Whether you just moved into your home or resided there for years, a home’s lawn can always use an upgrade or two. Updating your outdoor areas doesn’t mean breaking the bank, so no need to peruse the classified ads for a master gardener for hire. Landscaping and hardscaping offer many ways to upgrade your home’s exterior and make the lawn sparkle.
This article considers the upgrades you can do yourself first. It then moves on to the items that need a landscape architect or master gardener for hire to complete. Every yard won’t need every project, so pick and choose accordingly.
Upgrade Your Patio Doors
From inside the home, create a grand entrance to the yard by upgrading the door that leads to it. You won’t need a master gardener for hire for this project – just mid-level handyperson skills, so you can install a pre-framed, pre-hung door. Consider the type of entry you want to create and choose a door accordingly.
Start by exploring the Milgard patio door line. The company offers an array of designs, including sliding glass doors, in-swinging French doors, or pocket glass walls. Designs like patio doors work well if you want sliding doors that open directly onto a patio or deck. Choose French doors if the home’s rear or side door opens into a garden.
If you lack carpentry skills, hire a local master carpenter for this job. Also, consider hiring this specialist if you want to widen the doorway, such as going from a single-door design to one that features double doors. Getting the joists and support beams just right on entryways keeps the home structurally sound.
Renew Your Sewage System
A rural home’s septic tank requires upkeep that most homeowners don’t fully understand when they purchase their first rural home. In large towns and cities, the home’s human waste goes down the toilet and to a waste treatment plant, where it undergoes chemical processing that makes it safe for final disposal or use as compost. In rural areas, each home typically features a septic tank, an underground holding area that collects all human waste from the toilets. These tanks don’t handle processing the waste, they simply offer a safe place to temporarily store it.
Periodically, a homeowner with a septic tank system must hire a septic pumping service to suck all the waste out of the tank and into a waste holding truck, which transports the waste to a waste treatment plant in the vicinity. Without this pumping service, the septic tank overfills and overflows into the home’s yard. Sometimes, it backs up into the home. How frequently a home with a septic system needs this septic cleaning service depends on the number of individuals in the home and their frequency of restroom use. Typically, a septic needs cleaning every three to five years.
The drain field of each septic tank requires open land to function properly. Consider this part of an open lawn area and only plant grass or other ground cover on it. Avoid planting trees or shrubs above the tank since the roots of these can grow into the tank and cause problems.
With these rules in mind, if you do contract with a master gardener for hire, explain the location of the tank and drain field, and that you only want grass growing in that area. Professional gardeners understand the need to protect a septic system and how to do so. The gardener either designs around that open lawn expanse or follows a landscaping plan that integrates the drain field into the design as an open lawn.
Stock Up on Tools
When homeowners skip looking for a master gardener for hire and do the yard work themselves, it requires stocking up on lawn supplies. Purchase a lawnmower, weed eater, rakes, shovel, hoe, wheelbarrow, and thick work gloves. Planting garden beds requires a trowel, aerators, garden hose, watering can, and the plant, of course.
Before raiding the local lawn supply store, find a few how-to articles or videos on the specific type of yard project that interests you. Bob Vila’s website offers many tutorials and videos with tool lists. By purchasing the most commonly needed tools, each homeowner covers most needs. Only a special project might require a unique tool like a ground tiller.
Fix Any Issues
Address big issues in the yard, like well pump repair, before contracting with a master gardener for hire. That’s because things like well pump work can tear up a yard. The work crew’s tools, such as backhoes and tractors cut ruts into the soil. Wait until completing the repair work to hire the gardener or landscape architect.
What other yard issues create a scenario that puts hiring the gardener last? Any work project that would require heavy machinery or excavation. For instance, if the home requires foundation work, do that work first, then hire the gardener. Foundation repair involves excavating the area surrounding the slab foundation and then re-filling it after repairing the concrete.
Because the foundation crew must remove all vegetation and soil surrounding the foundation to reach it for repairs, the area requires new plantings after repairs. Hire the master gardener after completing any home repair work, so the gardener does not need to duplicate their work.
Hire A Designer
With problems fully addressed, the homeowner can turn to interviewing for the position of master gardener for hire. Most people contract with a gardener who completes periodic work on their property. Only those who own estates, non-working ranches, farms, or mansions with extensive grounds would need a full-time gardener. In most areas, to obtain a formal landscape plan for a property, a homeowner would hire a landscape architect or backyard landscape designer.
What does a formal landscape plan entail? The term landscape plan refers to a hand-drawn or computer-assisted drawing (CAD) of the yard or grounds as the landscape architect envisions it as a finished product. This plan incorporates the homeowners’ desires for the yard’s uses and creates a drawing of what it will look like with all plants and hardscapes, like porches and decks, in place.
Each landscape plan differs in its composition, but each features grasses, flowers, and ground-level plants, shrubs, bushes, and trees. Some plans may add sculptures, large rocks, or other focal point features. Most of these plans also contain hardscapes, such as decks, porches, porticos, patios, or other walkways, sidewalks, or areas for sitting.
Hire An Arborist
While considering contracting with a master gardener for hire, also consider an arborist. This individual performs professional tree trimming that keeps the trees around a gone looking their best. An arborist also diagnoses plant illnesses and can help treat a sick tree or remove a dead tree that perished from a disease that could spread to other trees. Many landscaping firms employ both gardeners and arborists, so finding the right landscape company can speed up your yard work.
Create a Decking
Also, place contracting with a master gardener for hire behind contracting with custom deck builders. Building a deck requires some excavation, mostly for post holes. It tears up the area of the yard it gets built in until the work crew completes it. Although adding a deck raises the value of a home, it also ruins its curb appeal during construction.
The master gardener helps rectify this situation after the deck construction crew finishes their part. Typically, the gardener plants shrubs or bushes around the deck’s edge or flower beds around it. These plants help anchor the soil in place, avoiding soil erosion.
Install a Swimming or Reflecting Pool
Many yards benefit from a water feature, such as a swimming pool, reflecting pool, koi pond, Jacuzzi, or hot tub. Any of these options adds beauty and utility to the landscape. Swimming pools, hot tubs, and Jacuzzis all provide recreational options while reflecting pools and koi ponds offer tranquil areas to converse or read.
Each of these options requires excavation and a professional installation crew if the homeowner chooses to install an in-ground option. Local pool installation professionals typically handle pools of all kinds, waterfalls, Jacuzzis, and hot tubs. Landscaping crews that also install water features and hardscapes often install koi ponds.
Hold off on hiring your gardener or gardening crew until you finish the water feature. They will need to create landscaping to surround it, too. These plantings help work it into the remainder of the yard.
Hire a Lawn Professional
Hire a commercial lawn maintenance company to help maintain the work done by the landscape architect and master gardener for hire. The maintenance crew usually mows and edges the lawn once every two weeks and clears the hardscapes and yard of leaves and debris using a leaf blower. Other maintenance might include setting up the sprinkler system, aerating the soil in spring, or raking and bagging leaves in fall.
Some of these professionals also weed garden beds and treat the yard for pests that munch on plants. Phone each lawn maintenance company under consideration and ask which services they provide. Do they include some services in a flat-rate service package? During the holidays, do they offer additional services, like hanging exterior lights or organizing exterior decorations?
Add Decorative Displays
A master gardener for hire may suggest decorative displays that add utility and beauty to the yard. This includes stone benches and tables, marble or other rock sculptures, or metal sculptures. The phrase decorative displays means far more than holiday lights in December or a Santa and reindeer display in the yard during December, although it does include those.
Consider decorative displays in the yard to welcome each season. These secular displays offer curb appeal to everyone and complement your home. Landscaping offers one of those aspects of curb appeal that can cost little, but add lots of value. Maintaining the yard and adding seasonal displays or plantings can ramp up curb appeal affordably.
Let’s consider a few examples. In spring, a few potted flowers lining the sidewalk can add color to the yard without requiring digging. Welcome summer with an archway covered in climbing ivy at your front yard gate opening banked on either side by potted palm or palmetto trees. A porch display of pumpkins and gourds sets up the landscape for fall, while potted mulberry trees (faux ones in cold climates) on either side of your front stoop or porch welcome visitors.
Which Projects Suit Your Home
Every homeowner won’t need to complete every project in this article. Depending on the situation, none might apply. How does a homeowner decide what to do to upgrade their yard? Start by making a list of the desired uses for the yard.
Some homeowners only want a large, grassy open space for their children’s play. Other homeowners want to entertain guests in the backyard at barbecues or picnics. Some individuals prefer an island deck or gazebo to a deck or patio attached to the home. What each wants works best for them, within the confines of the yard itself.
Preparing the Landscape for Building Hardscapes
What do we mean? Some yards require significant leveling before they can accommodate a gazebo or other structure. Certain soils cannot sustain heavy structures and require trucking in additional soil types to create a stable base for the structure. Typical loamy soil mixtures don’t exhibit this problem, but sandy areas and those with hard-packed, rocky soil need different soil types added to create a suitable base for a slab foundation.
That means hiring a soil expert and adding to the soil composition before planting or constructing anything. The ground may also require the removal of rocks, pebbles, or seashells. Some areas contain coal or slate in the first few feet of soil, which the homeowner discovers when putting in a swimming pool, underground storm shelter, or wine cellar.
Getting Started on Your Lawn Upgrades
Not every homeowner needs to complete every project listed here. Some dream of other ideas for their lawns, but lack the know-how to get started. Contact a landscape architect or master gardener for help.