So, you have decided that you are ready to take the landscape project plunge and have your backyard transformed into that beautiful paradise you have always dreamed of. However, you have no idea where to begin on planning for your project. Here is a handy checklist of things to help you plan your landscape project.
- KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES. How much actual space do you have to work with in the back yard. Do you have any buffers or setbacks? Do you have any variances? We recommend having a plot plan or recent survey to help identify all boundaries.
- WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR YOUR PROJECT. Do you envision an inground pool with landscaping? What about an outdoor living space complete with a patio, fireplace and a grill island? Maybe you are looking for a nice patio with seat walls and a firepit. Do you need a family friendly environment or more adults only? Whatever YOUR vision is for your backyard, please make sure you that you discuss your vision with your contractor.
- HAVE A REALISTIC BUDGET. This is one of trickiest areas in landscape renovation because there is very little information out there regarding costs. We can all have designer tastes on an outlet budget. However, an extensive landscape project is very expensive. You are essentially renovating one of the largest, if not the largest, living space you have with your home. Renovating your backyard is not cheap and your budget should reflect that. For example, a typical 400 square foot patio with fire pit and seat walls can run anywhere between $10-$15k depending on materials and terrain.
- MAKE A LIST OF REQUIREMENTS AND NICE TO HAVE’S. What are the elements that you really want and what are those things that would be nice to have but can live without? By knowing these in advance, it helps staying within a landscape project budget a more realistic goal.
- UNDERSTAND PHASING. Nine times out of ten, we will recommend that hardscaping should come before landscaping. The main reason is that hardscaping will tear up a yard. So, that beautiful landscape that you just had installed may be destroyed by the hardscape installation. We phase a lot of projects, which means we install the initial phase (generally hardscapes) and then we come back 6-12 months later to install the softscapes.
- PLAN YOUR PROJECT 3-6 MONTHS IN ADVANCE. These large scale projects takes planning. There are permits to file. Plans to get approved. Inspections to be done. Utilities to locate. None of this can be done in a couple of weeks. They take a couple months of planning. Also, keep in mind that many companies book out several months in advance. So, if you want to have the fireplace for winter, plan for your project in the spring or if you want to swim next summer, plan for the pool during the previous Fall/Winter.