Wanna Update Your Outdoor Space? Follow These Steps

Outdoor Space Update? Here is How. 

Outdoor Space Update

Now is the perfect time to update your outdoor space with a little time, hard work, and the right outdoor elements.

Step 1: Planning 

One of the best ways to improve an outdoor patio area is by starting with a master plan. Master plans don't have to be super elaborate or expensive, but they should consider all your short term and long term goals. Jesse Edmondson, a Landscape Architect, tells us, " Think long term. Make sure you consider future outdoor renovations, additions, and even pools. Be patience and your outdoor space will become a retreat rather than a head ache."

Master plans should include the following:

  • location of underground utilities
  • measurements of all structures, fencing, home 
  • locate all trees and large landscape shrubs 
  • existing patio and landscape bed lines

Once you have gathered all the necessary information, begin creating an actual plan. While it is nice to have an exact scaled version of your entire property, it is always not necessary. Plans provide guidance, and after building landscapes, parks, and cityscape for 25 years, plans are also often wrong. So, don't get hung up on the small details of trying to be perfect, spend more time on understanding the relationship in your goals to the actual space.

Ideas to consider for Outdoor Spaces 

Key Landscape Accessories for a Backyard Retreat 

  • Pergola Garden Structures 
  • Planted Olive Trees in Containers 
  • Garden benches for resting 

Best Courtyard Landscape Materials: 

  • Flagstone installed in geometric patterns 
  • Old Chicago brick installed in a running bond pattern 
  • DGA or Crushed Limestone for organic walkways 

Simple Start to Edible Gardens 

  • Herbs - Rosemary and Thyme - simple. easy. useable. 
  • Tomato - Cherry Tomatoes are easy and produce daily 
  • Squash - Flavorful and easy to grow 

Best Landscape Pool Materials

  • Pool decking - Travertine 
  • Privacy Screening - Dahoon Holly Trees
  • Patio Furniture - Sunset West 

Landscape Master Plans

Step 2: Budget

Most people want to start with a budget but if you don't have a clear understanding of all the things your master plan contains, then you won't be able to manage the complete cost of the master plan properly.

Steps to Master Plan Budgeting

List all elements of the plan and associated cost 
Prepare a list by project type 
  1. landscape 
  2. hardscape 
  3. outdoor lighting 
  4. pool 
  5. water features 
  6. irrigation 
  7. site furniture 
  8. planters & urns 

Once you have a good idea of your overall cost of the master plan, here is a simple formula to make sure you budget for all the project cost overruns, and yes there will be costs that you can not budget.  

  • Landscape, Hardscape, Irrigation, Outdoor Lighting cost X 1.178 = Budget Cost 
  • Pools & Water Features cost X 1.125 = Budget Cost 
  • Site Furniture, Planters, Urns X 1.05 = Budget Cost 

Now that you have a true budget cost, now is the time to develop the master plan phase implementation. 

Step 3 Master Plan Phase Construction  

 Creating a phased construction plan for your project requires a clear understanding of the budget and project workflow. At this point, you may want to consider working with a landscape contractor. Landscape contractors have the experience in creating projects so that you maximize your cost and budget while moving the project forward in the most efficient way.

Hardscapes and Pool construction should be done before landscapes are installed but also require irrigation sleeves, lighting layout to be done before hardscape and pools.  A landscape contractor will make sure each phase doesn't hinder future phases in the master plan.  

  • Phase 1 - Site demo 
  • Phase 2- Utility Sleeves 
  • Phase 3- Pools & Hardscape 
  • Phase 4- Irrigation & Lighting 
  • Phase 5 - Planting, Turf, Color 
  • Phase 6 - Site Furniture, Planters, Statues, Urns

 Step 4 Care & Maintenance 

Any successful outdoor master plan needs to also have a long terms care and maintenance program in place.  The number one mistake most people make in outdoor projects, the lack of long term care.  

Care and Maintenance Areas

  • Turf Maintenance 
  • Shrubs, Trees, and Flowers
  • Irrigation and Lighting 
  • Pool Care 

Working with a landscape contractor that offers aftercare programs will extend the long term success of your outdoor update.  



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