Redesigning your garden is almost akin to giving your house a facelift, and with the right planning, design, and execution, your front yard can become the envy of your neighborhood.
Revitalizing your garden to go along with changing seasons, trends, and even the stages of your life, is also a great way to maintain your interest in gardening, and the outdoors.
Regardless of the yard size, and budget, a garden makeover takes extensive planning, thought, and care. There is a reason why many homeowners spend a fortune working with horticulturists, and landscape architects to get the ideal results, and that is because this is an art, as much as it is a science, requiring a strong understanding of core principles, along with years of experience.
If you decide to do it yourself, you can definitely aim for results that can blow the minds of even a seasoned professional, however, be prepared for a steep learning curve, and plenty of trials and tribulations.
In this article, we try to set the stage for your garden makeover project, with step-by-step instructions to act as a framework to get you started on this endeavor.
1. Get Familiarized With The Current Garden Space
Most amateur gardeners tend to overestimate the size of the gardening space, often visualizing features and elements in their minds that are simply impractical. The solution for this is to become better acquainted with your space, and ideally, do all the planning, and visualizing while you’re in the garden, to avoid your mind playing tricks on you.
You’ll, of course, have to put things down on paper, so make sure to carry a measuring tape, along with paper, a pencil, and an eraser while working on your plans. At this stage of the plan, you will have to take rough sketches of the overall size and dimensions, along with the margins, nooks, and other essential sections, in order to get a feel of the overall area that needs to be covered.
The plan should ideally include cardinal directions, since the time of day that each spot receives sunlight remains critical for further planning. A north-facing garden will require a different approach, as against an east-facing one, and similarly shaded regions of the garden must be noted to ensure the forthcoming steps remain in accordance with sunlight distribution.
2. Identify Your Goals
Once you have a clear picture of what you have to work with, you can then dig deeper into what you want from your garden. Here again, DIYers make the mistake of letting their imaginations run wild, envisioning scales, aspects, and features that either don’t fit, or fail to complement each other, and other essential elements such as the soil, climate, and weather conditions.
Of course, you can’t narrow down to what you want, before knowing what’s out there, so take this as an opportunity to dive deep into the exciting world of landscaping inspiration. There are innumerable Pinterest boards, subreddits, Instagram accounts, and Youtube channels dedicated to the same, all aimed at inspiring hobbyist gardeners while getting their creative juices flowing.
You can then focus on the type of garden that best suits your goals and requirements. Do you want something with utility, like an organic vegetable garden? Or a simple landscape to sit back and relax? Do you want a lawn that is perfectly aligned with your eco-friendly lifestyle or one that leaves neighbors, visitors, and friends in awe?
3. Use A Garden Planning Software
While coming up with the initial sketch, a simple pen and paper will definitely do the trick, but for more sophisticated features, garden planning software can be very useful. If you’re looking for a type of look, and professional execution that is often expected of qualified landscape architects, it is pertinent to be well-versed with and make effective use of a gardener’s planner.
Once you know what you want, it’s time to put a rough sketch in place, in line with your space, size, and dimensions, along with your overall goals and visions for the garden. Dedicated garden planning tools make such planning and visualizations all the easier, with fewer chances of goofing things up, even when used by an amateur.
4. Cost & Budgeting
Gardens can be expensive, not just the initial outlay, but the regular maintenance costs continue to pile on. As a result, even minor elements that you decide to include in your garden can add substantially to overall costs, without adding much in the way of value. Such aspects should be identified and cut off from the plans during the initial phases.
It is essential to come up with a set budget for gardening, which should include the initial costs, along with the regular maintenance and upkeep. All expenses incurred must be tracked against this budget, and any variances must be dealt with by prioritizing and delaying certain aspects of the plan.
If you feel you’re going over budget, there are a number of measures you can take to still achieve your visions, while staying in line with the amount set aside. This includes growing plants from seedlings, and not starts, along with repurposing, and upcycling various elements even when redesigning the garden from scratch.
5. Consider Maintenance, Timescale & Permitting Requirements
Before finalizing, you need to give one last consideration to each section of the plan, mainly pertaining to the level of time and effort they require for maintenance, the timescale, that is, the time each ornamental plant, pot, or landscaping element takes to mature, and how long they each last. They should ideally complement each other, and justify their price tags accordingly.
Beyond this, there is the issue of permitting requirements, with certain homeowner’s associations (HOAs), and local authorities having extensive rules on what is allowed, and what isn’t. This is especially true if you live in a conservation area, with the preexisting flora, and fauna of a locality taking precedence over your garden, and its requirements.
A garden must be a source of peace, and tranquility in your household, not a source of constant stress arising from upkeep, expenses, and penalties. Hiring a seasoned contractor should help you with most such things, however, if you’re going it alone, you might want to go through the by-laws and fine print of your HOA rules, along with local laws, and regulations.
Gardens don’t just enhance the overall value, and aesthetics of a house, but substantially improve the quality of life of its inhabitants. As a result, it is absolutely essential for each household to maintain a walkable garden within their means, as a place for relaxation, recreation, and well-being.
Making regular changes to your garden, working towards revitalizing it each season, or as each year goes by is a great way to retain your interest in gardening. There are a few other things that can be as fulfilling as planting seeds according to your plan, and seeing a beautiful garden spring up, similar to what you had envisioned.