Surviving a Landscaping Remodel

Get tips for managing your expectations and minimizing stress while redoing your outdoor spaces.
Outdoor Banquette Seating

Outdoor Banquette Seating

By: Laura Fisher Kaiser

"The number one thing that homeowners don't take into account with their landscape is planning," says Pete Marsh, a landscape designer with Buck & Sons in Columbus, Ohio. "You need to have a grand vision that you're working towards even if you're phasing it in over a year or several years. It's important to have that star in the distance you're tracking towards so you don't end up with mistakes like putting in a patio that almost immediately is too small or doesn't fit your needs. You can't just be plugging in plants here and there without thinking about how to use the space."

"People will get spring panic when they see all the flowers at the garden center and want a garden in a week," says Risa Edelstein, president of the Ecological Landscaping Association. She counsels patience as you work through the design process, which she says can be two steps forward and one step back because of its collaborative nature, but is ultimately a good investment of time and money.

Understand what's guaranteed and what's not. If your landscaping professional puts the wrong plant in the wrong place and it dies, that should be covered, at least for labor. However, if you go away on vacation and neglect to water your trees and plantings—new ones require extra moisture to get established—that's probably not.

Finally, realize that plants grow, land shifts, life evolves. Even the best-laid plans can be disrupted by things beyond your control—weather, blights, 17-year cicadas—but out of these episodes comes opportunity. Your landscape is, after all, a work of living art in progress.

Next Up

Doing a Landscaping Site Analysis

Note key elements affecting your design, like existing structures and plants, views and water issues.

Budgeting for a Landscaping Project

Get tips for figuring out how much you can spend when upgrading your yard and other outdoor areas.

Hardscapes: Landscaping's Bones

Get tips for creating the walls, paths, decks and other hard surfaces in your outdoor space

Starting a Landscaping Project

Here's how to create a plan, choose plants, set a budget and hire contractors.

Designing Paths for Your Landscaping

Create walkways that direct traffic and connect the different areas of your outdoor space.

Space Planning for Your Landscape

Visualize your outdoor areas as rooms with floor, walls and ceiling.

How to Plan a Landscape Design

Learn the four steps to creating a scale plan for your landscaping project.

Choosing Landscaping Materials

Learn how to shop for plants, patio pavers and other items you need to redo your outdoor space.

Figuring Out Landscaping Priorities

Consider these factors when planning a landscape that meets your needs and fulfills your dreams.

Creating a Landscape Concept Plan

Get expert tips for using design principles in your outdoor areas

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