5 Considerations For That Backyard Project

You have a brand new home and everyone wants a backyard that is inviting – somewhere to go hangout. But there a few mistakes and pit falls you want to be sure to avoid. What can start out as a beautiful retreat can quickly become a backyard nightmare. Make sure you know your “retreat commitments” and you’ll be good to go. Here are 5 specific considerations to evaluate before diving off on that next project.

We all see those beautiful gazebos that seem to have become very popular. You can find them at any Home Depot, Lowes and even Target garden centers. Some are so fancy it’s almost like having a living room in your backyard – with built-in tables, plant stands, lamps and a variety of awning styles. Before investing in one of these pre-built “get-a-ways”, you really need to evaluate if it will work in your climate. How will it hold up to the wind, rain and sun? What looks beautiful when you buy it can quickly become faded and worn if you live in an area with harsh conditions. You may have to be willing to be vigilant in bringing things in and out of the elements. Do you have the space to store all of those extras during the months you can’t leave them outside? It looks great in the store, but how practical is it really for the outdoors? How hard will it be to replace fabrics once they get worn out by the elements (which can happen very quickly)? These are all questions you really need to ask yourself before putting out the money for one of those beautiful outdoor spaces.

Landscaping adds beauty and value to a home. But there are some things to take into consideration – especially if you hire someone to come in and design and do the landscaping. Unless you then have the budget to have someone maintain that beautiful landscaping, make sure you don’t have something more difficult to keep up with than what is within your abilities and time. Perennials add lasting color year after year but they also require a lot of work to keep them coming. If you don’t have the time or the know-how, then go with something, such as bushes, that can take care of themselves. There is nothing worse than beds of flowers that were once beautiful, but are now overrun with weeds and plants that haven’t been taken care of. It requires more than a sprinkler system to keep those plants beautiful.

Ponds and waterfalls can make a relaxing space. Once again, make sure you know what you’re in for. Maintenance can be high. Leaks and broken pumps can turn that peaceful water feature into a major headache. Aquatic plants can be expensive and sometimes have to be replaced every year. Do your homework ahead of time to avoid any future pitfalls and to know what you’re in for.

If you are working with a clean slate, be sure to project yourself into the future. What will those trees be like in 5 years and how will they affect the rest of space – other landscaping, deck space, pool space, etc. Plan for the future, otherwise you may find yourself doing a lot of “do overs”. Most people tend to “over landscape” when the space looks bare and forget to think ahead.

Consider building a deck with low maintenance materials. The investment upfront can save you time and money later. Who wants to keep refinishing the deck every couple of years? There are so many options out there now. You can have a deck with long lasting beauty for years to come and it won’t require any work on your part! Another option to consider would be a stone patio. Create a stone patio using stone indigenous to your area and not will it bring beauty to your backyard, but will hold up well over time.

Every child loves having their own play set. Ranging from the simple to the elaborate, these can be a wonderful addition if your child will get a lot of use from it. But when it comes time to sell your house, these can sometimes be more of a negative than a plus. If the potential buyer has no need for it, they may require it to be removed before they buy which can be quite a hassle – and then there is generally a bare spot to deal with once the equipment is removed. So make sure you consider all of the options before adding one to your backyard. Do you live near a park? While having a setup in your own backyard can be very convenient, many times children quickly get bored with the same old thing. You might find that the wonderful play set goes largely unused and you might be wishing you had that space for something more useful such as an entertaining space.

The key to any landscaping or backyard retreat “space” is to do your research ahead of time. Ask questions regarding maintenance, future costs and what kind of time it will require from you. What starts out as a great idea – detailed landscaping, pools, hot tubs, decks – all require upkeep and that means money and time. Will you really get the use out of it you are hoping to? Know what you are in for BEFORE you start the project. And when you finally do decide on that perfect backyard project you’ll be able to enjoy it for years to come without it being a backyard nightmare!

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