Having run a business for more than 12 years now, I’ve seen new leads and clients of all types. Some people have a firm idea of what they want. Maybe they’ve even already had a plan drawn up by an outside landscape designer or architect.
Others have a rough idea of what they’re looking for. “We want a new patio to expand our outdoor living space,” they begin, “but we’re really not sure of where it should go or how big it should be.”
Others still have no idea where to begin. “We need to do something with this mess of a yard, but what?”
For the folks that already have a plan in place, great. Kudos to you for having gotten this far. But for the second two groups, I’d like to offer a few ideas to help get your project off the ground.
These are questions that I always like to ask and get clients to consider during the planning phases. Remember, your yard is a personal retreat, and everybody’s needs and desires are going to be different. But each of these ideas is at least something that needs to be considered before moving forward.
With no further ado, 10 things to think about when planning your new yard:
1. How do you use your yard? What about your current yard works for you? What doesn't?
2. Do you have kids? Do your kids play in the yard or are they more apt to play at the neighbors' or the neighborhood park?
3. Do you have pets? Do your pets need a contained space for them to play freely?
4. Do you entertain? If so, are we talking small family or neighborly get-togethers, or larger blowout parties?
5. Do you like to garden? Have you considered a vegetable garden? Are you a hobby gardener who likes to get dirty and work with plants, or would you just prefer you had something low-maintenance and pretty to look at?
6. Is privacy important? Do you want to keep the outside world out, or would you prefer your yard blended seamlessly with the surrounding neighborhood?
7. Do you have a good sense of the sun/shade patterns of your yard? Many new homeowners in particular are eager to get that new yard in, but what's sunny in February may be in full shade come August. It's a good idea to get a full sense of the seasonal patterns of sun/shade before planning that dream yard.
8. Does the term "high-maintenance" scare you? Do you mind getting dirty and pulling some weeds from that new walkway, or would you rather be hands-off and not have to deal with maintenance issues.
9. What is your ballpark budget? It's unfortunate, but sometimes budget can get in the way of your ultimate objectives. Be clear as to what you're willing to spend, and don't be afraid to make some revisions if it means a more realistic project.
10. Would you be opposed to breaking the project into phases? Maybe you'll never be able to have that $50,000 landscape installed, but if you have an ultimate long-term goal, at least you can work towards your goals without having to rip things out as you move forward. A small patio that can be expanded down the road is certainly better than nothing at all.
Just a few things to think about as you start to brainstorm. Happy planning!