Don’t let the winter just slip by. Use this time productively and wisely for winter planning for spring landscaping projects.
If you feel like the summer was just here, you’re not alone. And before we all know it, spring flowers will be in bloom.
Before you know it, summer will be here again, and all the good landscapers will be booked for the season.
A Blank Canvas
Are you thinking, “Trees are bare, flowerbeds are empty, and shrubs are frozen in place—what can I possibly do about improving my landscape now?”
The answer is “plan.”
Eleanor Roosevelt, our longest serving First Lady, once said, “It’s takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” Stop wishing for a better back yard—start planning now!
Think of your back yard as a blank canvas. Grab a pencil and paper and walk your property. Without the summer distractions of leafy trees and colorful flower beds, you’ll gain a new perspective on your property.
It will be easier to visualize what your landscape can look like.
Maybe you’ll discover that the far corner of the back yard is a great place for a serene rock garden or ornamental grasses. Or you might enjoy walking through your backyard so much that you realize you’d love a meandering garden pathway.
Take time to assess which plants are contributing to the landscape and which don’t work. Are some trees visibly overgrown? Do you want to include different plants in your landscape?
Now is also a good time to have a landscaper assess your tree and shrub health. Treat or remove damaged or diseased plants.
Finally, do a rough sketch of the dreams you have for your backyard.
Time is on Your Side
No one likes to be rushed—particularly when planning a big project. That’s when you make mistakes and waste money. Careful planning is the key to success—especially when it comes to landscape design.
Search Online and Magazines for Ideas
Now’s the time to search online, browse magazines, and watch some home improvement shows. Find out which landscape design ideas appeal to you the most.
Set Your Budget
Before you go further, take the time to prepare a realistic budget. This will let you know:
- How much you can afford to do now
- Whether you should break your project up into phases
- If more money is required, does a loan make sense
Also, consider whether you are doing the project yourself, or want to hire a landscape architect or a landscape designer.
Talk to a Landscape Architect
The early winter is the best time to meet with a landscape architect. It’s the slowest time of a landscaper’s schedule so they can give your budding project the full attention it needs. In the spring, landscapers’ calendars are full for many weeks in advance.
And landscape design services might be available at much better rates in these early winter months. For certain, they won’t be as busy.
A landscape designer can:
- Talk to you about your ideas for your specific property
- Offer new ideas or solutions you didn’t think of
- Tell you which trees/shrubs/flowers will thrive on your property
- Present ballpark costs for different options
- Create a complete landscape design
- Tell you practical ways to break up your project into manageable phases
Order Plants and Materials Early
Early winter planning can give you a head start on selecting and purchasing plants and materials. And it will give you ample time to get on your landscaper’s spring schedule. This will ensure your place and probably save you money.
It’s wise to place early orders at nurseries—before supplies run out. If you want an early spring start to your project, avoid the disappointment of learning you can’t get your order filled and delivered in time.
But, when your requirements are nailed down, your plans are completed and your materials are ready, your outdoor project can start as soon as weather allows. This means you’ll have lots more time this year to enjoy your new outdoor space. And any new plantings will have time to grow and flourish before the weather gets hot.
Plan Your Landscape in Phases
Landscaping in phases can be a great idea. Once you have your final plan, you can figure out if it makes sense.
Many people choose to landscape in phases because it:
- Fits in with their budget
- Allows an opportunity to amend or enhance the next phase
- Provides that seasonal work occur at the best time
When prioritizing phases:
- Think about what you want to have done first
- Consider your budget
- Consider the best times to plant perennials, transplant trees, or seed lawns
Are you thinking, “I’ll just plan one section of the back yard now and then revisit it later.” This can be a costly mistake.
Here’s one example of why you want to start with a well thought out landscape plan.
Let’s say you decide to first create a beautiful patio paver area. Then, next year you realize you want to put lighting around the patio or add a water feature or outdoor kitchen. This means electric and water lines both need to be run. You have to destroy part of the new patio to run the necessary electricity lines and water pipes.
Planning definitely pays! And consulting with a professional is always wise.
Expand Your Home with Outdoor Living Space
One of the major trends in home ownership is to expand living and entertaining spaces to the outdoors.
Enhancing your outdoor living space will make you and your family excited about spending time in your backyard, and it will appeal to homebuyers should you put your house on the market.
An outdoor living space can provide:
- More room for entertaining
- Quiet areas for relaxing
- A new kitchen space
- Room for kids to play
A place for alfresco dining
Time to Get Permits and Approvals
Avoid having your project derailed by missing building permits. Even the addition of a simple patio or deck can require a permit.
Once again, the key is to plan early. Visit your town hall, get all the information you need, and apply for all necessary permits. Getting permits early will help ensure that your project starts and finishes on schedule.
Once the spring rush begins, it can take many weeks (even well over a month) to get the permits you need for outdoor projects. A professional landscaper will know what permits you need and assist with the process.
Plan early this winter and enjoy your new outdoor space earlier this spring!
At Landscape Solutions, we offer complete landscape design, installation, and maintenance. Contact us so we can help make your dream landscape a reality.