Pop quiz: why do you want a new landscape?
For better curb appeal? More space for the kids to play? A spot to grow your vegetable garden? Is it so that you can spend more time entertaining outdoors, or enjoy the summer poolside? Perhaps you want to create a peaceful sanctuary, or maybe even make the neighbors just a little bit jealous.
Whatever your goals, a landscape master plan will get you there. It’s the document that will define your wishes and address any obstacles you face with your property. And it will serve as the roadmap for your project, helping you to budget effectively for the outdoor space of your dreams.
The challenge for some people, is that it takes time, and yes, money, to develop a good master plan. And in the face of the time and money needed for the investment in landscaping, homeowners may wonder why they need this step at all.
Much as you wouldn’t build a home without an architectural blueprint, you can’t build your “outdoor home” without one, either. Here are some excellent reasons why a master plan is an essential component of a beautiful landscape.
It Gets The Job Done Right The First Time
Have you ever come home with a handful of paint swatches, and liked the pale green, but wondered what it might look like on *every* wall? Have you ever, in fact, painted an entire room or even a single wall only to be dismayed by how it completely changed the lighting in the room, in a way that you didn’t expect?
Or maybe you bought a piece of artwork, only to bring it home and hate the way it looked over the sofa. Perhaps you bought a new sofa, only to realize that it didn’t even fit in the room at all!
These are not unlike the challenges of designing a landscape. Your landscape architect must take so many factors into consideration – from where the sun falls throughout the day to whether or not your patio will end up on top of the septic tank – that it would be impossible to landscape without a plan.
When you’re investing in something like a landscape, wouldn’t you rather do it once – the right way – than end up with a result you didn’t expect, don’t like, and that perhaps causes more problems than it solved? Don’t you want to know that your money is being spent wisely?
That’s the primary job of your master plan!
It Helps You Define Your Goals
So you think you want a patio. But you definitely don’t want the hassle of a pond. Before you get to that, a master planning consultation will get to the bottom of what you *really* want out of your space. Not just the specifics, like patio or pond, bistro table or picnic area, but the big-picture desires.
What do you want to use your space for? Is it for entertaining, for relaxing, for family, or a personal space just for you? Do the kids need to play? Do the adults want to sit with a cocktail?
You may be envisioning cozy bistro seating, but if you love to host big parties, that’s probably not going to suit your lifestyle. A master plan will start with *you*. What do you want? How do you enjoy outdoor living? And it will branch out from there to accommodate those preferences, helping you not only to create the space but to “see” it, and even fall in love with it, as it begins to take shape.
Oh, and that pond you absolutely, definitely didn’t want? Once you start to see and understand how everything works in the context of your lifestyle, your preferences and your space, you may just find out one day that it was the best addition you ever made.
A Master Plan Works With The Positives – And Around The Negatives
A great landscape is more than just planting some attractive flowers and making sure the lawn is green. It also incorporates elements of your existing space, whether they’re ones you love, or others that persist, no matter how you try to wish them out of existence.
You may already have a patio, for example. Or you may want to preserve a tall, old tree, even as smaller ones are cut down to make space for a pool. Your master plan will respect and work with key elements of your property so that there is cohesion and flow.
Other elements may be eyesores – things like the electric meter or utility box – that can be camouflaged with strategic plantings or other natural elements. Small touches can improve the curb appeal and increase the value of your home dramatically. That should make the investment in a master plan more than worthwhile!
If you’ve ever come home with a small pot of mint and ended the summer with an entire yard full of it, you know exactly how easy it is to reap unintended consequences.
Bamboo is a prime example of unintended consequences. Planted incorrectly, it can take over entire neighborhoods. Some townships in New Jersey are even trying to ban the plant as a result. That would be unfortunate, since bamboo makes such a wonderful and beautiful privacy screen, but it’s a sad consequence of failing to plan forward.
There are other unintended consequences of a failure to plan for the future, especially where landscaping is concerned. Think about it. Trees get bigger and cast more shade. Plants and shrubs fill in and compete for garden space.
That tree you planted near a pathway or driveway spreads its roots and begins to crack pavers and blacktop.
With a master plan, none of these things will come back to haunt you. It is designed not only to create the living space you desire now, but to accommodate the space it will evolve to become over the years.
It Breaks The Project Into Manageable Chunks
As we’ve mentioned, a truly unique and beautiful landscape requires an investment, and that includes time and money. Time to allow it to grow and thrive, and money to make it happen.
If you don’t have the budget to build everything at once, your master plan will help you break the project down so that you can implement it over time, in a way that makes the most financial sense for you.
And as your landscape is phased in, your master plan will ensure that it happens in the proper order. Plants with a longer time to maturity can be planted first, for example, so that by the time you’re ready for the second or third or some subsequent phase of your project, everything will flow and cohere nicely.
Your master plan will help you prioritize elements, so that if your top priority is ensuring that the kids have a pool to play in, you can invest in that first, while the grown-up fireplace gets deferred to later.
Best yet, with your master plan you know you’ll be spending your money wisely – in a way that best suits you, and won’t require any regrettable do-overs later.
If you have visions for your property that go beyond what you see when you look out the window right now, get in touch with us for a master planning consultation. We look forward to learning about your space and your desires and hope to be part of making your outdoor dreams come true.