What to Keep in Mind Before Your Landscaping Project Begins

April 23, 2022

Professional landscaping transforms any house into a home. Your property should exemplify your style and work seamlessly with your region’s climate. Ready to start your yard upgrade? These are a few things to keep in mind before your landscaping project begins. With some planning and coordination, a professional team will create the best design for your property.

Table of Contents

1. Meet the Contractors to Define Your Vision

Landscapers and clients should have the same vision for a property. That vision won’t align with every professional team, so meet with multiple contractors to discuss how they’d make your ideal landscape a reality. They should be able to discuss their previous projects, years of experience, and any specific expertise they’ve developed over the years.

You’ll know you’ve found the right team when they can provide what you’re looking for within your budget and timeframe.

2. Prepare a List of Questions

When your landscaper sits down to discuss the specifics of your project, you may have a few questions in mind. It’s all too easy to forget those questions as the meeting progresses, so write them down and pull out the list when needed.

Your contractor should be able to answer questions to clarify their expertise or set your mind at ease, like:

  • How many years have you been in business?
  • How long is your average project?
  • Where do you source your plants?

Don’t be afraid to ask anything, even if a question seems obvious. You should feel confident about every aspect of your project before it begins. The landscaping team is there to make the process transparent.

3. Pick Plants That Thrive in Desert Climates

Weather is an essential factor to keep in mind while picking your future plants. You’ll minimize your caretaking work and ensure an excellent investment in paying professionals to design the property for you. If your plants can’t tolerate your average weather, it could become costly to replace them or redesign your landscaping.

Desert climates are especially challenging for people who want to upgrade their property. You’ll need plants that can withstand extreme annual heat and don’t need too much water.

Considering tough, beautiful species such as the pineleaf penstemon, bunny-eared cactus, or red hyssop will guarantee the long-term success of your landscaping. A professional team can provide more options that match your project’s vision.

4. Consider Future Family Growth

Unless you plan to move in the next few years, you’ll need to think about your future before finalizing a landscaping plan. Young kids might need a swingset or sandbox that requires plenty of open grass. Even if your family doesn’t use outdoor areas now, everyone could benefit from them later on if your family expands.

Desert hardscaping creates the perfect space for multipurpose areas by lining a section of your yard with wood chips, gravel, or synthetic grass. Kids could play sports or hang out with their friends while doing outdoor activities that support their development. Pets would also benefit from landscaping that improves their quality of life by designating bathroom spots with hardscaping that won’t wilt or die after exposure to urine.

5. Research Plant-Watering Schedules

Research Plant-Watering Schedules

Every plant needs water, even the species that thrive in desert conditions. Once you've selected the plants for your yard, consult your landscaper about their watering schedules. You can make a rough plan outlining which plants will need water on which days of the week. After they're in the ground, you'll develop a routine and update your schedule as needed.

Creating a watering plan is a crucial step to keep in mind before your landscaping project begins. You'll avoid wasting water by overwatering plants that don't need it and get expert advice from experts who know your plant species well.

Timing is everything when it comes to landscaping projects. If possible, avoid starting a project during the height of summer when it's more difficult for root systems to form. A professional landscaping team can help you find the best start date for your project based on where you live and your selected plants.

If you need to start your landscaping project during the summer, it's always a good idea to learn the symptoms of heat illness and have a response plan prepared. While you're working outside or supervising a landscaping team, watch for:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Lack of sweating

These symptoms can lead to conditions like dehydration and heatstroke. Staying safe is a crucial part of what everyone should keep in mind before their landscaping project begins or if extreme heat delays it.

7. Think about Your Pets

Certain plants may thrive on your property, but they can be poisonous to curious pets. Dogs and cats may try to eat plants with new smells after your project ends, so avoid choosing any species that may harm their health. This is also something to keep in mind if you plan to get a pet in the future.

Some common Arizona plants are toxic and could cause an emergency vet visit. Flowers like oleander and lantana have poisonous nectar, while azaleas and daffodils kill animals with their stems. Your landscaper should be aware of any current or future plants so they can replace toxic species with safer alternatives.

8. Learn about Permaculture

Periods of drought are inevitable in desert climates, so permaculture may help your yard maintain its appearance. Bill Mollison coined the term for permanent agriculture and made it applicable to all types of properties. It's a philosophy that works with nature to create sustainable plant systems. Anyone who lives in extreme heat can use it to their advantage.

Your landscaping team can place plants in water-prone areas of your property to help them naturally access rainwater runoff. You might also cover bare ground with hardscaping materials like a stone patio to reduce how much space requires watering. Your yard will become more sustainable and withstand intense heat without issue.

9. Track the Sunlight and Shade

Some parts of your yard may not provide the best environment for plants if you place them along the sides of your home. Desert plants need full sun, so they may wither and die if accidentally placed in those spots.

In the weeks or months before your project starts, watch which parts of your yard get the most sun. You won't have to uproot and relocate plants later on if you're confident about their best placement during your project.

It's also crucial to note which areas of your property have the most shade. Although desert plants can spend all day in the sun, they'll also benefit from the cool relief of shade every once in a while. Watch where the shadow of your home, trees, and other existing yard features fall during the day to better plan your future landscaping projects.

10. Build a Walkway

Anyone who will spend time in their yard with family or friends may need a walkway to get to features like a dining table or pool. It's an excellent resource for anyone in a desert climate because it's another hardscaping feature that minimizes your watering routine.

Consult your landscaping team about using materials like flagstone or stepping stones that won't crack when exposed to intense heat.

11. Contact Your HOA

It's easy to get lost in landscaping daydreams, but your homeowners association (HOA) could fine you if they disapprove of your plans. When your landscaper finalizes your project, email a copy to your HOA board for approval. They may remind you of existing restrictions regarding types or sizes of plants allowed in their community. You'll save plenty of time and money by getting their approval and making adjustments as needed before your landscaping team arrives.

12. Reflect on Your Schedule

Even the best landscaping team can experience unexpected delays. Projects can take more time than clients and professionals discussed, so reflect on your schedule for the next few months.

If you'll leave town for an extended vacation or have another routine interruption, it might be wiser to wait until afterward to begin your project. You'll be available to supervise the daily progress and immediately begin the required watering schedule to help your plants take root after the landscaping team finishes.

Remember These Landscaping Project Tips

Now that you know what to keep in mind before your landscaping project begins, contact a professional team today. They'll meet with you to discuss your vision, render a high-quality 3D design, and streamline the planning process when you're ready to start transforming your property.

Rose MorrisonRose Morrison
Rose Morrison

Rose is the managing editor of Renovated and has been writing in the home living industry for over five years. She’s most passionate about sustainable living and incorporating those habits into daily life. For more from Rose, you can follow her on Twitter.

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The attention to detail was great. I wanted things that were even, straight, lined up. When you see something in a magazine you want it to look like that, and that’s what my yard looks like!

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