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Landscape Planning

Starting out: The best plan is to HAVE a plan. You can start out modestly, but keep in mind you may want to improve your yard as time goes by, and allow for additions in your plan. Most people want low maintenance landscaping that allows them to putter at what they like, be it flowers or vegetables. Think about what your needs are. Do you want privacy? If so, you may want to build a fence, or plant trees or shrubs to enclose your yard. Fences also provide security and keep animals out or pets in your yard. If sunlight or wind is a problem, arbors covered with lattice panels or wood strips may work as a sunscreen. Trellises also block wind and provide shade. These structures also provide privacy.

A garden path can add interest to your yard and is a focal point for plants.
You may want to incorporate private areas for reading and relaxing with more open areas for entertaining and play. Your local lumberyard probably has plans with great ideas, and would be a good place to start to research your project. Remember, a great landscaped yard provides both beauty and function, as well as practicality.

Draw out your plan on paper. Keep in mind your focal points and priorities. Use curves as visual interest, and add textures and color to please the eye. Keep in mind your planting zone when selecting perennials and shrubs, along with the sun exposure during the day.

Before you begin, check with your local planning and zoning office for a list of rules and regulations. Most cities and counties have setback rules for fences, decks and other structures. You may be required to obtain a permit for installing fences, deck, and retaining walls.

Be sure your landscaping does not adversely affect your neighbors. Let them know your plans and ask them is they have any reservations. It is better to find out now if there will be any problems.

Locate any buried phone, electric, or gas lines. If you are unsure of where these lines are located, contact your utility company to come to your site and map them out for you.

Be sure of property lines before you begin.

Try out your ideas by using a garden hose to outline your paths, planting beds, or other structures. You can also use spray paint for a more permanent line when you begin.

Buy some books on flowers and shrubs and read up on them, or check them out on the Internet. Donít be afraid to experiment. Most experienced gardeners admit to failure once in a while, and learn from their mistakes.


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