Is a Landscape Design Plan For You?

Lavishly decorated and lighted white building with glass door has chairs and tables brilliantly arranged around it.

Garden House Plan Three by Brookfield Homes, Anaheim, Calif. Source: NewHomeSource Pinterest.

For many people, the idea of planning a what their landscaping will look like, or a landscape design, for their new home can seem a little too abstract and intimidating.

You may want a more inviting patio or an exotic array of plants, but accomplishing all of these goals at once might seem too overwhelming for you, or your wallet. NewHomeSource is here to recommend that you divide your landscape design plan into manageable phases that will respect your budget and make your new home's yard look perfect. 

Priorities List

New homeowners must decide what they truly want out of their backyards. Pablo Solomon, a professional artist and designer based in Austin, Texas, recommends considering what is most important to you. “Is entertaining most important to you – or is creating a serene space? Are you more interested in creating a natural-feeling environment or a safe play area for your kids? While none of these have to be mutually exclusive, it does help to prioritize your vision.”

It is essential to set realistic goals for yourself. If you’re on a budget, you need to decide which landscape improvements are necessary – and which are just desirable. Make a list of the projects that must be done so you can spend your money on the most appropriate things first. You can always add projects from your wish list when your budget frees up. 

Create a Budget

Set up a specific budget for each phase of your landscape design plan. Making ballpark estimates while shopping can result in you spending more than you had planned. 

Consult a Landscaper

You may or may not be planning on using a professional landscaper. Even if you want to save on costs by doing to the landscaping on your own, you may still want to consider consulting a landscaper. A one-hour session can cost as little as $50-$100. This session will allow you to ask any questions that you are unsure about and will help you avoid any serious landscape design mistakes. Also be sure to research any potential landscapers on through the 
Professional Landcare Network (PLANET).

Front Yard

It can be easy to focus so much on landscaping your backyard that you forget to think about your front yard. However, the first thing most people notice about your new house is the front yard. Consider allotting a small portion of your budget to sprucing up the front of your home. Purchase some flowers to line your front walk or driveway. Place a few shrubs along the front of your house or porch to help decorate its border a bit. Be sure that any landscaping changes you make to your front yard abide by homeowners association (HOA) rules.

Pool

If you plan on putting a pool in the backyard of your new house, put that project at the top of your list. By putting in the pool first, you avoid planting beautiful new flowers or designing your ideal patio only to have it all torn up in order to dig a space for your pool. Building the pool first will also ensure that no irrigation lines or underground sleeving is disturbed. Once the pool is in, you can design such wiring and irrigation around the pool. 

Fencing

A good fence around your lot can serve your new home in a variety of ways. It can provide security by surrounding your home, but in a decorative manner. A fence can also provide a bit of privacy and comfort. It should be a “top priority to install privacy elements such as fences and shrubs because it gives the homeowner that feel of their own private paradise,” says Cathy Stein, owner of Eclectic Designs in Dallas, Texas

Deck or Patio

You can make a deck its own phase, or you can even split it up into its several phases. If putting in a deck or patio all in one phase, make sure you plan it carefully. Proportion it correctly so that it does not take up more space than you intended. Still, consider whether you will be having large gatherings outside. If so, it needs to be expansive enough to host a large group of people. Additionally, make sure that if you want to be able to catch some sun while hanging out on the patio, it is not covered in too much of the shade created by your home, or conversely, that you have enough shade for gatherings. 

Plants and Flowers

The number of directions you can go with your choice of plants and flowers is infinite. Whether you want to create an intricate garden or just purchase a few statement plants, there are still some universal things to consider. Think about what kind of maintenance you want. Obviously, some plants require much more care and attention than others. Some plants may also have certain 
environmental obstacles — like requiring special soil or having weather restrictions — you should look into before planting. Once the rest of the landscaping is settled, you can get as creative as you want with your plant and flower choices. 

Outdoor Accessories

Fencing, decks and plants are the most fundamental part of your landscaping adventure. With the basics out of the way and paid for, you can add a plethora of accessories. Would you like a trellis or pergola to add to the beauty of your patio? Do you want to entertain people outside with an outdoor fireplace or even a full outdoor kitchen? Build up your budget and you can make your wildest landscape design dreams come true in the matter of a few well planned-out phases.

Kathleen Ashcraft is a contributor to NewHomeSource. You can find her on Google+.

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