Planning a new landscape project can be intimidating. Just like any project, it's important to set a budget, plan properly and take it in small steps.
- Set a budget
- Take small steps
First things first, set a budget.
Next, plan. This is the most tedious, time consuming and most important step.
How to Plan
A sketch of your property will help you visualize and put things into perspective. Take a few measurements, and include any large existing structures within your sketch. Next, start filling in the blank areas with the components of your landscape that are most important to you.
Follow the Plan
Now that you have a sketch in place of where everything will lay out, you can see how certain things will fit your space. This will also help determine which parts of the project have to be completed first and which ones can wait till later. From a contractors point of view, there is always a preferred order of operations. Unfortunately, the homeowner may not see things the same way. Budget and timing can get in the way quickly.
Choose your Priorities
An example of the preferred order to install from the contractors point of view:
- Landscape beds construction and planting
- Irrigation system
- Water feature
- Landscape lighting
- Lawn installation
However, the homeowner may not have the same vision (for any given reason). The above order does not have to be followed as long as the property owner is aware of a few things and the contractor is able to accommodate these things. Choose your priorities based on time of year, budget and personal preferences, so your contractor can plan and price your project accordingly. Keep these things in mind though:
Patio/Hardscaping: Usually require heavy equipment that need space to work, easy access to the job site, and could damage things like existing turf, landscape beds and irrigation systems.
Planting Beds: Also require equipment to move soil around the property and can sometime cause space restrictions and impede traffic flow around the worksite.
Irrigation System: Easiest to install before the turf is planted. Best to install after things like patio, deck, and hardscape. Requires certain things to be roughed in like water supply, conduits for future use under driveways, patios, and sidewalks.
Fencing: Can limit equipment access to the property. Your local city or HOA may have restrictions on size, shape, color, and location of the fence.
Water Features: Usually require a power supply, water supply and underground catch basin. Things like swimming pools or hot tubs may also need a gas line for a heat source to be trenched underground to the heater location.
Final Touches: Things like mulch, lighting, annual flowers are usually left until the end of the project.
Lastly, take small steps. Planning and executing a landscape project can be stressful and expensive. Eliminate unnecessary steps by taking things slowly.
Again, the above order of operations doesn't need to followed exactly, but the owner and contractor must be able to discuss and agree to a way to execute the plan to accommodate all of the project phases without one interfering too much with the other.