Working in the garden has become a passion of the American homeowner. The DIY market it is still booming encouraging every able-bodied human to get out there and start digging, planting and mulching.
Funny...I get calls all the time that lament the same sad story...
"I did all this work last year and everything is looking kinda wilty and sad this year. What did I do wrong?"
No matter how EASY claims may be about landscape development and maintenance, if you don't think through the process before hand and give some real consideration to the three distinct elements of the landscape, you may find yourself disappointed.
But here's the thing...it really is a SIMPLE 1-2-3 process!
Good planning can make the difference between success and failure every time.
What does planning mean you ask?
It means getting clear about what your end goal is and then building a road map to get there.
First ask yourself which of the three landscape elements you are working on.
- The ART (aesthetic, design, composition)
- The SCIENCE (horticulture, plant communities, soil biology)
- The FUNCTION (grading, drainage, hardscape)
Knowing this is half the battle!
If you are working on the ART you need to be touring your garden site, taking pictures, collecting inspiration and forming your ideas. Maybe this isn't your strong suit, so find a certified landscape designer that can guide you.
If you are working on the SCIENCE you need to start with understanding the exposure (where is north, how many hours of sun does this garden area get, is it wind exposed). Move to the existing plants. What is there already - make a list. Conduct a soil test. If you need help in this arena, think about hiring an Accredited Organic Land Care Professional for a consultation.
If you are working on the FUNCTION you need to look at the infrastructure of your site. Are you on a slope, what is the soil make up, are there drainage issues, what function are you trying to repair or gain. Thinking through function is imperative to success. If it's not your cup of tea, then find a Certified Landscape Professional that can help you tease out the important details of function.
Getting help doesn't mean you have to give over the project, it does means not reinventing the wheel. Landscape work is a complex blend of disciplines. A physician with a general practice consults specialists when there are issues that need deeper knowledge. A lawyer consults fellow legal professionals when the issue skirts new territory. It is wise to bring in seasoned professional when you find yourself in waters that feel a bit deep or confusing.
Once you narrow down the areas that need outsourcing you will be able to hone in the areas that are a perfect fit for tackling on your own.