With careful planning, even the most banal landscape can get a new lease on life. This ranch home featured the usual suspects: a few junipers strung along the front facade. The problem is, how do you come up with a landscape plan? And, once you come up with the plan, how do you actually get the job done? To help answer these questions, we decided to transform this ranch home into the jewel of the neighborhood.
Before you start any landscaping project, take a frank assessment of your yard's good and bad points. A cracked and broken walk, for example, will have to be replaced. But, if your foundation plants are in good shape, it's possible all they'll require is a little fertilizer and some pruning. In our case, this part of the job was easy. The home's front walk was in a bad state of repair, and the junipers growing along the facade were old and pruned so severely they resembled large mushrooms.
After reviewing your yard, you might want to drive around your neighborhood and get landscaping ideas from other homes. Take note of your favorite landscaping strategies and think about whether they'll work for you. Remember that sometimes the simplest ideas make the biggest changes. Flowers, for example, are a quick, inexpensive way to improve any entry. Masses of bedding plants along a pathway or pots of roses flanking your front door can make a big difference in your home's outlook.
Repainting is another quick and easy way to give your home a face-lift. Once an outdated rust-brown color, this ranch house was painted a more pleasing dark taupe. To add interest, inexpensive plastic shutters were added to the windows and painted a complementary shade of green.
Next, consider hiring a landscape professional to work with you. The time and money you spend working with a landscaper will probably save money in the long run. Some nurseries even offer free or discounted landscape services.
Once your landscape plan is complete, you have two choices. Do the entire project at once, or break it down into more affordable pieces. We chose to do our project in one summer, but had we broken it down, we would have done the grading and path work first, saving the planting beds for another time.