We are now in the time of the year, late summer through mid-autumn, that is best for renovating the landscaping around your home here in most of California. The cooler days of late summer and early fall, matched with still-warm soil temperatures, are ideal for establishing healthy roots for new lawns, perennials, shrubs and trees.
The problem many homeowners face, though, is what to plant. Many times, it's worthwhile to hire another set of "eyes", such as a landscape designer, to give you an idea of what can be done with your yard. A landscape design can cost several hundred dollars (depending on the size of your yard) but is a worthwhile investment. Then, you can proceed with installation at your own pace, as your budget allows.
The plants that a landscape designer may suggest will probably work for your yard; but they also represent the plants that particular person may like. Will you enjoy them as much? Have you checked out full-grown examples of their plant suggestions?
Usually, several different types of plants can work in any one location; make sure the plan includes optional plants. Pay close attention to a landscape designer's plans for irrigation and drainage. Those two factors, if overlooked or done incorrectly, are the leading cause of plant failure.
Here is a list of 10 questions you should ask yourself pertaining to your landscape needs:
• What do you like most about your site? What don't you like? How do you and other members of your family plan to use the landscape and its new spaces?
• If you have pets, do they have specific requirements that will influence your design? For example, do you want to shut them out of or let them into specific areas?
• What is the architectural style of your house? What aspect of it do you want to carry through into the landscape?
• Is there some particular landscape style that you want to use? For example: Formal? Natural? Japanese? English?
• Are there any special plants you want to use? What colors of foliage and flowers do you want to use?
• Are you or any members of your family allergic to any plants or to bees?
• What sort of paving surfaces do you like? Brick? Wood? Stone? Concrete? Other?
• Do you have a special need or desire to attract birds or to screen out the wind?
• Are there any easements, setbacks, or zoning regulations that will influence what you do? Are there any underground utility lines or old water pipes you should be aware of? Can you locate them from old plans?
• Do any of your potential plans influence your neighbor's interests? If so, have you discussed your plans with them? Possible areas of future conflicts involve trees that are planted near a property line. Future shade or shallow roots that tear up concrete may cause disputes that may not be neighborly.