Landscaping – How to Start

In the modern era the backyard or front yard is no longer just a yard. Today’s outdoor spaces are designed with outdoor living in mind. The modern backyard or front yard is an extension of our home.

Where to start your landscape project can be a daunting task. The first step is to list what you consider to be the important functions of your outdoor space in order of priority, this will help you decide on a focal point. Here are some examples:
– to grow food
– to entertain guests
– a quiet relaxing space for the family
– a place to indulge the senses
– a place for the children to play
– a place to attract native wildlife (birds etc)

If I have decided that growing food and a place for the children to play are the going to be the functions of my garden, then my garden design will start with an edible garden as its centrepiece following this would be the children’s play area.

Next, gather your landscaping ideas, use as many landscaping resources as you can to decide on a style of edible garden/vegetable garden and a children’s play area that you like. Resources could include landscaping magazines, books, DVDs, gardening shows, open garden schemes even gardens that you like in your neighbourhood. To save money you could use the local library for books and DVDs. Once you have decided on the functions and style of your outdoor space, the next things to consider are:

– what is your budget and are you being realistic
– how much water is available (this will be really important when deciding on which plants to use)
– what is you soil quality, will you need to import large amounts of soil (this can be very expensive)
– the amount of time will you be spending in your outdoor space
– the amount of time you are willing to devote to maintaining your outdoor space
– doing all of the work yourself or outsourcing some or all of the work
– are you planning on staying in your property for a long time or are you thinking of selling in the near future? – this has big implications as you do not want to over capitalise if you are planning to sell the property soon after completing your project.

If you have answered these important questions (you have a budget, you know what your soil quality is etc) then start collecting your landscape ideas and start to build a picture of what it will look like. Once done, congratulations! you have jumped the ‘where to start’ hurdle and you will be well on your way to begin transforming your outdoor space into your ideal haven what ever that may be.

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