5 Landscaping Tips for Beginners: Designing Your Outdoor Space

Fresh air, bird songs, and sunlight—the great outdoors offers a kind of relaxation that can’t be felt within closed doors. For landscaping veterans, that inexplicable peace that can only be felt outdoors is what motivates them to spend a lot of time and effort on this craft.

One of the best things about landscaping is that, in a way, it helps your home incorporate into your outdoor space. There’s also that fulfillment you’ll feel knowing that you’ll love spending your time outdoors more than you do indoors. It’s something you can pride yourself in, and for good reason.

If you’re still new to landscaping, welcome to the world of doing a labor of love! It’s a great hobby to partake in. But before you start donning your gardening gloves, check out these five landscaping tips for beginners.

Study the Area

When designing your outdoor space, the first step is to sit back, relax, and live in it. This isn’t a suggestion to procrastinate, mind you, but it’s a great way to survey your area.

As you’re observing what’s going around you, take note of the sun’s position and angle and the wind direction. This way, you can find out the best spots to plant trees and shrubs. You can also learn how to take advantage of the wind during hot days and sunlight during colder days. 

You might then want to get up from your seat and take measurements of your yard. For this task, you don’t really need to be a math wiz or take accurate measurements. You just have to get the rough estimate of how large of an area you’re working with, so you might want to consider using tools like trundle wheels, measuring tapes, or whatever measuring tool you have in your toolbox.

Create a Plan

Creating a plan for your landscape is easy. You don’t have to hire a professional landscaper—unless you want to, of course. 

Just pull out a graph paper and start drawing what you have in mind. You can refer to the rough measurements you’ve taken while surveying your plot. 

In your plan, include your hardscape or the man-made architectural features in your yard, such as stone walls and picket fences. At this point, you can also include the placement of trees, shrubs, and large rocks or boulders.

Most importantly, do not forget to put the location of your buried utilities on your plan. These are the spots you’ll want to avoid when landscaping. 

In case you accidentally hit a buried utility line, it can pose an extremely dangerous problem, especially if it’s a gas line. For the sake of your safety, mark your buried utilities first using outdoor marking flags, stakes, marking whiskers, or any other brightly-colored marking tool.

Learn What You Want or Need for Your Landscape

As you create your plan, find out what you want and need in your outdoor space. If you’d like to start a vegetable or herb garden, draw that up in your plan. If your kids want a slide or a jungle gym, you can include that as well.

You might also want to design a garden that suits your taste and your house’s architectural design. If your home looks like a cottage out of a fairytale, then it’s best to have a landscape that looks like a tidy forest or tamed chaos (if that makes sense!). Or if your home looks like it’s straight out of the latest issue of an architecture magazine, then you might want to consider having a modern take on your landscape design.

Remember, you don’t have to be a master landscaper to do this. It all boils down to your needs and preferences. 

Be Patient

Take baby steps. Don’t be frustrated. Achieving your dream landscape isn’t an overnight process. 

If there are so many large shrubs or trees crowding your garden, figure out a workaround. If your space is too small, choose outdoor elements that seem to open up your yard.

You might be thinking, “Why do those hosts of landscape TV shows get the job done in a day?” Well, they have a team of experts—perhaps even dozens of them—to do all the work.

In landscaping, it’s all about being patient with yourself and welcoming all sorts of problems and unexpected changes.

Start Planting

Motivation doesn’t come easy. So when you do get motivated to clean up and design your landscape, get to it! Start putting up your fences, pulling out the weeds, setting up your flower beds, planting your shrubs, and so on. As long as you have a drawn up plan and a concrete idea in mind, then you’re good to go.

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