Happy Monday, Friends! Hope you had a spectacular weekend. In between a wedding and a bachelorette party, Kyle and I got our hands dirty again and tended to our plants. Let's wrap up (for now) our outdoor adventures...
Updating, renovating or even doing one "quick" project on a house always results in learning something. Have you found that true for you too? I've learned that anytime I say "it can't be that bad," it becomes a direct welcome for something to bite me in the butt and leave me proclaiming surrender of, "why didn't I think of that!?" (or calling my dad for help!)
Landscaping was no different. Although the process was smooth- no major hiccups and the plants are currently thriving- it still stood the "renovation test" and taught us a lesson or two.
What we learned:
1) You need to consider how much time you want to spend on your landscaping throughout the year. Do you want high maintenance plants or mostly self-sufficient? This also plays into the forever question of annuals vs. perennials. (We opted for 100% perennials, and may or may not add in annuals next year if needed)
2) The landscaping should accent the unique features of your home. For example, the three windows of our garage have limelight hydrangeas underneath them (they will grow a little higher than the bottom of the window), whereas the rest of that plant bed consists of boxwoods)
3) Small changes can make a HUGE difference. For instance, clearing our the plant bed in front of the home opened up that entire space and made it feel more welcoming when you come up the driveway. It's also 10x easier to mow that area!
4) How much do you want to water (or pay for water)? That may depend on if you have city water or you are on a well. We are on a well, but if we were on city we may not have planted so many hydrangea plants, as they require A LOT of watering and the bill would have been pretty ugly.
5) The diversity of plants should represent different blooming seasons, so that your yard will always have something in bloom throughout the year.
6) Landscaping is costly. There was some sticker shock involved. Out of all of the projects and updates in our home, this was the most expensive. They say that landscaping should cost 10% of your homes worth. YIKES, right?! We didn't go that far, but it gave us a good lens to look through.
You need to consider what would increase the value of our home. and how much of an investment you're willing to (or can) put into it. We're of the mindset that a home shouldn't put you in debt (besides a mortgage), so if can't put pay cash just forgo the project or make small changes (see #3). This is why we only stuck with one "phase" instead of doing the entire house.
7) It's easy to be resourceful! We didn't buy new sod when we took out the preexisting plant bed, we just used the sod that we took out when we created the tree rings. Then, we used the brick around the same bed to make a large firepit. Additionally, when the landscaping company took out a lot of our clay, we put it in areas around the foundation of the house that needed to be built up and slanted away from the house. All free! Free = Happy!
8) Landscaping is an art. Hiring professionals can come in handy- if only to get you pointed in the right direction. Many companies will do consultations and that may be all you need. Although we opted to do things ourselves, we agreed that it was a GREAT decision to hire out.
9) Consider the amount of time that you'll have to wait for the plants to mature. Based off of that timeline, you can order the correct size and maturity of different plants.
We didn't want seeds, because we wanted to reap the benefits of what we were paying for. The plants have a lot of maturing to do, but we'll be able to enjoy them for the years that we are here rather than waiting five years for the first bloom.
10) Verify that wherever you purchase your plants from, you receive a warranty. A two year warranty with small plants is typical, whereas for trees it an be around five years. If the company would have planted everything for us, we would have kept a two year warranty. Since we opted to plant, we have a one year warranty (except for the trees, which are two).
11) Be realistic about what you can do yourself, and what you need to have hired out. I'll fully admit, this is a difficult one for us- sometimes it takes some convincing that we can't do it all. Thank goodness that convincing worked!
It really is a lot of manual labor which takes time. Time = hot commodity. You may not be able to remove the soil or sod, but you could plant all everything yourself. It will save money and sanity in the long run :)
12) Trees go on sale in the Fall! We planned on putting some evergreens closer to the road to form a small barrier. Currently, you can't see our home from the road with all of the foliage, but in the Winter, all of that greenery goes away and we have less privacy. Instead of doing that now, we learned that it's perfectly okay to plant them in the Fall, and they always go on sale that time of year.
I can't tell you how relieved both Kyle and I feel that all of the major projects at the home are finished. Emphasis on "major." Now, all of the smaller, loose end ones seem less intimidating and somehow easier than moving mulch. The hunny-do-list is getting shorter by the day :)
Have you learned anything this spring and summer from planting season?! Please share!