Landscaping Tips – Avoid Making These Mistakes
Landscaping can be a daunting task for many people, which is one of the reasons it is the home improvement project that often gets left until last. When there is finally a break in the weather and it’s time to turn your attention to the exterior of your property, budgets are often more or less depleted, so it’s important to nail the landscaping process.
In many cases, many homeowners believe one way to save on the budget is by forgoing a professional landscaper. But in doing so, they’re more likely to make mistakes, which can become more costly than hiring a professional in the first place. If you are set on going the DIY route, here are five mistakes to avoid at all costs.
- Trying to do too much on your property
With all the design ideas and implementation that exists out there, remember that the outdoor living space needs to be elegant and balanced. Trying to shoehorn in all of your ideas can make the space look overdone, crowded and gaudy. In most cases, depending on your neighbourhood, it is often best for long-term enjoyment and re-sale value to go with a simple, classy design that will be the most accepted.
In addition the to your yard’s aesthetics, you must also consider ergonomics. There might not be space to add the undercover patio, garden shed AND ornate pond you had your heart set on. Function is also extremely important here. Always make sure there is enough room in between landscape features for pets, and to navigate things like wheel barrows and playground equipment, should you be considering adding to the family down the road.
- Not identifying what and where you can build on your property
Even if you’ve been living on your property for many years now and know just about everything there is to know within your property lines inside and out, things can change in an instant, especially if you live in a neighbourhood that is under development. You never know if an alleyway is destined to butt up against those fruit trees you just planted.
It would be a shame to invest money on a beautiful landscape design only to find out later that the city or services will be working in your area and damaging your new installation. It is always best to clear the most elaborate designs with the city before getting started, or at the very least learn if there are any bylaws in your area that would restrict such things as pools, over-height fences and/or free-standing structures such as sheds.
- Failing to keep the outdoor climate in mind
Landscape features that look good on television and in magazines might not be suitable for areas like Ottawa that get a lot of snow and frequently reach temperatures below zero in the winter. For example, in Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley, you should avoid the mistake of using stamped concrete. Our climate is not a conducive area for this style of landscaping. The freeze-thaw process, as well as the de-icing methods used by the city, can damage this material, resulting in costly repairs in a short period of time. And, since the concrete is generally coloured, any repairs will stick out like a sore thumb since they might not match the tint or colour of the existing stones.
- Believing you can achieve a zero-maintenance outdoor living space
While it’s true that there are some aspects to landscape design that require less maintenance than others, due to the power of weather and circumstances beyond your control, there will always be a measure of maintenance to your outdoor landscaped space. The important thing is to accept and find ways to manage the amount of reasonable time it may take you to maintain your project. A landscape design and build professional will be able to suggest materials and features that will require less maintenance overall, but you’ll still be required to, at the very minimum, pressure wash a stone walkway, for example.
- Not building for the future
In many cases, your dream outdoor living space may have to be done in many phases over a long period of time. By building for the future, or keeping the additional phases of the project in mind, you can save yourself from having to take apart and reinstate a finished portion of your overall plan. Staying organized by pre-planning will definitely save you money in the long run.
Now that you know what NOT to do, here are some easy DIY landscaping tips on how to improve your space.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that come into play when it’s time to address your backyard oasis. Avoid the above mistakes and you should be fine. If you need any help in any of the above areas, Ottawa Home and Garden would be pleased to take a walk-through of your property and offer some suggestions. We are a design and build landscaping firm that specializes in outdoor transformations that are carried out with the future in mind. Contact Us today for a free estimate!