Depending on where in the country you live, fall and winter can be a good time to install certain components of your landscaping, giving you a head start on spring planting time. This is especially true of warm climates. If you live in the desert southwest, fall is planting time for desert natives, so don't wait until spring if you already have a good idea of what you would like to plant and where.
However, even if winter prevents you from outdoor installation projects, you can certainly proceed with the design process, which can take some time to develop.
Hire a landscape designer
Unless you feel confident of your ability to design your landscaping without professional help, consider hiring a professional. Even if you are confident, you might consider hiring a landscape designer to at least consult with you before making any final decisions.
Hiring a design professional is worth the expense, since they will provide you with a design meeting all of your requirements and desires. Their expertise is important when considering the right plant selection for the right spot. Additionally, they can offer suggestions to help you plan out the installation in the correct sequence.
Install underground components
Before you dig any holes and plant any plants, all underground components should be installed first. This includes irrigation systems, outdoor lighting, plumbing for water features, and gas lines for barbeque grills or outdoor kitchens.
If you have irrigation or electrical wiring that will end up underneath concrete slabs or masonry walls, now is the time to make sure they are sleeved properly with PVC pipe to make repairs easier.
Install hardscape components
Installation of all paths, walkways, raised planters, patios, and decorative walls and other hardscape design features should all be in place before any plants go in the ground.
Ensure proper drainage
Making sure your yard drains properly after a hard rain should be addressed before planting. Whether this includes simple swales to direct water away from your home or patio, or drainage pipes underground, all of these items can be designed and placed before spring.
Install water features
Depending on your climate, installing water features can take place prior to plantings. Whether this feature is a rock waterfall, cascading stream, or pre-fab fountain, setting them in place before spring will give you time to ponder plant selection.
Linda is a landscape architect and certified arborist in southern Arizona. With over 20 years experience in landscape design, she also has a passion for all plants and gardening. As a freelance writer for a number of websites, she has produced hundreds of articles on plants, plant care, and design.
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