The snow is rapidly melting off the lawns and landscapes of Essex and Essex Junction and things are progressing right into the spring season. Snow is a wonderful medium that can cover lawns and landscapes hiding from your view for five months the overgrown plant material that was installed when the house was built in 1990, 1970, 1950 or earlier. Spring is the time when most people notice their property is in dire need of a landscape renovation. Landscape renovation is a unique, section by section approach to updating the property’s curb appeal that uses low impact machinery and installation technique to preserve mature elements of the landscape that are not overgrown or failing.
What are the steps for planning a successful landscape renovation?
1. Audit the existing landscape and see what is performing well and what is not performing. Take an inventory of plants that have out grown the space and are beyond rejuvenative pruning. Is the lawn doing well or have trees grown up and shaded it–would a shade loving perennial garden be a better use of the space? Are the foundation plantings too close to the house holding moisture against the walls and rotting the siding and trim? Do you need to add nutrients to the soil? What is the pH? Perform a soil test. Do any structures in the landscape–sheds, fences, playsets need to be added or removed? Are there any noxious weeds that require a special management plan so they do not crop up again in the renovated landscape? Is surface water an issue? Is there water coming into the basement?
2. Plan your landscape renovation. We suggest using a trained landscape designer that can analyze the audit results, make sound recommendations on what should stay and what should be removed, and assemble a comprehensive plan for the entire property. The designer will also be able to give a structured plan for installation that minimizes disturbance to the surrounding landscape and does not duplicate work. It is important at this stage to look at the landscape as a whole to make the most cost effective plan for execution. Good landscape designers will focus on the mature sizes of all plants both new and existing in the plan and will design will mature size in mind. Putting a plant that has a mature size of 10′ x 10′ into a 6′ x 6′ space just means the landscape will overgrow again and will be a maintenance headache. Not to mention, think of all the lost weekends to the hedge trimmers and pruners!!
3. Install your landscape renovation. Landscape renovations require precision and finesse as well as a different list of equipment compared to landscape installation for new sites. Preserving existing lawns, trees, and shrubs requires a light foot print to avoid compaction as well as minimal root zone disturbance during excavation. Avoid full size machines unless the landscape renovation is of a significant size. Timing is important particularly if there will be transplanting of existing materials. Onsite water is always key to aid in thorough transplantation and planting as well as managing stress of the remaining plants that may have damaged root zones.
4. Sustain your landscape renovation. Landscape renovations unlike home renovations require the utmost of care upon completion. If designed and installed properly the regular maintenance should in fact decrease as a function of time, but immediately will require regular watering, adequate mulching, weeding, some fertilization, and pruning. Newly installed plants and transplants are often more susceptible to insect and fungal pathogens during the initial transplantation shock. Hiring a company that does both landscape renovations and maintenance is the best way to insure the success of your landscape renovation as they can provide the necessary inputs and care while monitoring for diseases and pests.
As the snow melts and the home landscapes become visible again, is your property in need of a facelift–has 1983 called asking for its overgrown landscape back? We would love to work with you to help audit, plan, install, and maintain your landscape renovation. Schedule a consultation today to discuss landscape renovation plans for your home.