Landscaping Do's and Don'ts
A certain hardware store has a commercial out now that features homeowners vowing not to get involved in lawn projects that will take all summer. What I like about the ad is that it's so true for some of us -- somehow planting a few flowers morphs into a yard makeover that takes months to complete. And you've shelled out big bucks. Was it worth it?
Now, I'm not saying there isn't value in a well-manicured lawn -- there is. But there are smart ways to spend your landscaping dollars, and not-so-smart ways. Here are tips from landscape designers and architects I've interviewed in the past:
-- Keep it simple and do it well rather than spread a budget over a lot of features that are halfway done.
-- Get a design if you're on a limited budget, then prioritize -- go in order of implementation. Start with a patio (because it adds the most value and has the most impact), then irrigation, then landscaping.
-- Work with the environment you have and use native plants because they are less expensive to maintain.
-- Buy quality, even if it means buying less.
-- Buy used a swing set for the kids because it won't be used that long and don't justify the cost of a new one.
-- Don't do anything you don't have the time or money to maintain.
-- Don't focus on the backyard before the front. Create curb appeal first.
-- Don't spend money on things you won't use (concrete curbing, lawn ornaments).
-- Don't spend a lot of money on landscape lighting. A little goes a long way, and lots of lights require more maintenance and expense.
-- Don't overplant. Confine your planting to one area rather than several because it will be easier to maintain.
-- Don't build an outdoor kitchen if you live in a cold environment because you'll be able to use it only one season.