First things first, figure out what you are capable of doing on your own and what your limitations are to determine how far you can go before you need to call for help. Your project map will include; your style, elements that fit your skill level, starting with a clean worksite, running your ideas by a professional, cost considerations, flexibility, and evaluating your time and financial investment.
What’s your style
Many do-it-yourselfers, have taken pictures or cut images out of magazines to summarize their dreams and provide a visual of how they want everything to turn out. You may consider creating a file with all your favorite items all together so you can use it a foundation for your plan. Your current landscape condition and extent of your desired outcome, may determine how much you might or might not be able to accomplish. Some people may be content with a few changes to what they already have, like adding a few new beds or landscape edging surrounding their lawn. Some might focus on simple landscapes which include optimizing existing landscape elements. These two categories easily fit do-it-yourself landscaping. Others wanting to maximize square footage with numerous shrubs, complicated flower and garden beds surrounded by extensive creative edging, having plenty of complicated tasks requiring some heavy lifting to prepare for the extensive project, might want to include a professional landscape architect as part of your plan.
Evaluate your skill level
Do your friends say you have a green thumb and that they are jealous of your grace and ease making your yard look so beautiful, or do you find that you just can’t get it right? At whatever level you find yourself determine if do-it-yourself landscaping fits. Research is a good place to start, if you find that you can envision your yard changing and see yourself completing many difficult projects, if you are familiar with different soil types, plants, shrubs and gardening, then do-it-yourself landscaping may be just what the doctor ordered.
As you lay out your project the first thing on your list should be getting rid of extra clutter, undone projects and extra pieces, that may stand in the way of completing your ideal landscaping transformation.
If you are determined to go it alone, you may consider at least running your plan by someone that has done something like this before, or a landscape professional, to make sure you have the pieces in order and can plan for any gotchas that may pop up.
Some landscape elements may vary in cost due to changes in items used, they could even cost less than you originally planned or you might encounter adding things you didn’t plan on that will drive your costs up. To figure out what fits into your budget, map out each section separately closely scrutinizing items used, then put it all together for a final tally. If you have included a landscape professional in your planning stages, consult with them to help determine a cost baseline to work from.
Don’t be Reactive
Many people are impulsive and buy on emotion, you may have found yourself in years past buying that beautiful flower pot, those landscaping bricks, or that beautiful lattice, and over the years looking back saying to yourself, why did I buy that in the first place. Having a methodical approach to your landscaping project will help you lay out exactly what you want and how it will make you feel. Remember it is art that you are working with, only this is not a piece of paper you can just wad up and throw away. Evaluate each element and how it will work with everything around it. Be patient especially in the planning stage, and do everything one step at a time.
Flexibility + Vision = Beauty
Planning may not be the end all, as you begin your project allow for additions that may come along that work better. In your planning stage include some flexibility with each area of focus so as to be able to incorporate something you come across that you really love. You may kick yourself if you just plunge in and finish your project with blinders on then realizing after the fact that you would have liked to include… You may however want to sit back down and make sure the new feature fits with everything on your plan before adding it in. Having a flexible approach to your dreams will bring it all together in your beautiful art landscape.
Time and Money
Developing a plan requires that you put real elements in place along with numbers to realistically project your investment of time and expense. Decide how much time you can devote and establish a dollar figure you are willing to invest to make this project a reality. Stick to your plan, pay as you go so you don’t end up working at it for the rest of your lives and then working to pay off the credit card for years to come.