Spring is in the air and when the weather is so pleasant, I love to go out into the yard and make big plans and dreams for improvement. If you’re considering fixing up that neglected back corner, or thinking you should scrape the whole thing and start over, there are a few things you should really consider before grabbing your shovel.
- Why are things the way they are? Perhaps some of the trees and plants have outgrown the space allotted to them, but the idea is a good one. Overgrown Junipers are often screening an unpleasant view or providing privacy from a neighbor’s window. A “messy” tree might actually be shading the patio or a bedroom window. What seems like just a barren rock bed might be the solution to a spot in the yard where turf grass doesn’t thrive. These considerations are especially important when you’ve just moved into the home.
- Is there something you really hate? When you arrive home, you want the house to be welcoming and comfortable. If you pull into the driveway and think, “ugh I hate that shrub/wall/tree/whatever,” that should be one of the first things you handle! Similarly, if you’re looking out the kitchen window and hating the view, a plan to improve that view needs to take precedence. Anything that really annoys you should be considered a priority.
- How do you use your yard or how do you want to use the yard? This is really the most important question. Do you like to entertain and need seating spaces? Children need play areas or open spaces to toss a ball. Pets also need spaces, whether a designated kennel or just open space to run. Perhaps want to raise chickens or ducks or have a bee hive. Maybe you want to have a big vegetable garden. Making a list of what you want helps to separate ‘needs’ from ‘wants.’
- Are you being realistic? There is no sense spending a lot of time and money on a great landscape plan if you don’t really like to be outside or don’t hang around the house very much. Be honest with yourself about who you are and what you like to do, then let your home and your landscaping reflect that truth!