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New Year’s Resolutions for Your Garden

January 1, 2022

Start the new year with a fresh look for your garden and use a professional designer to get the best results. Every year, many of us look at the landscapes in our yard and choose to add a few plants here and there. Hopefully, the look comes together, but often we end up with too much variety as some plants thrive and others fail. A big reason garden spaces look incomplete is because they were not designed as part of an overall plan. Using a landscape designer or landscape architect will greatly improve the overall success of your garden and the process can be educational and fun.

The design process starts with an initial consultation. Usually, this is a no-cost experience, where a member of the design firm meets you on site to review your goals, capture your vision, and assess the current landscape situation. Good questions that should be answered are: “What are your goals for this project?” “Do you prefer a formal, native, or tropical look?” “Do you have favorite colors?” “Can you describe plants that you have seen that you like?” “Is there a specific budget and timeline for your project?” Before the designer leaves, you should agree on a communication method and a commitment for when you will receive your preliminary proposal.

In the second meeting, you should get a chance to see some of the designer’s ideas for layout and plant material. Ask the designer to take the time to spray paint the proposed bed lines and flag the locations of trees. If you are trying to achieve privacy or hide a second-floor window, designers can use a tree pole or tape measure to show the heights of proposed plants. You should ask for pictures of plants – making sure to get an idea of what they will look like at installation and maturity. Many designers can provide additional visualizations through computer renderings. In this stage of the process, it’s fun to learn about the proposed plants and trees. Ask questions like “Why have you selected this plant or tree for this location?” “What can we expect from this plant or tree in 3 years? Or ten years?” And of course, “In what budget range are these ideas?”

In the next meeting, it is time to make decisions and work toward a proposed budget. This is where having the advice of a professional pays off. You should listen to the advice of your designer as long as you are comfortable with the reasons for his or her choices. Your designer will have the experience to know what works and does not work well in your location. Let your designer be creative with the design and challenge yourself to think differently about a space. A great design will offer a new perspective on your garden from a new set of eyes. Finally, nail down your numbers. Get a firm estimate for the costs associated with the plan. Give your garden the gift of professional design expertise for a fresh start to the new year.

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