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10 Basic Landscaping Strategies For First Time Landscapers

Jul 12, 2021 | Carpet Cleaning

Creating a beautiful landscape is an excellent opportunity to show your artistic side and be one with nature. And, if it is your first time doing such, you might want to read through our tips and strategies below on landscaping Oakland for beginners. 

Source: Pexels

Landscaping is both an exciting yet challenging activity. It needs skill, knowledge, time, and effort to be successful. While many DIY videos on streaming channels make it look easy transforming an open area into one green paradise, doing landscaping, especially for first-timers, can be pretty complicated.

Here are ten basic landscaping strategies that can make your activity easier, quicker, and more fun.

#1 Plan An Attainable Landscaping Timeline

Creating something worthwhile and beautiful does not take a day to complete. Some buildings take years of planning and lots of collaboration before the project’s actual starting date. The same principle applies to landscaping. 

Landscaping has two main components – softscaping and hardscaping. It takes time to visualize mixing and matching the elements to create a perfect scene for a yard. So, our first tip is to assess and analyze how long it might take for you to do a project. 

From planning what plants to use to computing how long it will take for you to do planting and mulching, you will be able to create a more realistic timeline to finish your project.

#2 Begin With Cleaning Everything (Yes, Everything!)

Source: Pixabay

Landscaping is like painting a picture using multiple components to make it perfect. You must know where to place the trees, shrubs, floral plants, patios, and water features. But, the problem is sometimes, there are existing arrangements in your yard. So unless it is a must to preserve the current landscape, the best thing to do is to clean everything first. 

Of course, you can take out the weed. But, please bear in mind that you can save the existing plants, especially shrubs and herbs, by uprooting them carefully. As for the trees, you can include them in your new plan unless you want to remove them from your garden totally.

#3 Plan and Maximize Your Budget Well

A well-planned landscape, plus all the materials, tools, and equipment you need, don’t come in cheap. The next step you should do is to factor everything into your budget. Identify how much mulch, seedlings, stones, pipes, fertilizers, and all other landscaping materials you need and their costs. 

When unsure of what to include in your computation, you may consult with a reliable, professional landscaping Oakland company. Otherwise, you may want to get their services throughout, from planning to landscaping. Nevertheless, expect variable costs as expenses differ for each design and yard size. 

Additionally, you might need to consider allocating a portion of your budget for storage space. It is best to choose an area near or inside your garage. A shed within your landscaped garden might just be an eyesore. A typical arrangement for some communities is neighbors sharing one shed. You might want to find a neighbor with extra space in their shed. You may rent it to store your gardening tool, equipment, and supplementary materials for landscaping maintenance. It is best to find a shed with a separate space where you are the only one who has access. Nevertheless, this idea is suitable for those who want to save money on building their own storage space.

#4 Don’t Skip Out The F’s – Flowers and Function – When Planning Your Spaces

Source: Pixabay

Flowers, trees, and other plant types are softscape elements that bring color and life to your landscape. While its primary goal is to add beauty to your design, it also needs to be functional. Ultimately, you need to allocate specific spaces for every element you add, including softscape and hardscape elements. 

Here are five landscaping points that you might consider when planning spaces.

  • Are you planning on adding vegetable-bearing plants or herbs to your garden? 
  • Do you want your flora to set a path going to your home?
  • Do you want a space for relaxing, gathering, or grilling?
  • Are you going to add a water feature, or are you retaining a natural stream near your property?
  • How many open spaces do you want to incorporate in your design?

#5 Consider Your Landscape Design’s Maintenance Requirements

Keeping your landscape well-maintained is as vital as building one. As a beginner in landscaping, ensure not to overcommit yourself to your design’s maintenance task. Choose plants and fixtures, particularly for your hardscape and water features that require less maintenance. 

For example, it is best to select hydrangeas as your main flora as they thrive in most climates and need minimal pruning. Basil is best if you are planning to incorporate an herb portion into your landscape. If you want something unique, add portulacas to your list. They are cacti that do not need too much tending and can basically live on their own. 

#6 Research and Understand Your Local Climate

Source: Pexels

Each State and region differ in climate, meaning some plants may or may not thrive. For example, grass and herbs like peppermint and sage are perfect for landscaping Oakland, CA but may not be suitable for Illinois. White sand features look great in Los Angeles, CA but may seem unfit in Vermont, where winters can be long and brutal. 

Besides the usual climate, you need to consider your landscape site’s location and situation, too. Analyze the position of the sun at various times of the day. Note if your site is near a body of water like a stream or is on the hillside. 

All these factors could affect the mapping of your landscape spaces and the selection of the right plants, which could dictate whether your landscape design will be successful or not.

#7 Find a Focal Point

One of the best landscape design strategies we can share is about finding focal points of our design. Choose one part of your landscape to be the highlight of your design. Think of it this way: Begin by visioning something beautiful, bold, and big – something that can easily catch anyone’s attention. 

Your focal point will also serve as your starting point. From there, you can build smaller, specialized portions that can complement your focal point.

#8 Add More Elements Besides Plants

Source: Pexels

Shrubs, flowers, trees, grass – these elements are the first thing that comes into mind with landscaping. They are your softscape components. Equally vital elements are your patio, pots, arches, path stones, fences, and many more, which are known as your hardscape. Here are a few common hardscape components that blend with any landscape theme.


  • Wooden benches below a fruit-bearing tree or a trellis with climbing ivy
  • A concrete or metal archway with climbing ivy or placed beside high-growing shrubs
  • A decorative gate instead of a plain picket fence
  • Potted plants beside your home doors or on bricked or paved patios

These pieces will put more colors to your landscape and make it look more balanced. 

#9 Find Ways To Protect Your Landscape From Pests


Pests aren’t the best additions to your landscaped yard. And as a first-timer, this concern can be one of the most challenging concerns you can experience. Even with the varying climate in the USA, gardens and backyards can still be infested with pests, including rats, ants, cockroaches, birds, and wild animals like deer and squirrels.

Since your goal is to be one with nature, eliminate the idea of using harmful chemicals or traps for the animals. The best strategy we can share with you is implementing some measures to keep them away by making the things they target, including fruits, hard to get. For example, try to wrap fruits with mesh wires or plastic. You can also place a bird feeder on the farther side of your garden, suspended enough to keep the squirrels from spotting it.

#10 Seek Help When Necessary

Source: Pexels

Being a first-timer is not as easy as it seems to be. If you can get help, get lots of it. You can ask a family member with a wide range of knowledge with plants or your trusty neighborhood landscaping contractor. Getting the help of professionals will always be a good idea. Besides knowing what plants to pick, you can also be guaranteed that the look you envisioned for your garden can come to life. 

Takeaway Thought

Landscaping can be a fun-filled activity as you see various components, including plants, flowers, stones, etc., going together, forming a picturesque scene in front of your home. However, like any other home improvement project, you need to prepare well for it, especially if it is your first time doing so. Know the basics, understand your budget, and get all the help you can have. After all, once the project is done, you can grab a book and a drink, sit on your wooden bench, or squat on your patio and enjoy a nice lovely afternoon relaxing. 


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