Wednesday, June 5, 2013

DIY Landscaping, Design

It's landscaping time

So after looking at dirt of the front steps all winter it was time to do some landscaping.  After some thought and crunching of the numbers we decided that doing our own landscaping would be the most economical, and would also fit our schedule the best.  By the time we contacted the nursery, it was apparent that if they did everything for us it could easily have been half way through the summer before they could fit us onto the schedule.  Needless to say, that wasn't going to work.  In the next few posts I'm going to detail the process we went through in doing our own landscaping.  I'm sure we made several mistakes, but we tried to be very careful and pay as much attention on doing things right the first time.  I hope you enjoy it.

First Things First

For any project like this it is always important to have some kind of plan.  Now, while hard labor and planting shrubs doesn't intimidate me, designing the landscape felt a little out of my skill set.  So we shopped around a little bit until we found a landscaping design that we liked.  Most nurseries offer landscaping design services for free in the hopes that you will pay them to install the plants for you, but to be honest we made sure to tell them that we had plans on installing the landscaping on our own and they would only be supplying the plants and the design.  In the end we went with the design created by Northridge Nursery, a local nursery out of West Seneca, NY.  The staff there was very knowledgeable and courteous, and took the time to listen to our concerns and ideas.  I would definitely recommend them to anybody in the Buffalo, NY area looking for landscaping advice.

Original Design

Updated Design

So what's different?  Well let's first talk about what we switched.  We removed the three Gold Mop Chamaecyparis (Number 2), and replaced it with two Golden Flame Spirea.  This was mostly a personal preference but we wanted to stay with the yellow color in that area.  Next we also replaced the Euonymus Gaiety (Number 3), with a Norway Spruce bush, again staying with the original green color in that area.  Then we moved two of the Magic Carpet Spirea to the side of the garage to thin out under the flowering pear tree and to also fill in the small dirt area by the garage.  We then added a Peiris Japonica on the left side of the house to block the view of the gas meter.  Next came three Blue Star Junipers in front of the house for low ground cover and to block the view of the exhaust pipes in that area.  Lastly we added a columnar boxwood next to the door of the garage.  So what should you try to do when designing landscaping?  Here are some things that I learned through this process.

     -Have larger bushes/trees on the sides of your house with smaller bushes and shrubs moving towards the center of your house.  This frames your house in the landscaping.
     -Try to keep the colors in your plan balanced.  The main colors are Green, Yellow, Blue, and Red.
     -Be mindful of how well the plants you choose do in the conditions they will experience on your property.  Be especially mindful of the amount of sun each day, wind, and if the plants attract animals in your area.
     -Think about how the larger plants you have will cast shadows on plants that need a lot of sun, now and 10-20 years in the future.

Next Steps

Before digging any dirt it is a good idea to have a schedule of all the things that need to be done.  Our schedule looked something like this:
     -Mark landscaping boundary
     -Calculate square footage
     -Estimate amount of topsoil and mulch needed
     -Remove existing grass
     -Turn over soil and till
     -Install edging
     -Fill in landscaping bed
     -Move flowering pear tree
     -Layout shrubs
     -Plant Shrubs
     -Cover landscaping bed with mulch
     -Apply Preen
     -Water Landscaping

In the next couple of posts I will go over the specific details involved with each of these steps.

Posts in this series
Prep Work
Finished Product

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