Here are the 8 most neglected landscaping tips overlooked by DIY landscapers. Whether you are a keen DIY individual or partnership, following these 8 no-brainer tips will prevent you from creating your own version of Nightmare on Elm Street. Use them to create a beautiful backyard, improve your home’s appearance, and enhance your well-being.
Let’s get into this, while the headings may seem simple, we will dig a little deeper.
In reality, there are tips within the tips I hope you find them useful.
- The top 8 landscaping tips that DIY landscapers tend to overlook.
- The 3 Most Important Things for any Landscape Project.
- The Most Important part of your Landscaping Project is the Weather in your Area.
- Landscape Drainage
- Landscaping and Your Neighbour.
- The 2 Best Reasons for choosing Landscape Suppliers
- How to Shortlist a Landscaper for your Project.
- Selecting the Landscaper for your Project.
The top 8 landscaping tips that DIY landscapers tend to overlook.
Tools Relevant to Landscaping.
Ok let’s be sensible, to landscape your yard, you are going to need equipment, some of it specialized.
You probably have some landscaping tools, in the shed, such as a shovel and a rake.
If they have been in the family for a long time you may want to lash out and buy new ones.
Maybe you have a fertilizer spreader, to help you maintain a healthy and attractive yard.
What about a bricklayers trowel, a carpenter’s saw, hammer and level, a hacksaw and wrench for plumbing, a straight edge, and trowels for levelling sand and concrete?
Are those pruning pliers sharp?
That small wheelbarrow you have… Park it up… or use it for growing something. Get something capable of carrying at around 80 or 90kgs of gravel or concrete without having it collapse around its wobbly wheel.
Online shopping is just an option for purchasing smaller landscaping equipment, probably a better option is visiting a hardware store where they can advise you on the specifics of comparable tools.
While doing your own backyard landscaping can save you money, it can also be a lot of work and some mistakes can be costly.
For complex projects like irrigation and elevation planning, it is best to get professionals in. But sometimes we don’t always listen to our own best advice.
The Front yard can be a minefield. If you want to lay out a sprinkler system and start digging a trench to lay the piping, chances are there are services below your dig area.
Some may not be at the depth they are supposed to be due to various reasons (rocky ground?), or other services below them
Storm water pipes running from your house to the kerb are generally shallow, phone lines and water lines from the town supply usually are as well.
One hit with a crowbar can wreck those. A trenching machine will demolish them.
There is nothing like a trenching machine under a water spout to bring out a few expletives.
One consolation I guess is that if it can be fixed, then it is not a stuff-up.
If you are setting out a grid across your yard for a sprinkler system then top of the to-do list should be a survey.
Check the house plans, or if they seem obscure there are contractors with detectors to pick up underground services.
The 3 Most Important Things for any Landscape Project.
Landscaping for homes is not fundamentally different from other types of landscaping.
Everyone wants that attractive yard that impresses the neighborhood.
Professionals make it look easy.
Don’t be fooled.
If you have little to no experience, treat it with respect and conduct thorough research before starting your project otherwise, your mistake will impact your wallet, maybe some bureaucrat(s), or worse, the neighbor, and trust me, you don’t want that hassle.
So the three most important things to take into consideration for any landscape project are:
- Your Neighbour
That is it. Those three things will determine (to a large extent), your costs. Let’s take a look at them.
The Most Important part of your Landscaping Project is the Weather in your Area.
Weather conditions such as winter snow, or tropical conditions like a dry and wet season, and all other weather conditions in between, will determine the types of plants you can grow.
This is the most important part of your project.
With that knowledge, you will have an understanding of what will grow and what won’t.
How to enhance the positioning of plants for effective amenity, windbreaks, shade, or to have them in a position where they receive the early morning sunshine and have some protection from the heat of the afternoon.
Get the compass out and find the ideal settings for your project.
Study the plants you like and find out their optimum growing positions.
Nature can make it very hard for things in the wrong place, regardless of the love you give it.
Drainage for landscape projects must be done in a way that doesn’t impact your neighbour(s), and graded in a way that doesn’t have puddles of mud or water laying about, becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and other unwanted insects during rainy periods.
Observing how water flows in your yard is essential in determining the right drainage for your landscaping.
The most important thing to remember is that whatever water enters your yard, make sure it does not exit through a neighbor’s yard.
On the subject of water, you could set up a rainwater tank(s) to collect rainwater from your home.
This could be used to water your plants your lawns or even wash your car, maybe add a filtration system and you have potable water for household use.
If it is a bigger project, then you may require a pit at your front boundary for the collection of excess water which will then be exited to a mains stormwater system.
Landscaping and Your Neighbour.
Neighbours can be tricky. It would not be at all unusual for your neighbour to stick his head over the fence to see what you are up to.
You can settle their curiosity by letting them know what you’re doing, particularly if you are going to have machinery working on the project.
There may be dust issues, noise issues or other issues that may impact your neighbour.
These will have to be minimized.
Another factor to consider is the location of your plants. Keep the larger trees away from structures, fences, houses, swimming pools, etc.
The last thing you need a few years down the track is your neighbour complaining about water entering his ceiling because there are leaves blocking his gutters.
Or he has to clean his swimming pool more often because of leaves, or worse if there is a storm and a tree crashes onto his roof!
So while landscaping sounds wonderfully artistic, creating your piece of paradise is actually a minefield for new players.
The 2 Best Reasons for choosing Landscape Suppliers
When choosing a landscaping supply store, try to think as a professional landscaper, rather than a regular consumer.
A landscaping supply store that caters primarily to those in the industry is often the best option, for two reasons.
- Expert Knowledge.
While you may have read the book and watched the video, when it comes to doing, that is a whole different ballgame.
At least you will have some knowledge, so you will be able to ask relevant questions, converse about your landscape project, get good advice, and make good decisions.
Finding one should not be difficult, ask around among your work colleagues or neighbors for recommendations, or try looking on the internet for “landscape trade suppliers” or similar.
Often you may have to shop around, one may only supply sand, gravel, rocks, and perhaps some drainage hardware. Others may just specialize in tools, plants, and seeds.
That is fine, they still will be able to help you.
Find the right landscaping supply store and you could save hundreds of dollars on your landscaping supplies.
How to Shortlist a Landscaper for your Project.
Ok, you have thought about it and decided it is too much work for you, and you will get a contractor.
It cannot be stressed enough that selecting the appropriate landscaping contractor for your project is of utmost importance.
Do not just randomly choose from the Yellow Pages as it does not guarantee their quality of work.
Some of those suppliers you visited will have contractor’s business cards near their check-out. Take a couple and give them a call.
It is essential that the landscaping contractor you choose is skilled and competent.
He should have his own insurance (including public liability), and be licensed if applicable.
While browsing through the phone book, you can talk to various landscaping contractors, but it is better that you interact with them face to face and observe their work.
Work Place Health and Safety rules might prevent you from entering the work area but you will be able to observe what is going on.
You may request to see their previous projects, or they can show you a portfolio of their work.
They will offer to visit your home and inspect your yard, where they can offer you innovative ideas on how they can transform it into your piece of paradise.
Don’t rush this, take the time to fully evaluate what you want as there are a gazillion ideas out there.
His first visit may only be a preliminary visit to discuss your ideas with him. An experienced landscaper will have various methods he can utilize to enhance the beauty of your yard.
Things such as slopes, hills, color, and texture.
Depending on the scope of works, he may be able to give you an initial ballpark figure. But this is where it can get a little complicated.
It is better to get at least two or three quotes from landscapers whose work appealed to you. By this I mean finalised prices, plans drawn and properly costed.
It is likely you will have to pay to have that done.
Most landscapers these days have a cost dataset for their most common costs, but they will need to take some measurements of your yard and fit the layout you have agreed on to it.
Every landscaping contractor has a unique style of doing things, and it is essential to make sure their style aligns with your taste.
Selecting the Landscaper for your Project.
You have received prices from at least two contractors who fully understand the scope of work you require, and they have familiarised themselves with the layout of your land, where the services are, and all other relevant details.
When looking at the prices you need to look past the lowest number and see whether it is an “all-up cost” or if there are exclusions that are listed as allowances.
Allowances are for items that may cost more than the amount allowed or less than the amount allowed.
This price difference can work both ways, if it is more then you pay the difference between the allowed cost and the actual cost.
If it is less than that amount, it is deducted from the allowed amount.
Remember you have asked them to submit prices because their work appealed to you.
But, before going ahead and signing a contract with the contractor who you have determined is offering the best job at a price you are happy with, make sure you understand it.
Then ask the contractor if he is happy to go ahead at that price.
They may be a small deposit to be paid at the signing, BUT don’t, under any circumstances pay the full amount up front. Contract or No contract.