Landscaping

Do-it-Yourself Landscaping

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This article aims at helping you understand the various factors involved in landscaping your exterior at the least possible cost. If you feel this article does not address your concerns or if you are looking for advanced reading do consider checking out our landscaping books section. Otherwise, let’s begin

Steps in Landscaping

Steps in Landscaping

Landscaping is all about creating harmony. This holds true even for the processes involved in landscaping . Not following proper steps can lead to higher time consumption, hamper activities and harm the beauty of the landscape. The following table explains the actual sequence to be followed while landscaping your yard

Table1: Landscaping Sequence

Step 1 The first step consistes of installing the irrigation and drainage systems.
Step 2 Patios, Walls, Fences, Walkways and other permanent fixtures are next in line.
Step 3 The third step consists of planting shrubs, plants and trees.
Step 4 The final step consists of creating your lawn.

Landscaping Sequence

Devising a Landscaping Plan
When it comes to landscaping, a good plan/design is equal to half the job done. A good landscape plan can reduce your overall work load thereby helping you get the best out of your efforts. The landscape designing part starts with measuring your entire plot and using the numbers to plot a scale graph which is followed by a bubble graph.

Plotting a Scale Graph
The primary step in devising a landscaping plan is plot measurement. This might feel quite intimidating to quite a few of us, and if you are among those, consider getting a plat/deed map of your property from your builder or local county office. Generally plat maps are drawn to scale which can be converted as required with ease. In case a plat map is not available, the only way left out is to make use of a scale and a graph paper. Measure the distance of your property (front and sideways, decks, driveways, fences etc.) from your front and back yard and note this down on your graph paper with proper scale. Generally a scale of 1 inch = 10 feet should be good enough. Existing trees, shrubs and any other permanent element should be noted down on the graph as well.

Site Analysis
After the scaling part is over the next step would be to analyze your existing site and figure out what can be fitted in and what can be removed based on your needs. Here are the factors that you can consider:

  • If your yard has already existing trees, plants and shrubs, analyze and figure out which trees are required and which need to be removed to get extra space.
  • Consider climatic condition in your area like wind speed, snow, rain etc. This will help you figure out where walls, fences and sheds can be build for protection.
  • Analyze in what way you would like to use your yard. For instance, try and analyze if you would need a play area for kids, entertainment areas, work area, garden area etc.
  • Try to get a rough idea of what your current landscaping budget is and what budget and time can you allocate for the landscape maintenance
  • Ask yourself if you would be currently including a fountain/waterfall/pool/pond? Or will you be including them in the future?
  • What materials do you intend to use for constructing pathways, trials etc. – Brick, flagstone, or gravel
  • Analyse how much lawn are will you be requiring and what will it be used for

Answering these basic questions will also help you in figuring out what kind of plants and landscaping materials to go for along with the themes and styles to follow.

Drawing a Bubble Graph
A bubble graph is a rough sketch regarding the position and layout of the various elements represented using bubbles; hence the name. The bubble graph can be drawn by placing a tracing paper over the scale graph drawn based on the information gathered during the site analysis making sure that there will be enough moving and growing space for all plants.

The bubble graph should take into consideration everything from plant placement, spacing and size to walkways, ponds, gazebos, bridges, decks, driveways, patios, irrigation systems, drainage etc. Take a casual walk through your yard to ensure where the different elements will fit-in and sketch them down.

Planning an Irrigation System
Any landscaping design is incomplete without a planned irrigation system. You can choose to go for a drip or sprinkler based irrigation system. If you are planning to install the irrigation system on your own, you can get information here. Otherwise you can make use of service of an expert to do this part.

Just take a copy of your landscaping design to an irrigation supplier in your area and ask him instructions on proceeding.

The next part deals with selecting plants for your Landscape

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