A couple of years after a move into town, we decided to redo the landscaping at our house. Not only was the 40-year-old lawn bland, some of the planting choices made by previous owners had gone sadly awry in one way or another. Either just plain wrong for the house (in our opinion) or grotesquely overgrown and unproductive at the same time, many shrubs had come to the point of no return.  It was time to take out the old and bring in the new.
Photo: sxc.hu/railking

Make no mistake-- the decision to redo your home’s landscaping is not one to be made lightly.

We had some factors in our favor:

1. Two visionaries, one with a strong back.

2. Ample time due to job flexibility in the summer.

3. Previously owned machines and equipment, such as a pickup and utility trailer, a rear-tine tiller, power tools (electric chain saw, heavy duty hedge trimmer), and various ladders including a free-standing orchard ladder.

4. Previous knowledge and experience with landscaping, including use of PVC pipe for irrigation systems.

5. A budget boost due to money set aside for an upcoming wedding reception, which we decided would be held at our home instead of a rented facility.

6. Most of all, that mysterious gardening motivation that keeps one constantly imagining outdoor scenes, seeking beautiful things to plant, and preferring the outdoors to indoors most of the time.

So the handwriting is on the wall. If you want to do your own landscaping, you need to consider the ideas at the heart of the list above. Ask yourself these questions:

Can I create an attractive plan for my home landscape?

Do I have the motivation to carry the job through to completion?

Do I have time?

Do I (or someone I can cajole, bribe, or hire) have the physical ability to dig, yank, kneel, plant, shovel, cart and lift? This is exercise, after all.

Do I have or at least have access to the necessary equipment?

Do I (or someone I can ask a thousand questions) have the knowledge and experience to make a plan and carry it out?

Can I create a budget and come up with the needed funds?

You could save yourself thousands of dollars and stand tall amid your pleasing new landscape…or, you know, not. Will it be you, or the yellow pages? If you have taken the challenge we'd LOVE to see your photos and share them with our members and visitors. Send your new landscape photos to roguevalleygardener@gmail.com with the subject "landscaping photos".

Further Reading: Give this article about sustainable landscaping a try develope by the Oregon State Extension

You might also enjoy:  The following videos cover landscaping basics (left) and some tips for developing a water area in your garden/landscaping plans (right)
Landscaping Garden Basics:: Water Landsape Gardening::

Steve is an amateur gardener and landscaper, and a highly qualified DIY-er. He and his wife Betsy (aka That Dahlia Lady) live with their dog Rudy ("Can I have a bite of that?") and cat Mack ("I hate the dog") in East Medford, where they maintain an immaculately landscaped yard.

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