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Set Your Landscaping Plan of Attack

When landscaping your new yard, drawing up a plan is vital to getting an end result that adds value and beauty to your home.

Planning your landscape allows you to envision the completed project, plan for expenses and make sure you get exactly what you are looking for. Follow these easy guidelines for getting your landscape plan done right.

A Pro or No?
Whether to use a professional landscape designer when drawing up your landscaping plan is a personal decision. Expense and the homeowner's personal experience with landscaping are a few of the key points that come into play. Most new homeowners use a pro to help draw up their plan, even if they decide to actually do the work themselves. A consultation with a pro now can save you a lot of money in expensive mistakes later down the road.

A good rule of thumb: If there's any question in your mind about whether you need help, it pays to at least consult with an expert before diving into a plan on your own,
particularly if it involves technical expertise like a sprinkler system.

Find Your Designer
When looking for a landscape designer to draw up your plan, you can either use the old fashioned "phone book" method, or take matters into your own hands. "The best route may be word of mouth. Strike up conversations with local homeowners in an attempt to find someone who has employed a landscape professional," says David Beaulieu of the About.com Landscaping Guide. Once you find a few referrals, he advises homeowners to ask the following questions:

  • Were you happy with the job they did on your plan?
  • How long did it take?
  • Did you have any problems during the process, and how did the professional resolve them?
  • How much did it cost?
  • Was the designer willing to make changes and accommodate your wishes?
  • Was he/she personable and easy to work with?

Once you find a professional, make sure you know what kind of licensing is required of them in your state, and check it. Landscape designers are different from landscape architects, and if you are making structural changes or additions, you will want a licensed professional drawing up your plan.

Help in the Planning Process
There are a couple of things a homeowner can do to help the planning process go smoother. First, having a good idea of what you want will save a lot of time and expense. Spend some time looking through books and magazines, and create a "tear sheet" folder of all your favorites. "Draw up a rough plan ahead of time, and then review it carefully – making any changes before the landscape professional arrives for a consultation," says Beaulieu.

Avoid Problems Before and After the Plan Is Drawn
Whether you hire a professional just to draw the landscape plan, or for the entire project, it is wise to avoid problems early. "If you have any questions, during the consultation is the time to ask them," advises Beaulieu. "There's nothing that stops the wheels of progress on a job quite as much as having the clients change their minds midstream on major aspects of the plan."

Drawing up a landscape plan is the first step to adding beauty and value to any home. Having a professional landscape designer help you in the process can make sure your landscape is the brightest on the block!


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Kathy Wilson is a home and garden writer, author and consultant and is the home decorating expert for LifetimeTV.com. Visit her for more home and garden ideas at http://www.TheBudgetDecorator.com and http://www.TheGardenGlove.com.  

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