Assess Your Landscaping Needs

To obtain an effective landscape, you must know your family's and your yard's needs.

Some landscaping ideas are born full-grown. New homeowners have been known to put in a pool before they unpack their boxes. But most plans take longer to gain shape. And so they should, because the process of assessing your family's and your yard's needs -- and figuring out the best solutions -- is essential to creating an effective landscape.

The Present

For this leafy landscape,
the homeowners incorporated
existing trees in their plan.

Begin by looking critically at what you've got. As you live in your house through the next cycle of seasons, compile a list of small and large blessings already in place: the shade, bloom, or fruit of a special tree, or the view at sunset or when the winter trees are bare. At the end of 12 months you may be pleasantly surprised at just how long your list is.

A year of surveying your situation may seem excessively long, but taking your time has a built-in advantage: If you move too fast, you could destroy one of your yard's present pluses before you are even aware of it.

During the year also compile a list of dislikes about your setting: lack of privacy or outdoor living space, for instance, or too much wind or too little light. Good landscaping can solve most, if not all, of your yard's shortcomings.

Continued on page 2:  Purpose in Mind