Advanced planning is a good idea in all cases, even when it comes to your outdoor space. Don’t wait until spring arrives to create the backyard of your dreams. Map out your goals now by following these steps from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and TurfMutt:
Call a family meeting. Discuss ways everyone in the household, including kids and pets, can embrace time spent outdoors and make better use of your yard. From stress reduction to promoting exercise, getting outside is key to a healthy life.
Sketch out your current yard and its available green space. Make note of existing trees, bushes, structures and flower and gardening beds so that you can identify what needs to change and what is currently working for you, your family and your pets.
Visualize you and your family in the space. What outdoor activities would you like to do more of? This could include anything from al fresco family dinners, entertaining, yoga, or simply relaxing in a hammock or comfortable lounge chair. Or perhaps you’re simply looking to create a play zone for your children and/or your pets so that they can get more outdoor activity.
Develop your improvement and maintenance goals. List the play and work areas that will make your dreams a reality. What would enhance this space for your family? What do you need in the yard to provide a safe and welcoming place for families to gather and for kids and pets to play? Enhanced landscaping, play structures and areas for specific activities, such as patios, decks, outdoor kitchens and fire pits, need to be identified.
Determine which plants are best for your climate. Selecting the right plants, trees and shrubs for your climate zone is important for keeping maintenance to a minimum and maximizing benefits to the environment. Figuring this out now will make shopping at your local nursery more productive later.
Map out a timeline and plan for your yard. Mark the areas where improvements and maintenance are needed, and where you might need more landscaping. Develop a timeline, based on your needs, the climate zone and weather for your community to identify when certain tasks should be completed. There are better times to plant than others, depending on where you live and your goals.
Take stock of your lawn and landscape tools. Does your outdoor power equipment need to be serviced before the spring season? Or maybe you’ve recently moved to a home with a yard and need to purchase a lawn mower, trimmer, edger, leaf blower or other equipment for your home. Now’s a good time to take stock of the equipment and tools you’ll need so that you’ll be ready for seasonal changes.
Know when to call in a pro. Be realistic about what you can and can’t handle on your own. If you think you need professional assistance, now is the time to line up consultants and obtain bids. This will put you a step ahead of the spring rush.