Starting a Landscaping Project
Good landscaping increases your property's value as it boosts curb appeal and solves problems ranging from ugly views and lack of privacy to poor drainage and nondescript plantings. By developing a smart, long-term landscape plan, you can transform a drab, dysfunctional yard into a space that enhances and complements your home's architecture and becomes a place where you love to hang out.
Even if gardening is your secret passion, a professional landscape designer may see solutions you never dreamed of and help you avoid costly mistakes. To smooth the way for such a major undertaking, it helps to assess your property's strengths and weaknesses, think about the ways you envision using your yard, and understand the steps involved in the landscape design process.
Natural Beauty Landscape
This charming entryway features both a comfortable seating area and a breathtaking wildlife habitat, created by the mix of plant materials at the base of the steps. The plants were selected based on their color and low-maintenance nature, while flowers and fruits were chosen specifically to attract birds and butterflies. Design by Barbara Paul
Exquisite Family-Friendly Backyard
This luxurious backyard features a full-size outdoor kitchen with built-in seating and a dramatic raised pool area. A large lawn creates the ideal entertaining space and includes an in-ground trampoline. Design by Christopher J. Grubb
Outdoor Party Garden
An entertainer's dream, this garden and patio features elegant outdoor lighting that extends the use of the space into the evening hours, creating the perfect setting for parties any time of day. Design by Bob Hursthouse
Romantic Backyard Getaway
Fun, Kid-Friendly Backyard
This picturesque backyard, with a large lawn and playhouse, provides the perfect setting for children. The nearby patio serves as an outdoor dining area and a convenient space for keeping an eye on the little ones. Design by Bob Hursthouse
The reasons for updating your yard range from the practical to the indulgent. Improving curb appeal, privacy and functionality are usually high on the list. You might also have safety issues to address such as a pool fence, firescaping or erosion.
"A detailed understanding of your goals and likes and dislikes are needed from the onset of the design process," says Risa Edelstein, president of the Ecological Landscaping Association, based in Arlington, Mass.
She emphasizes that developing a master plan is essential. That doesn't mean planning every detail to the nth degree. A master plan is more about broad strokes, a theme, a look, a feeling you want to evoke. Thinking through the entire landscape design, from hardscapes (man-made solid surfaces) to plants, helps you focus your goals in the beginning and provides a touchstone for decisions down the line so you don't end up with a mishmash of hardscapes, colors and awkward proportions.
Our Landscaping Planning Guide will show you what to consider when planning a landscaping project, give you tips for adding curb appeal, offer solutions to your outdoor issues and give you the information you need to choose the right products.