Complete a DIY Landscaping Project to Improve Your Backyard


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A landscaping project is a great DIY project that can create a tremendous sense of pride for your home. Undergoing a landscaping project can be very beneficial, and there’s no better feeling than walking outside knowing you decided to undergo and complete a project that had such an impact on your home.

Landscaping projects can be very beneficial, but they are no small task. They require ample planning and budgeting. If you’re ready to take the plunge and try your hand at landscaping, be sure to implement some of the latest designs and trends that have been growing in popularity amongst homeowners.  

Why Landscaping is Important

Landscaping is necessary for a balanced home, as it’s important to put just as much time and effort into your home’s exterior as you do the interior. Home Design Lover has created a list of reasons why landscaping is important, some of which are highlighted below.

Create Value for Your Home

Landscaping can be seen as an investment in your home. Features like patios, stairwells, walkways, and gardens can all increase your home’s value. Since you’re completing the project yourself, you should see a greater return on investment than you would if you hired a contractor to complete the project.

Solve Drainage Issues

Landscaping can preserve your backyard. River rocks and sand can be used to help promote proper drainage. This will prevent over-saturation if you live in a flat area or runoff if you live on a hill, which  can quickly wash away topsoil. Excessive runoff can also loosen any rocks that you have in your yard, creating a very dangerous situation for your children and pets.

If you have been dealing with runoff issues, consider building retaining walls into your landscaping project to control the issue.

Create an Inviting Atmosphere

A landscaping project will create a comfortable area to enjoy the outdoors. You’ll have a space to enjoy time alone or to host friends and family for drinks and a bonfire. When undergoing your own design project, you have the flexibility to control how cozy and inviting your backyard becomes. Your landscaping project can create function and purpose for your backyard.

Improve the Aesthetics

A barren property is boring. Even the most luscious lawns need some sort of landscaping to promote a natural environment. A DIY landscaping project can drastically improve the appearance of your backyard.

Landscape Design

It’s great if you’re eager to start working on your project, but putting time into your landscape design is an important part of your project’s success. Once you start, it can be overwhelming to look outside and see your yard completely torn up as you wonder “What was I thinking?” and “How in the world am I going to finish this?” Once you begin the project, you’ll want a project sheet as a reference point.

It’s best to take time to create a detailed landscape design before breaking ground on your project. This is the time to put your vision to paper and get a feel for how your project will come together. Take measurements of your backyard, so that you know exactly how much space you’re working with.

Then, write a detailed description of what you hope to accomplish with the project. Once you have this down, create a drawing to scale. Consider using something like a red marker to indicate where changes will occur.

If you’re unsure about your landscape design, there are programs online that will allow you to enter your project dimensions, and then play around with different concepts. Programs like this can give you a three-dimensional look at how certain features of your backyard, such as plants, waterfalls, or patios, will look once installed.

Once you’ve settled on your design, make an extensive list of everything that you’ll need. Don’t assume anything when making a list, and include even the most basic tools. After you’ve compiled the list, see what you already have and what you’ll need to buy.

Making one trip to the hardware store or nursery will be much easier than having to make a trip every time you forget something. Dedicating an extra few days to the design stages of your project will save you time in the long run, and will make your landscaping overhaul much more enjoyable.

Budgeting for Your Project

It’s important to properly budget your project before you begin, especially if you are engaging in an extensive project. If you don’t have the funds to complete your project, it will be very noticeable. When in the design stages, make sure to account for all project costs. Don’t forget to include things seasonal flowers and lightbulbs.

When coming up with your project costs, always be sure to leave yourself a 5-10% buffer for unexpected costs. For example, if your budget is $5000, come up with a $4500 project. This extra buffer will protect against unexpected landscaping costs.

One of the biggest project costs often underestimated is mulch. Many DIY landscapers fall short in the number of bags of mulch they purchase. If you’ve already spent your entire budget, it may be tough to buy the mulch needed to finish the project. At this point, you’ll either need to spread the existing mulch thin or leave a part of the yard barren with topsoil.

The best-case scenario is that you won’t end up suffering any unexpected costs. At this point, you’ll have money leftover for a last-minute addition, or to put toward your next project.

Landscaping Ideas

When designing your project, two of the main things you should consider are landscape lighting and landscape materials. Both can make or break a project, and should not be overlooked during your landscaping project.

If you’re still unsure where to begin with your project, or are in need of some creative inspiration, consider checking out these Spectacular Landscaping Ideas from HGTV.  Country Living has also provided over 50 ideas for ways to landscape your front and backyard.

Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting is an often overlooked but incredibly important part of outdoor projects. Without landscape lighting, your hard work will quickly disappear as soon as the sun sets. Landscape lighting is also important if you plan to use a portion of your yard for seating or hosting.

One of the important aspects of landscape lighting is finding a way to highlight your home’s features without running up your electric bill. It’s recommended that you use a low-voltage system for your landscape lighting.

Low-voltage systems run on stepped-down power from your home. It reduces your home’s 120-volt current to a safer 12-volt current. These units feature fixture housing specifically designed for outdoor use, protecting your bulb from wind, rain, and snow. The bulb you choose will help determine the brightness and beam width.

Accent lighting can be used to create a warm, inviting atmosphere around your home. You can also consider using LED lights. Quickly growing in popularity, LED lights are available in a variety of colors. They can also be programmed to change as the night goes on. For example, they could be set to a deep shade of red during sunset, only to change to a bold purple or blue at night.

LED lights are a bit more expensive upfront, but they last longer than typical outdoor light bulbs. In the long run, you’ll end up saving money by using LED bulbs. LED bulbs also run on a lower wattage, so they’ll save you money compared to traditional outdoor bulbs.

Landscape Materials

There are a number of materials to consider during your landscaping project. Some of it depends on your location, and some of it depends on your personal preference.

One of the main decisions you’ll have to make when it comes to landscaping materials is what you’ll use in your planting areas. Your options pretty much come down to stone or mulch. Both come in a variety of colors.

Stone typically requires less maintenance than mulch. Mulch will need to be replaced annually, while stone lasts for years. In fact, stone typically only needs a light reapplication every 5-10 years, strictly for appearance sake. Weeds are also less likely to grow in stone, but there are measures you can take to prevent weed growth in mulch.  

Stone is more expensive than mulch. It also does not retain as much moisture as mulch and soil. This could be bad for plants, but could also be good if drainage is an issue. Stone also does not provide any benefits to your plants, so you’ll need to take more time to ensure they’re getting the nutrients they need.

Plants have been shown to grow twice as fast in mulch as they do in stone. But you also need to be careful when installing mulch, because too much mulch can end up stressing your plants out and stunting their growth.

HDTV has provided unique ways to landscape with mulch and stone if you’d like to see how each could be used in your landscaping project.

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