While landscaping projects involve great effort and hard work, fortunately they aren’t rocket science. With good research and planning, you can conceive your dreamscape and find the right company to make it all possible. Home Artisans of Indiana member Wesley’s Landscape & Lawncare offers some things to think about when preparing for a landscaping project.
There are two categories in outdoor projects: hardscapes and softscapes. Hardscape projects aim to create outdoor living spaces that act as extensions of the home. These designs include building patios, fire pits, seating walls, retaining walls, stoves, outdoor kitchens and pergolas. Softscape projects renovate just the landscaping and plants.
All landscaping projects require research, planning, and finding a reliable contractor, but each undertaking has its own considerations as well.
To start, build up your ideas by gathering lots of information and making a rough plan. Visuals help your contractor make what you have in your head become a reality. The Indiana Flower and Patio Show, social media sites like Pinterest and Houzz, and home television shows are valuable resources for creative ideas. And, if you see something you like, take a picture!
Your next step is to hire a contractor to work out the final design. Some landscapers have a designer on their team, while some bring in an independent designer. Either way, your best bet is to choose a reputable company. Ask friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations. Search online for companies with good reviews and accessible information. Try to find pictures of other work and projects they have done in the recent past. Before hiring any company, check for proper ICPI certifications and licenses. These documents ensure the contractor will have the best practices for such things as the correct digging methods and using the right building materials.
Taking into account the complexities of a hardscape project, it is worth a small investment in an initial design plan. Depending on what you are looking to achieve, these outdoor spaces can many times require a significant investment. Paying your landscape designer to create a design plan can help ensure you are spending your money wisely.
For softscapes, we suggest you bring in your landscaper early. A beautiful outdoor look takes planning to ensure all plantings will work together. Your landscaper should be an expert in plants, helping you choose which species work best for your yard. They can give you a warranty on plants if they buy them for you. They can also supply gardening tips and watering techniques. You will get a better product in the end by working with your landscaper from the start. Many softscapes can be planned with a mere sketch. If you have a more elaborate scheme in mind for your yard, it may be nice to have a professionally drawn design.
To research for a softscape, you’ll want to focus on your plant choices. Find out what foliage you like and dislike, what colors you prefer, and what fragrances you enjoy. Remember that not all flora can grow locally. The United States has been grouped into “hardiness zones” based off of temperatures to determine which plants are most likely to thrive in different regions. Indiana is in hardiness zones 5 and 6. Plants that can most likely grow in your yard will be in comparable zones, not the far south in zones 8 and 9. You might also want to consider plants that are deer resistant, as many gardeners and homeowners have had problems with these animals eating particular trees and shrubs.
Regardless of the kind of project you are embarking upon, it is important to get an early start. Most reputable companies will be booked out 4-6 weeks during peak season (April-June), and the planning process takes time. Whether you are expanding your living space to the outdoors, or just sprucing up your yard, landscaping is always an exciting project full of possibilities.