Taken in mid-March. Things are a little greener now that the leaves have filled in, but there still isn't much going on at the ground level.
So far it's been a really great experience, so I thought I'd share the process!
First, we walked around the yard with the landscaper, so he could get a look at what he had to work with. It's mostly a blank canvas, with just some scraggly bushes near the front of the house, so that made things easy.
Then we went over our wish list. Which was pretty simple. We wanted low maintenance, and some greenery and color, even during the time of the year when everything else is brown. And keeping our existing trees was important to us, since we love that the shade keeps our A/C bills down. We also really wanted a pathway that would cut through the middle of the yard, since it is a pain to have to walk all the way up the driveway to the existing walkway that runs along the front of the house. Our UPS guy just stomps across the middle of the yard anyway, so we figured a pathway from the street would be a nice addition. Basically, we were looking to improve our curb appeal, with as little upkeep as possible.
We didn't even really talk too much about different kinds of plants at this stage, since really, we are very, very far from experts. Being that we grew up on the west coast, we had no clue what would grow out here. But the landscaper was able to point out a few trees and bushes that our neighbors had, as well as show us some ideas from his binder. They all looked pretty to us though, so we gave him the go ahead to put together a plan for us, with a lot of room for suggestion, since we didn't have that strong of opinions to begin with.
Three weeks later, the landscaper came back out to meet with us again, to go over his design, below.
Custom Design by Artworks Landscaping
The design was accompanied by a plant list, corresponding to the numbers drawn on the design layout, along with the recommended quantities. The landscaper showed us a few photos of some of the plants, and walked us through where the various things would be planted, and where he would shape our existing lawn, etc.
At this point, we had everything we needed to implement the landscaping design ourselves, if we wanted to. Which.....yeah, we really don't! I have a black thumb to begin with, and the thought of spending half our summer digging in dirt and planting things in the humidity just doesn't sound like an enjoyable way to spend our time. But it would be a great option to work with a landscaping designer just to get a plan in place and DIY the planting yourself, if you were so inclined. The going rate (and what we paid) in our area for custom design plans is $80 per hour, and ours took 3 hours total, since we have such a large yard. But it was well worth the expense to us, given our pretty complete lack of plant knowledge, other than "that one looks pretty" or "I like hydrangeas."
So our homework was, if we wanted to continue working with the landscaper, to look up all of the plants in the design plan, and make sure we liked them all. We were also given some choices for specific areas that we needed to narrow things down.
Here's the plants/trees we were recommended, courtesy of Google images:
Sasanqua Camellia "Kanjiro" (Qty 10)
Goldmound Spirea (Qty 32)
Otto Luyken Laurel (Qty 11)
August Beauty Gardenia (Qty 2)
Annabelle Hydrangea (Qty 9)
Variegated Radicans Gardenia (Qty 10)
Laceleaf Japanese Maple (Qty 1)
Creeping Jenny (Qty 5)
Itea (Qty 18)
Edgeworthia (Qty 3)
Snowball Viburnum (Qty 13)
Formosa Azalea (Qty 5)
Forest Pansy Redbud (Qty 3)
Flowering Dogwood (Qty 3)
Forsythia (Qty 4)
Impatiens (Qty 3)
Encore Azalea (Qty 5)
Hostas (Qty 12)
Creeping Phlox (Qty 6)
To get a better feel for the distribution of colors and plants, I did a little cut and paste over the design plan, for a more clear visual of what our yard could eventually look like.
And once we confirmed we liked all of the plants and made our choices, we were able to get a detailed quote, which was pretty reasonable in our opinion, considering there are over 150 plants in the plan. We were encouraged to get quotes using the design from other landscapers, which we are still waiting on, but we are so excited to be getting a total front yard makeover in the near future! Honestly, we're glad to for once write a check and have something done for us, instead of going the DIY route. It is only going to take 5-6 days to do the entire install, instead of the weeks and weeks it would take us to do it ourselves. Which just means more time for us to concentrate on other, more fun projects!
Who else is thinking about plants this spring? And has anyone else ever worked with a landscape designer before?