If you’re at the beginning stages of revamping your landscape, there’s a chance you’ve probably looked out on your yard and thought to yourself, “Who needs a landscape design? I can tackle this entire project without wasting my time on something like that.”
What you may not realize at the time is that there are countless factors that go into a good landscape design. Many of them seem insignificant at first, but they could wind up having a huge impact on how you work with your landscape in the future, or even how much money is spent on your entire project.
The Importance Of A Landscape Design
It’s important to understand the limitations of your yard before you begin your work. Is the space large enough to do what you want? Will it accommodate growing plants? Is there really enough space for that patio? How does the grade of the ground affect your visions of the perfect backyard?
Did you know that permits are often required for outdoor projects? In order to obtain permits, you need a drawn-out landscape design to present for approval. Almost all municipalities require permits for patios, walkways, decks, and retaining walls.
And no, the permits aren’t needed so that your municipality can decide that your design looks good enough to be put up in your neighborhood. They’re actually required for environmental reasons: building impervious surfaces (walkways, patios, pools, sheds, etc.) affects stormwater runoff.
Not only do you run the risk of being told to tear down everything you’ve worked so hard to build, but there are countless other issues you could run into down the road if you don’t take the time to plan things out first.
A Few Examples
Piecing your landscape together is like piecing together a puzzle. If someone hands you a stack of puzzle pieces without the box for reference, you might have a general idea of what the puzzle will look like in the end, but you won’t have a clear picture of the finished product, nor will you be able to come up with the best way to make that happen.
Here are a few examples how a seemingly simple project can ruin your landscape and cost you thousands, if you attempt to tackle the puzzle without a clear landscape design:
All Fenced In
You want a fence so you can let your dog out in the yard and not worry about it escaping.
You hire a fencing company to install the fence, without considering the patio project you wanted to complete next summer, or the landscaper who comes and cuts your grass a couple times a month. Suddenly, that single 4′ gate you thought was all you needed forces your landscaper to charge you more money, since his riding mower won’t fit and he now has to spend more time finishing the job with his push mower.
When it finally comes time to install that patio, you realize that sections of entire fence now have to be removed and reinstalled to fit the excavator and the rest of the installation equipment. That is, unless you want the entire project to be completed with shovels and wheelbarrows.
Lighting The Path
You put in a new walkway leading to your front door. The beautiful new stone pavers look great and really clean up the look of your yard, but six months later when the days get shorter and the sidewalks get slicker, you realize it’s nearly impossible to see where you’re going when you come home from work every night.
Think back to last summer when you installed that gorgeous new walkway. Did you think ahead and install a few conduits under the path? A few dollars worth of pipe goes a long way in saving hours of labor to tunnel under the walkway to install landscape lighting to enhance the safety and security of your home.
Two years ago, you were struggling with drainage issues in your backyard. The problems were resolved when you hired someone to install an extensive underground drainage system.
Fast forward to present day and you’re looking to install a pool. For the pool to be installed where you want it, all the previously installed piping for the drainage system needs to be moved.
You’ll also run into continuity issues when you start your landscape project with one contractor, move on to a second, and finish with a third. Dissimilar materials, plants that don’t look good together, drainage that doesn’t work…the list of problems goes on and on.
A good landscape design is simply a road map for developing your property into the space you want it to be – one that functions for your family, one that you can entertain in, and one that will add to the value of your home or business.
So start putting your wish list and vision together now. That way, when you finally sit down with a designer, they can put together a plan that makes sense for today and the future. A little money invested in a professional landscape design now will reward you with the landscape you’ve dreamed about and could wind up saving you thousands of dollars (and headaches) later.
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