Landscaping On A Budget In Canadian Soil
Now that spring has sprung many people are anxious to get outside to start on their landscape projects. However, for many the mere thought of doing landscaping can lead to sleepless nights and visions of empty bank accounts.
Over the years I have worked with many clients who have fallen into this category, they want to bring their yard to life but they are worried about the costs associated with undertaking the project. In many cases they are first time homeowners who have never landscaped before and have heard stories from friends and family of how much their backyard retreats have cost.
They also may have simply wandered into a garden centre only to have been overwhelmed by names and price tags. On top of that, many folks today are both budget conscious and “green” conscious and want to bring both of these items to the table when beautifying their property.
Landscape Design- The Plan
As a landscape designer the first thing I ask my clients is about their budget – right away you need to know how much you want to spend on the project initially and long-term. Let me explain, when you undertake a landscape project it is important to know how much money you want to spend on the project when you are done putting everything in the ground (no pun intended).
Now for some people they plan to approach the project over a number of years and plan to allot “x” number of dollars per year. Other people may prefer to approach the project as a “one time shot”.
Either way, write those numbers down. That is your initial budget. If you have never gardened before you are going to need some tools – this can be a significant investment and worth buying the right tools the first time rather than replacing them year after year. Budget for these as well.
The Before- Here is a home before it was Landscaped
Now in terms of long-term landscaping budget, ask yourself –
- do you plan to plant annuals in your garden each year? Yes – that’s going to cost money each year so you need to budget for that.
- do you want to use city water to irrigate the gardens? If so, that will impact your water bill so you will want to take that into account and if you don’t plan to water or want to reply on rain barrels you will want to consider plant materials that are more drought tolerant or native.
- do you plan to use decorative mulch in your beds? If so, this will need to be topped up every year or so to keep it looking fresh and to maintain its garden friendly properties.
- you will also want to budget for regular maintenance costs such as fertilizers, etc.
Landscape Design Needs vs Wants
Once you have developed your budget, I suggest drawing up a list of “needs” and “wants“. This is important because a lot of people get the two confused, especially when planning something as exciting as a new entertaining space and it is easy to blow through your budget with things you “want” while forgetting the things you “need”. Sure you might “want” that nice fountain but you really “need” a patio to accommodate your extended family on long weekend Backyard BBQ party.
It’s also important to determine what area of your property you want to landscape first – is your front yard the area that is most important to you (it may be if you are planning to sell in the near future or if the entrance is a safety hazard), or is the backyard the most important because it will be your “staycation” spot for summer weekends? Involve the entire family during this process, it can be a lot of fun coming up with ideas and searching out photos!
During this phase one of the biggest things I advise people to do, and not just because it is what I do but because I believe in it for any kind of project you might do, is to seek professional advice. By searching out the advice of a professional you are likely going to save yourself money. I know this might sound backwards, spending money to save money?
Listen to this – by spending the money to have a consultation or have a plan done by a professional who knows what plants will do best in a certain area (ie: in that dark, dry shady corner or beside the driveway where you pile your snow) or how to best design a patio around your windows and doors will ultimately save you both the time and the hassle of trial and error.
I have met people who have spent thousands of dollars on plant material only have it fail time and time again because they had planted it in the wrong space. A quick 1-1/2 consultation could have saved them some of that money and let them spend it on something else.
Landscaping Home Re-sale Value
Landscaping is a great asset to your home and in many cases will retain its resale value more than a bathroom or kitchen renovation. Curb appeal is a big factor for a lot of people when they are looking at homes, so many people can’t see the potential of a home when the pull up and see nothing. Do you ever reading the listings for houses for sale? Notice they always mention the landscaping? It’s an important selling feature!
The project below is a simple front yard renovation that was completed in one day for a client. The clients had a budget that they wanted to stick to. By telling me their budget and meeting with me to discuss what they wanted to accomplish (give the house curb appeal without having to add annuals each year, wanted year round interest and some “feature” plants) I was able to take their budget and make it work for them – infact we came in UNDER budget and included all the features they wanted! The 2 hour consultation they had paid off as they weren’t left guessing which plants to select, and where the plants should be planted.
The AFTER- After landscaping, what an Impact to the home!
© Landscape Designs by Jodie Munshaw 2012
Contribution Post By: Jodie Munshaw is a Certified Landscape Designer providing her clients with custom landscape designs and garden consultation services that meet both their needs and their budgets. With over 15 years in the green industry, Jodie has worked on projects of many sizes and styles and works from Cottage Country through the GTA. Jodie shares her love of the industry by volunteering with the provincial landscape organization and teaching at Humber College.
What’s Up Next In The Landscaping On A Budget Series:
We will talk about how to tackle your project in phases so you don’t do things twice, sourcing materials, buying to get the best deal, ensuring success when planting, plant guarantees, how landscaping can save you money AND save the environment!
Are you NEW to Canadian Budget Binder?
- Follow Mr.CBB on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest
- Subscribe to Canadian Budget Binder>> Everyone else has, why wait!
- Do You Have A Question For Mr. CBB? The best way to get in touch with me is on Facebook
- How I Turned My Passion and Skills Into Making Extra Money (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- How I Reduced Our Grocery Budget From $1100 To $600 In 6 Months (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Dumpster Diving~The Top 5 Rules For Finding The Good Free Stuff! (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling In Canada Part 2 of 2 (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Starting Our Frugal Garden From Seed (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Shopping Tips We Use To Save Money (canadianbudgetbinder.com)