Chances are if your landscape has been in for 15 or more years it is overdue for renovation. Even if your landscape was well planned and maintained for the long haul, a decade and a half’s worth of growth is almost guaranteed to leave it looking a bit unkempt. Crowded roots, straggly growth, overgrown trees and shrubs, bare spots, ho-hum or dated appearance: these are all signs it’s time for an overhaul.
If you’re reading this and nodding your head in recognition, here are some landscape renovation ideas to consider this spring.
First, Decide What To Ditch
Landscape renovation is a lot like home renovation. You’ll have some things you’ll want to keep and/or refurbish, new stuff you’re excited to add...and stuff that’s just gotta go. Here’s a handy checklist of what to get rid of:
- Your foundation planting. Somewhere in the 1950s, America took a strange turn. The ranch home was invented, and with it, the air conditioner and the foundation planting. The idea, of course, was to hide an ugly house. But what’s the point when what you’re hiding it with is just as ugly? Things like juniper or those out-of-date, plastic-looking sticky hollies...which are now overgrowing your walkway or suckering out to conquer the entire bed. They’re no longer in style, and are now suffocating your house. Just chuck ‘em!
- Poorly placed plants. Yes, I’m talking about that ginormous crepe myrtle someone planted four feet from the foundation, which is now knocking the eves off your house and dripping stainy blooms all over your home. It’s OK. You can get rid of it. You have my permission.
- Trees that aren’t working. We all love our trees. But let’s face it, there are some (quite a few, actually) trees that simply should not be planted in Georgia lawns. Here are a few:
- Your Bradford Pear. Y’all know the drill: these trees explode when they reach 25 years of age and split down the middle. Just pull it up now. You know you’ve got to do it, go ahead. Bradford pears make excellent firewood.
- That maple tree you bought at the big box store over a decade ago. Take a good look. The bark is split, aphids are running up and down it and the roots are killing your lawn mower. It was the wrong tree planted for the right reason in the wrong place. Maples are good for more than just firewood. They make great guitar necks, fine furniture, and are not too bad for smoking pork. Fire up the chainsaw and the barbeque, both.
- The dogwood tree you got from Grandma's. It’s now 30 years old and succumbing to anthracnose. It may be sculptural, but c’mon. It’s time. Let it go and replace it. Grandma will be okay with it. Really.
- Overshadowed plants. Assuming you have nice trees you do want to keep, they’re now 15 years older than when your landscape was new...and cast a LOT more shade. That’s great—but it means that many of the plants and shrubs that were wonderful when the trees were tiny are spindly and weak from too much shade. Bless them and say goodbye. They did their duty. It’s time to let them go and find something else that will appreciate a shadier environment.
Of course, sometimes you may find a nice older tree or shrub that’s worth saving. If it’s still in good health, is located where it makes sense, and you like the plant itself, a bit of thinning and clearing out around it may be all it needs. Or, pruning it in a different way may turn it into a wonderful accent for your yard.
Then, Bring In The New...
Once you’ve removed your old overgrown plants and half dead trees, it’s easier to imagine the possibilities for turning your property into a showpiece. Here are some ideas for spring landscape additions:
- Appropriate shade or ornamental trees. Trees help keep your home cooler and are beautiful to look at. If you’ve just ripped out a bunch of duds, you may want to consider replacing them with nice trees that will do well in our area. Check out our recent post on the best trees for Georgia lawns for our top picks.
- Updated shrubs and bedding plants. This can get exciting. There are so many plant selections available now in a more modern palette that are easier to maintain, don’t require gas trimmers every month, and are more sustainable in terms of water use and chemical requirements. Ask us for suggestions!
- New home entrance. If your house was built anytime after 1950 but before 2010 in the South that means it has a front door but no way to get to it. We think it was to keep the Fuller brush man from getting to your door—either that or you don’t like your relatives. Why don’t we act like we actually want visitors, and create a welcoming walkway and entrance to your home? With maybe a nice-looking parking court so you can take that truck off the lawn. Sound good?
- Upgrade your irrigation. Your old irrigation system was designed and placed to respond to the old plants, many of which you just chucked in the dumpster. It’s now overgrown and covered up - not to mention inefficient. There have been so many innovations and improvements in landscape irrigation in the past decades I could keep you up all night talking about it. Newer smart irrigation systems have all sorts of cool features that allow them to automatically respond to rain, shut off when not needed, and deliver precise amounts of water exactly where and when they are needed. Especially if you have a larger yard, upgrading your irrigation system will save you money, and just makes sense.
- Light it up. A wee bit of landscape lighting can make a huge difference to the appearance of your home. There are so many options in architectural lighting: we can backlight, uplight, wash, so many things for both function and effect. You can even control it all from your smart phone!
What Is The Cost Of Landscape Renovation?
A better question, perhaps, is what is the cost of not renovating your landscape? Once your landscape gets to “that certain age,” there’s no way to get it looking really good again without at least a modest renovation. Left untended, an overgrown landscape looks unkempt and depressing. It can also present very real safety hazards. Buckled and broken pavement, damage to roofs and eaves, hiding spots for predators...all these and more can be prevented with a timely landscape renovation.
The good news is that good landscaping can bring a homeowner more than 100% return on investment in terms of raising property value (according to a Clemson University study.) And, renovating your landscape doesn’t have to break the bank.
Whether you’re looking for an all-out showstopping masterpiece or more of a minimalist approach, we can help you turn that tired old yard into a work of modern art. Just call our East Dublin office at 478-272-3878, or our Macon office at 478-750-7733. Or, contact us online and we’ll be in touch soon!