Your home's landscaping makes up a central part of its character. Its personality. Costs for landscaping will hinge on the extent of your ambitions. Are you moving into a new home, working with a blank slate? Are you moving into an existing home and want the landscaping to reflect your style? Or are you revamping your own yards? Regardless of the starting point, start with the big questions before you even start thinking about designs: What do you want out of your landscape? Do you want to create more privacy and security? Do you want a landscape that requires little water or maintenance or do you want flower or vegetable beds that will keep your hands covered with dirt all spring, summer and fall?
Landscaping projects run the gamut. They can be as simple as having a small lawn with a few flower beds or as complicated as intricate rolling hills and pathways, with carefully chosen plants and trees. They could include decks, ponds, decorative concrete pathways, outdoor misting systems and even fountains and waterfalls. Continue Reading
Once you reach clarity about your landscaping ambitions, you should decide if this is a project you want to do on your own or whether you want help.
Landscape Architects and Other Pros
The key to a beautiful and successful landscape lies, in large part, in the planning. It can help you make the most of your landscaping dollars. Even those who like to do their own planting can find professional help on the planning stage immensely valuable. Going on your own, you might plant a bed of plants that require direct sun in a spot that's too shady, or, worse, plant a tree too close to your foundation, which can compromise its integrity when the roots grow out. Landscape architects and other landscape professionals can help you choose plants that play well together. One plant, for instance, can repel insects that would otherwise eat away at its neighbors. They also can help with creating the most interesting and beautiful designs that will say within your budget.
Keep in mind, while they can help you decide placement of a pond or the types of plants to purchase, some landscape designers will not help with the installation. Landscapers and groundskeepers can do the heavy lifting for you, and some of them can do general planning, though rarely at the level of landscape architects. You get what you pay for, so make sure you do your research and get references -- regardless of who you choose.
Landscape Surveyors are rarely needed but you should have a survey done anytime you have boundary changes or land division, ownership transfer, erection of fences or structures that are related to a property boundary.
Grading or Resloping
Water that doesn't drain correctly away from your home's foundation can cause water damage and moisture issues, such as mold and mildew, in your basement and crawlspaces. Even a little bit of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage. To protect your property, you must grade your yard away from your home's foundation.
Landscape grading can be carried out in various ways, but it is something that should be considered, if possible, in conjunction with your landscape design. In this way, your landscape can be created for both aesthetics and function, and drainage problems will be eliminated.
Synthetic Grass (Turf) or Xeriscaping
With droughts so common in many parts of the country, more landscape designers are creating projects that conserve water. Synthetic grass can provide the swaths of green you want without the watering. In the past decade, synthetic grasses have grown much softer and more natural looking
Another water-saving strategy is to xeriscape, which will require less water and maintenance. A xeriscaped landscape doesn't have to look like a desert. Carefully chosen shrubs, trees plants and flowers can provide vibrant, lush color as well as water conservation.
Both synthetic turf and xeriscaping can save you money over time by saving you water and labor.
Water Features and Decor
When adding features like a gazebo, pond, fountain, misting system or pond to your landscaping, make sure that you fully understand not only the installation cost but the cost of the supplies needed to build the project as well as the ongoing costs of energy and regular maintenance. For example, ponds need consistent maintenance so that they don't grow mold or mildew. If you live in an area where winters are harsh, you will have to either de-ice or empty your pond in the winter time. If you introduce aquatic plants or fish, that is even more of a maintenance cost. Thinking about all aspects of your water features and other décor will help you with your planning and the better you plan, the better prepared you are for unexpected costs.