You look out over your plain, overgrown yard and feel a sinking feeling in your stomach. You haven’t even begun the hard work of transforming it into a garden fit for a magazine, and yet you feel like you need to sit down and take a breather. You’re overwhelmed! How will you ever get anything done if you don’t even know how to get started?
Fortunately, there’s one easy way to tackle an overwhelming landscaping project: break it up into stages.
Start by Location
Right now you might be thinking, “Well, of course! That makes sense!” But there’s something else you should know about landscaping projects: it’s easier to tackle unique locations from start to finish than it is to try to complete one task at a time.
For example, let’s say you need to remove sod in multiple areas of your yard to make way for your new garden. You might think removing all of the sod in one go makes sense, but in reality you’ll wear yourself out before you can move on to the next steps. And if your strength doesn’t give out, your budget might by the time you move on to steps like buying plants or bags of mulch.
So instead of trying to strike an entire task off your to-do list, start by striking off a single location.
Make a Master Plan
To start, you should spend some time making a master plan so that the final landscape looks cohesive and beautiful.
Draw it out on paper. Make note of areas that are different, based on natural borders, the amount of sun or shade they get, low spots that collect standing water after heavy rain, natural pathways, etc. Also note any areas that are a priority, such as those where you want to build up some privacy barriers or natural shade, or where significant changes need to be made, like the installation of concrete for a patio or pond.
Divide your yard into distinct sections based on priority, characteristics and even budget. Decide which place to tackle first, and then start planning. Write down a rough list of what you need to do and what you need to buy.
Beware of Planning to Perfection
Are you guilty of “planning to perfection”? If so, you tend to plan out every little detail and feel like you can’t start working on the project until everything is in place: until all materials are purchased or until you know exactly what you are doing.
Beware of falling into this trap! Trying to put together the perfect plan takes a long time, even for professionals. Try to understand that you will only accomplish your landscaping project by getting outside, shovel in hand, and getting to work.
In addition, avoid getting your heart set on specific plants before you actually browse nurseries, both online and locally. While you may have found delightful ideas on Google, the availability of some plants is often limited. Instead of writing down specific plant names, write down characteristics like height, color and texture, and then shop at your local nursery for plants that fit the bill.
By tackling just a small location at a time and doing a healthy but moderate amount of planning, you can tackle virtually any landscaping project. Happy planting!
Cathy Habas is a professional writer based in Kentucky. She specializes in writing about home improvement and gardening, which are her main hobbies. In addition to writing, she also offers proofreading, editing and Spanish to English translation services.