Just as in plumbing where you need to know two things: Cold on the right and shit don’t flow uphill. In landscaping, we have a saying as well: tall stuff in the back and green side up.
You also know that I was a landscaper and designer for the last 20 years of my working life. I will drop some photos here just to spice things up. This is not work that I have done recently, nor here in Mountain View. It's in New Orleans where the weather is much different, but maybe you will get some ideas for your own house.
After you move into your brand new house, you realize that the builder’s landscaping included 6 shrubs planted in a row at the house’s foundation and one tiny tree centered in the front yard. So now you not only have to pick out drapes, but also figure out what to do with the rest of the yard.
Planning your landscape
Start with deciding whether to hire a landscape architect or doing your own design using a landscape contractor. The architect will provide you with plans that include everything from a swimming pool to a gazebo or a circular driveway. Often he draws the plans using the computer. Your plans take into consideration your needs, wants and budget. Plans drawn by a landscape architect are comprehensive and take your landscaping from start to finish. You can get bids on those plans or even do it yourself in stages. Sometimes landscape architects do installation as well, so you may wish to have them bid on doing the work. You will pay for the landscape architect’s plans.
You can also use a landscape contractor who will work with that set of plans. Both will give you a contract that outlines the scope of work and what you may be responsible for. The contract will give you a start and completion date and a total price assuming no changes and depending on the weather.
Installing your landscape
Hardscaping is usually part of your installation. Hardscape includes driveways, swimming pools, parking pads, fences, gates, ponds, fountains, irrigation systems and more. If you have hardscape being installed, the job will take longer and make more of a mess. Be prepared for heavy machinery and big trucks invading your space, making noise and waking you up early in the morning. But it will not last long and the benefits are worth the temporary disturbance.
Planting your landscape
More big trucks will arrive full of garden soil after the hardscaping is done. That soil gives you a weed free beginning for your garden beds. Workers will spread it into your already designed garden beds. When the soil is in place, your plant material arrives and and is spotted. Spotting is what happens when the plants are still in their pots, but placed where they will be planted.
Plant material will consist of trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables. The plant palette will be chosen for your climate. The architect or contractor knows what grows where you live, what maintenance the plant material needs, and chooses the plants accordingly.
Maintaining your landscape
Please remember that no garden is maintenance free. Some plants like trees or shrubs are low maintenance, but still require attention. All need water, food and occasional pruning. Perennial plants are favorites because they flower throughout the year. The maintenance requirements are more than shrubs or trees, but give you flowers, textures and live for years.
Plants that require the most maintenance are annuals. They must be replaced every year, but give you a show of color that make the low replacement price worth every penny.
You may want to consider a contract with the installer to maintain your landscape on a regular basis. They will keep your brand new landscape healthy and gorgeous for all the years you live in your house.