Winter is the perfect time for landscape redesign. Plants are in a dormant state, watering concerns are low or absent, and cooler temperatures are an optimum for building and re-shaping home or commercial landscaping features.
The absence of summer time foliage also makes seeing the possibilities for a new design easier. Winter is also the best time for planting most perennials like trees, shrubs, and bulbs. Here are some tips for homeowners who are considering making changes in their landscape this winter.
Start Early: Planning a landscape takes time. Envisioning, measuring, estimating, scheduling, and actually starting work are separate phases of landscape redesign.
Landscaping includes both fixed ‘hardscape’ features like patios, retaining walls, planter boxes, and stone walkways, as well as the ‘softscape’ features of the soil and plants themselves. Irrigation lines and electrical hook-ups are other considerations needing careful attention in the design phase.
Taking your time and not rushing in the planning stage is the only way of addressing all of these aspects of a new landscape and creating the best design to match your vision and your budget.
Look Around: There are almost unlimited possibilities when redesigning a landscape, and looking at other designs online or in the neighborhood is a great way of getting ideas. Even if you have a firm image in your mind already, checking out what others have done may bring you some surprising inspirations.
Make a Drawing: Making a drawing can be helpful in assuring that the details of your vision are realistic. Big planter boxes or a wide patio may sound right, but measuring the area and making a scale drawing is the only way of ensuring that everything will really fit in a given space. Making your own drawing also makes it easier when communicating your vision to your landscaping contractor.
There are a number of apps for making drawing for a landscape redesign, like Google Sketchup, if you do not like the pencil and paper approach. Whatever drawing medium you use, make your drawing to scale, like one-half inch equals one foot, and begin by drawing ‘hardscaping’ features, like buildings, driveways, and existing plantings that will remain.
If you first make multiple copies of your drawing of hardscape features, you can then sketch out multiple designs and layers on separate pages of the copies. Using different colored pencils for each new type of feature — tree, shrub, gravel walkway, stone path — is one way of making your design ideas stand out on the page.