Beginner’s Guide to Landscaping

If you’ve stumbled onto this page, chances are you’ve been thinking about landscaping your yard for quite some time.

Landscaping Design PlanYou may have even watched one of the DIY shows on television and thought ‘this doesn’t look too hard.’

Let’s be honest for a moment – it’s not rocket science. With the right equipment, most people should be able to perform the basics in landscaping. However, it is physically hard work and to become good at it requires a lot of hours on your hands and knees.

But if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, then this blog is for you. It’s going to target those among you who are new to landscaping. If you want to improve your outdoor area without having to contract a professional, then these tips will point you in the right direction.

Know your area

The first step in designing a great outdoor area is doing an analysis of the site. Become familiar with the environmental conditions of your yard, like:

– The way the sun hits your area at different times of the day
– Wind patterns
– Type of soil
– Water drainage

Knowing this will help you in your design. For example, you wouldn’t want to plant in a spot that gets the full exposure of the afternoon sun or place a BBQ area somewhere that experiences a lot of wind (because it will extinguish the flame on your cooker).

Additionally, if you want to do a big job like a patio, you want to look at your house plans to see where the pipes and electrical lines are laid. The last thing you want is to put a hole in a water pipe with your shovel.

Take measurements of the current landscape – knowing how much land you have to play with will make it easier for you during the planning process.

Focal points, scale and contrast

We’d consider garden design to be an art form. Like any visual art form, the proper implementation of focal points, scale and contrast can enhance the aesthetic quality of your outdoor space.

Focal point – If you look at any good garden design, you will notice that it has either a focal point or a series of focal points. These points draw the eye to spot and helps you take in the landscape as a whole.

Scale – Getting the scale right in your landscaping design so that your yard has a sense of cohesion (everything fits and nothing looks out of place) is actually a difficult skill to learn. The size and shape of objects in your space will influence how it’s taken in. Of course, with experience you will get better at it.

Contrast – This is related to scale in that you don’t want the same shapes, sizes and colours running throughout your design. It makes it feel repetitive and monotonous. Throwing in some contrasting elements can make your landscaping stand out.

Seasons

When planting a garden, you really need to plan in accordance with the seasons. Most plants, herbs and vegetables have an optimal time during the year when you should plant. Putting them in at the wrong time of year is just going to be a waste of money, as they will likely die.

Your local nursery is a good place to gain knowledge. The staff working there will be able to tell you which plants work best in your area, when to plant and how to look after them. Use their expertise.

Start small

Remember that you’re a beginner. Just because those backyard renovation shows can do a complete makeover in a few days doesn’t mean you can. They usually have a big crew of experienced people working on them.

While you’re a novice, tackle one small job at a time. It will stop you becoming completely overwhelmed. If you feel that way, you’re more likely to quit or take short cuts to get it done.

If you work on small projects, it will also be more achievable and you’ll probably enjoy the work a lot more.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start landscaping today.

Be sure to view the Australian Government resource on typical landscaping rules and best practices for Aussie homes.