Often a little
change in your environment can mean a lot of happiness. Substantial
change may also end up being more profitable. This is often the
case with landscape investments. Consider doing what not only attracts
you when it comes to creating an outdoor area, but the added impact
landscape has - higher property values, a more desirable neighborhood,
and a rewarding finished product that is functional and beautiful.
is the profession that encompasses the analysis planning, design,
management, and stewardship of outdoor space and land. Activities
of a landscape architect cover a wide range, including creating
public parks and parkways, site-planning for corporate office buildings,
reclaiming blighted areas, designing towns and creating private
residential areas. Before you enlist the services of a landscape
architect, check out the tips below and the Guide
to Jobs in Landscape Architecture and Related Fields.
about what you want and how you will use your landscape. Formal
entertaining, herb gardens and playgrounds are all possibilities.
Consider your home's style. An English Cottage-style garden may
look of place in front of a modern home. To find the right look
for you, go through pictures in magazines and view gardens in your
a reputable local landscape architect, ask a neighbor whose
yard you admire for the name of the contractor they have worked
with. Credentials are important; membership in a professional association
is a good indication that someone is qualified and well-trained.
Landscape architects must be licensed to practice in 46 states.
Licensure is obtained through education, experience, and by passing
a rigorous professional exam. Landscape architects may also belong
to reputable professional associations with membership requirements.
Make a realistic
budget. One rule of thumb is to invest ten percent of your property's
worth; this figure should include all design and installation costs,
as well as plant materials. If this estimate seems steep, consider
that appropriate landscape improvements are estimated to return
100 to 200 percent of their cost when a house is sold. Landscaping
is the only home improvement that can boast this kind of return
on an initial investment.
a few landscape architects. If you've interviewed home contractors
or architects, it's a similar process. A good designer will ask
you about your preferences, what you will use the space for, how
much money and time you would like to allot to the design. A good
designer will also walk around the site, take pictures and measurements.
Ask about maintenance. How much time and money will you have to
invest in the installation and the maintenance?
This winter season is the best time to consult with a designer.
This way you'll be all ready to go when spring weather arrives.
This way you'll be ready to go when spring weather arrives
only the first step to a dream landscape. Deciding how to install
the materials is the next. A lot depends on how complicated the
plan is. Obviously, moving large amounts of earth and installing
a drainage system is not a do-it-yourself project. Your landscape
architect will advise you and can recommend reputable contractors
to do the work that you either can't or don't want to do.
One job that
homeowners can do themselves, saving a lot of money, is to buy and
install their own plants. Some wholesale nurseries are now selling
to the public, particularly for large purchases. Many offer free
delivery with a minimum order. Home improvement centers often offer
near-wholesale prices everyday, although plant care and quality
can vary. To ensure hearty, high-quality plants, buy from a reputable
nursery. Also, plan to prepare and treat your property's soil with
sand, loam, or compost. Install the plants according to your plan
so they will continue to thrive.
If you aren't
an expert gardener, you'd probably be well-advised to pay your landscape
architect or designer to supervise the contractor's installation
of plant materials. You want to be sure the plants installed are
those specified and the plans are followed to the letter.
landscaping project is finished, the fun really begins. There's
nothing like watching a garden mature to bring out the green thumb
in even the most city-fied of us. Gardening has become one of America's
favorite hobbies and is widely recommended for stress reduction.
Professional design also means maintenance can be kept to a minimum,
while the enjoyment lasts year-round.