If you have your heart set on transforming your landscape, it’s always a good idea to understand the process before you dive into your project. Knowing what to expect when it comes to landscape design and construction in NJ will make you a more savvy homeowner, and you’ll be prepared to hit the ground running with your landscape architect. You’ll also understand what a big project will require and be able to plan around it accordingly.
So, what does it take to install a custom landscape project in your backyard? Here are the basic steps involved. The timeline for each step will vary depending on many factors, including the size of your property, the materials you choose and the nature of the work you’ve chosen. The general process, however, can be streamlined when you work with a professional landscape design company in NJ.
Before Breaking Ground: The Design Phase
There’s a lot that goes into your landscape long before the first backhoe dips into the earth. In fact, the most important design work happens long before anyone touches a tool. The design phase is a creative one, and while it may not look like anything is happening outside, it’s all about working with ideas and laying plans.
To begin with, your landscape designer will meet with you to learn about your vision for your property. Though it may feel like “just talking,” this is a hugely important aspect of the overall design process. Don’t be shy about describing what you want out of your new landscape. Some things you’ll discuss include the following:
- How you plan to use the space
- What you like about your property and views
- What you hope to change or camouflage about your property
- Your personal sense of style
- The specific features you want to include
- Materials and looks that you like
If you haven’t given much thought to these specifics, it can be helpful to make a wish list before meeting with your designer. Gathering inspirational photos of landscapes you love can also be helpful in getting your ideas and tastes across. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!
Once your designer has a sense of what you want, they’ll inspect your property in person to understand everything about it, including the general layout, the flow of foot traffic, the way the sun creates shadows at different times each day, the microclimates of your property and the condition of the soil, grade and other unique features of your lot. Once this fact-finding mission is complete, they can begin working to come up with the perfect design — one that combines your hopes with the realities of your property.
Getting Organized: The Planning Phase
Once you’ve worked with your landscape architect to approve the general layout of your project, there’s still plenty of work to be done before workers arrive on your property. Your designer will consult with you to make all the materials selections required for the project, including pavers, natural stone, countertops, appliances, lighting and plants. This is like a shopping spree on paper, and it can feel overwhelming if you haven’t given much thought to the final look of your project. It’s always a good idea to ask for advice or for help in narrowing the choices — a great designer is always ready to step in with guidance!
Landscape design and construction in NJ also comes with a healthy dose of red tape and paperwork in the form of building permits. Each city and township has its own rules about residential building, so your landscape designer may need to present the drawings and apply for permits as needed to make your project legal. This process can be time-consuming; it’s always best to work with someone highly experienced so you don’t waste valuable time getting up to speed on the logistics of City Hall.
Breaking Ground: The Building Phase
Once your landscape architect has ordered materials and done all the behind-the-scenes work required to secure permits, it will finally be time to schedule the work. They will let you know if there’s anything you need to clear out of the way ahead of time, along with a start date so you have time to prepare. If you have pets that are used to roaming the yard, you may need to make alternate arrangements for them during the construction phase. Likewise, you may have to park elsewhere.
It’s important to note that NJ weather can be highly unpredictable: sleet and late spring frosts can slow down your timeline, as can high winds or strong summer thunderstorms. Installing plantings and lawn, as well as installing hardscapes require good weather conditions, so even the best-laid timelines are subject to change. This is a good thing! You don’t want to work with a landscape architect who is willing to rush through a project and provide substandard results just to move on to the next gig. Making sure conditions are right will ensure a landscape that stands the test of time.
Finding the Right Landscape Designer
The best way to ensure that you get the results you’re looking for is to work with a professional. When you choose someone with experience designing and building landscapes in NJ, you’ll get a functional, beautiful yard that is perfectly designed for local conditions. A great landscape is never a DIY job, so make sure you partner with someone you can trust.