Why is landscaping last when it should potentially go first and other things to consider when you are putting together your dream home or simply updating the exterior:
We’ve all heard about curb appeal….. well, it’s true first impressions are important. Having said that I had an epiphany, that like getting to know a person, they don’t just share all about themselves immediately, 99% of people call me last after they have done all they need to as far as an expansion or a remodel. Really, you should have me come in at the same time that you are envisioning all your changes to your property.
One of the primary reasons is so that there is water where you need it, electrical outlets where you need it, lines pulled underground for both of those things where you need it and most importantly so that while you may not come back to actually having me do the work until years later, we all know where you are going with your likes, dislikes and what’s most important to me is that all the materials, shapes, colors, textures all work together.
How to get your brain around where to start and how to think of things both inside and out.
What is the lifestyle of your family?
The front yard generally has a different set of criteria compared to the backyard. Generally speaking her are some considerations……
Are you fastidious and want things tidy? Some people want the outside to look like it’s inside but with plants and their use of plants are architectural you won’t find a leaf in their gardens.
Are you relaxed and want to have a very indoor outdoor seamless feeling between the house and the outdoors?
What do you want to do in your outdoor space? (Are you just going to walk through it or are you actually going to garden yourself? If so are you a putterer or do you really like to get down and dirty)
Are you going to have a dog?
What do you need your children to be able to do? (Play structures ugh…. waste of money, difficult to move, really not what I like to look at as a focal point and really that’s why we have parks)
Do you live in a deer area (please please allow enough money to fence in your property the plant pallet becomes severely limited) ?
Now if you fancy yourself a do it yourself kind of family…….. that’s fine, but still have a sense of the big picture and don’t be afraid of it. 99% of the time we do projects on weekends and somehow they are born out of frustration or necessity rather than from an aesthetic place. If you preplan you will have a wonderful result if you do things on the weekends as I mentioned, you will end up with a hodge lodge look that doesn’t really work toward cohesion.
You must think of all the things that could happen to the exterior of your home as well, everything works together and stylistically should be integrated. For example, if you are going to paint your house, start with what colors you are going to use so that the plants and materials used in the garden reflect and complement your color and texture pallet.
If you are using wood planters, look around and see where else the wood could used as an accent so the context is repeated. You can always face old iron railings with 2 x 2’s on the horizontal to give an instantly refreshed look.
If you have a stucco bungalow without wood, and you want a planter box, then perhaps your planter box should be stucco as well. You don’t need to introduce a new material. However, if you are adding an arbor off the house, perhaps you should do a wood planter so that it’s not standing alone as a different material. Should you paint it or not? If you have a painted arbor you should paint the box. If you have an plain arbor, unpainted, then you shouldn’t paint the box.
Finally, I leave you with a very very important wish and well, nonsequeter:
Repeat as you read out loud: I will never let my spouse buy a Redwood Tree and plant it on our property in any location ever. Should this come up, your response should be as follows:
Redwood trees belong in a forest or a park and while I don’t want you to plant it we can certainly go see them anytime you want………
Get into your garden!