By Amanda Strack, Conservation Garden Park
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when looking at your landscape and dreaming up all the possibilities that could exist there. But, if you break up your dream landscape into manageable projects, the overwhelming starts to become reality. Taking on one project at a time can help you actualize your dreams while maintaining your budget. When trying to decide which project to start first, make a list. Then itemize that list into groups of priorities and pick a project that you are confident you can accomplish within one season. This sequence can help prevent you from being overwhelmed by cost and responsibilities and will help you focus on one project at a time.
Creating a list sounds so simple and obvious but it’s amazing how beneficial it is to see things written down. Your list will evolve while you are creating it and may surprise you with how many more projects appear once you start thinking about it. Your list will help you keep track of what you have completed and what you still aspire to complete.
Once you have your list of projects, itemize them by priority. Projects in the landscape that could cause damage or lead to an injury should be at the top of your list. Things like large trees with dead or broken branches that may fall on objects or people should be taken care of. Paths that are lifting or separating are also a priority. Broken fences that compromise your safety or security should be fixed. Then group the rest of your projects from small scale to large. Last on your list will be the larger projects that require some lengthier planning for your budget and/or may require getting a few bids to complete. These may be the addition of gathering areas, an in-ground pool, or pouring concrete.
Look over your list and note projects that you can complete yourself or that you know your budget will be able to support in one season. Things such as adding paths, moving plants around or changing irrigation may be all you are capable of the first year, but the key is to pick realistic projects that you will be able to complete. Some of your larger projects may require some initial small tasks. Sort through these processes and begin the smaller portions. This will make the larger projects easier to complete. Adding the edging to a path or activity zone is a small project, but it adds a lot to the landscape and helps better define the space for when you can complete the rest of the project. As time progresses, so will your landscape transformation.
Landscape projects can feel overwhelming and impossible to begin. Making a list, prioritizing your projects, and starting with one piece of the project at a time can really make a landscape transformation feel attainable. When you look at larger projects in pieces, you will see that there is more that you can do than you first realize. If you need inspiration, visit Conservation Garden Park. Spring is around the corner and we always have someone who can answer your questions. Find us online at conservationgardenpark.org.