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Landscaping Do’s and Don’ts for Beginners

Posted By On September 20 2021
Landscaping do’s and don’ts for beginners

Tackling your first DIY landscaping project can be a little daunting. There are so many things to consider: from the plants you want to include to the layout, and from maintenance to choosing the right plants for the sun exposure in your garden. You should have a plan, know your budget, and be prepared for hard work before you decide if landscaping your own property is right for you. Here, we provide some landscaping do’s and don’ts for beginners to help you get started.

Do Assess Your Yard

First, take a long hard look at your yard and ask yourself some questions:

  • Is there anything in the yard you want to keep?
  • What absolutely has to go?
  • How does the sun fall on each area throughout the day?
  • Are there areas that are full sun and full shade?
  • Do you need more privacy?
  • Where is your source of water in the yard?
  • What areas would provide a nice shady spot to relax?
  • Where would you like to place new features such as a fire pit, water feature, or gazebo?

These questions will make it easier to come up with a plan.

Don’t Forget to Make a Layout

Once you answer the above questions, create a rough layout of your ideal yard. Note the plants or features you want to remove, and how you plan to replace those items. Mark down sun exposure for each area, so you understand what types of plants will do well there. Indicate where new features will go, and determine how the placement of your water source will affect maintenance.

Do Research Ideas

It can be hard to start a landscaping project without some inspiration. Do some research online and check out what other gardeners have done. Look at your layout and take notes of what you would like to and can incorporate into your own plans.

Don’t Overlook Plant Needs

Once you get some ideas through research, look at the plants that you would like to incorporate into your landscaping scheme. Do more research so you understand the ideal conditions for the plants, and see if there is a way to work them into your layout based on the sun and shade notes you made.

Do Set a Budget

You might be surprised how expensive landscaping gets, especially if you want to do things all at once. Set a budget so you know how much money you can spend. Then, if you find that all of the elements you want are too expensive, you can prioritize the things you want done now, and spread out the work either during the summer, or over a few years.

Don’t Forget Ideal Planting Times

Many plants have ideal planting times you need to consider. For example, bulbs are best planted based on the time of year they bloom. Spring bulbs are planted in the fall, while later bloomers can be planted in the spring. Keep this in mind, and use it as a way to spread out your budget. You can plant your late bloomers at the beginning of your project in the spring, and put off the spring bloomers until October.

Do Wait if You Just Bought the Home

A big mistake new homeowners make is they dig into their gardens the first chance they get. If you do this, you won’t know what your yard offers. This is especially ill-advised if you move in before the garden starts to bloom. Many novice landscapers have pulled up what they think is weeds when in fact they just destroyed a perfectly healthy and stunning display of yet to bloom perennials.

It is fine to tackle the project if you are really intent on certain things like building a gazebo, deck, or laying patio stones. However, if you can be a little patient, you might discover you have a lovely garden that requires a lot less work. You also want to experience the space day to day to get a feel for spots that would make the best place for seating, dining, the barbecue, a gazebo, etc. Living with the space for a while allows you to make smart decisions and make the most of the good things you’ve got.

Don’t Overlook Maintenance

This is a big factor, as you don’t want to create a monster that has you slaving away all summer. Consider how much work you are willing to put in before you make your final decisions. For example, tons of garden beds mean a lot more weeding or more work up front to lay down landscaping cloth and mulch, then, say, more lawn space, a deck, or a gazebo.

As well, many bushes require special pruning to keep them healthy, looking trim, and also to stop them from growing too large for your garden. Make sure you understand how to care for them before planting anything so you don’t make more work for yourself.

Do Start With a Simple Foundation

Since this is your first rodeo, focus on simplicity. First, build a foundation for your garden and yard, and then continue to add to it each year. This makes it more manageable and affordable. As well, you might find certain plants do very well, while others don’t. This can help you decide which plants are worth investing in and which ones to avoid. This ties in with maintenance, also, as plants that are too much trouble can be avoided as you expand your garden plans each year. You might also find the need to add more features for shade to sit in, or lay a path where your lawn seems to be worn down due to foot traffic.

Don’t Forget Focal Points

Consider creating focal points such as a lovely birch tree, a fountain or sculpture, a burst of colour, or a pretty arbour. All of these elements work together, but also add more interest when done properly.

Do Hire a Waste Bin Rental

The more involved the job, the more waste you’ll have to contend with. Hire a waste bin rental that Toronto gardeners need to get rid of all the yard waste, old wooden structures, patio stones, dirt, etc. For more information, please contact our team at Scarborough Disposal today.

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