and Care.

» Plus, check here to figure out how much mulch you’ll need.

Tackle Small Areas

Sometimes small changes can make a big difference, especially when you’re short on time, energy, budget or all three. That’s why we love curb appeal projects, designed to give you the biggest bang for the buck. Your neighbors and guests will notice, but the benefits are just as pleasing from your own patio or porch.

» Check out our 3 Plans for Quick Curb Appeal.

 Plant for Privacy

We love a nice fence as much as the next person, but sometimes a living green screen can do double duty. By choosing full, fast-growing trees and shrubs, you can add privacy and vibrant landscape interest. We also see homeowners who do both the fence (for small children or pets) as well as the green screen to soften the edges and add even more privacy.

» For good green screen planting choices and how to tackle the project, start here (Add a Green Screen).

Then bring in a photo and ask us for help any time.

Plant Trees, Shrubs & Perennials

Almost any time is a good time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials. If you can work the ground, you can plant. We tell homeowners to be sure to take extra care in the heat of summer, paying attention to water needs and waiting to transplant trees, shrubs and plants until spring or fall.

» Check here for our Top 10 Trees & Shrubs for small spaces or here for just some of your options.

» You can always bring in photos and ask someone in the garden center. Or schedule a Snapshot Gardening Consultation for one-one-one time with a landscape designer and personal plant recommendations.

» Check here when you’re ready to plant.

WHAT SHOULDN’T I DO MYSELF?

We’d never want to rain on anyone’s parade and tell you that you aren’t capable of just about anything! But sometimes the scope or skill of a project is beyond a mere mortal’s reach.

Generally, these are projects that require special training and/or a crew. In an effort to avoid injury and get the results you want, we recommend you seek professional landscape help with these:

Hardscapes

Many a homeowner has created a paver patio or retaining wall. It can be done. But a landscape crew will ensure your patio has a firm foundation of sand and gravel, that it allows for the thickness of your paver and that the finished surface is level and slightly elevated above ground level.

The crew will also already have some of the specialized tools, including a hand or power tamper, metal shears, a small sledgehammer, a rubber mallet, chisel or wet saw. They’ll also guarantee their work and are experts at the finishing touches that can make all the difference.

Large-scale Rehabs

If you’ve ever tried to split ornamental grasses or remove a dead shrub, you know it can be backbreaking work. Multiply that by 5 or 10 and you have a monster of a project on your hands.

We hear from homeowners all the time who have overgrown, outdated landscapes and they have no idea where to begin. This is when a professional can really be worth the investment.

» A landscape crew will have the experience, crew-power and tools to get the job done efficiently. They can also help you plan and install a fresh, new landscape with an At-Home Consultation.

» For small areas, when you do want to tackle things yourself, you can start with a Snapshot Gardening Consultation designed to give DIYers one-on-one time with a landscape designer and a gift card to get started finding your plant material.

Tree Removal

Unless it’s a tiny tree (and maybe even then), call a professional tree service. The list of things that could go wrong is long and dangerous, especially with neighbors, power lines/utilities, you and your home nearby.

» Please ask us if you need a recommendation.