June Checklist

Get your house ready for summer by prepping your home and garden for warm weather. These to-dos cover all the bases, so you can enjoy the season to the fullest.

Check Off Your List In An Hour Or Less

Make Your Summer Must-Do List

Beach days, lemonade, grow/ pick-your-own fruit — there is so much to look forward to in summer, don’t let it pass in the blink of an eye. Be sure you are making the most of your season by creating a list of your personal must-dos and posting it where you can see it. A big chalkboard or family bulletin board would be ideal.

Empty Standing Water Regularly

The best way to keep mosquito populations down is by regularly checking your property for standing water and emptying it. Even a saucer of water can become a mosquito nursery, so leave no pot unturned!

Create A Spot For Beach Towels And Bathing Suits 

Instead of dragging soggy, sandy beach towels through the house choose a dedicated spot, either just outside the door, a covered porch or in the mudroom. Hang a row of sturdy hooks for wet towels and bathing suits. Once dry, sand can be easily shaken off outdoors, so it doesn’t end up in your washing machine.

Bring Together Summer Necessities

Stash extra sunscreen, shades and bug repellant in a container near the front door for easy access when you’re in a rush.

Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend

Install Screen Doors

If you use them, now is the time to take down the storm doors and put up screen doors to let the summer breezes pour in. Be sure to inspect screens carefully, patching holes as needed — even a tiny hole can be enough to let in a mosquito.

Check Play Equipment For Safety 

Over time, wood, ropes and fastenings can degrade, making outdoor play equipment potentially unsafe. Check swings, zip lines, slides and other structures for safety; repair or replace as needed.

Hang A Clothesline For Energy Savings 

While the weather is nice and warm, consider skipping the dryer and hanging your clothes to dry in the fresh air instead. It may not always be possible, but even occasionally putting a clothesline or drying rack to work will save energy.

If hang-drying isn’t an option, you can still reduce your energy bill by washing in cold water, cleaning the lint trap and having your dryer vent serviced to increase airflow.

Reorganize Your Kitchen

The change in seasons is a good time to rethink how you have things arranged in the kitchen. If there are small appliances you use more in the warmer months, a blender for smoothies, perhaps, or an ice cream maker, move them to a more accessible spot, and you will be more likely to use them.

Stations devoted to a certain purpose can also do wonders. If you have children on summer vacation, create a station stocked with healthy snacks. Or create an iced-coffee bar or smoothie-making station for yourself with all needed supplies within reach.

Make Space For Summer Crafts

A dedicated space for arts and crafts can provide screen-free entertainment and a creative outlet — and it’s not just for kids! 

Organize And Put Away School Papers

If you have kids, at the end of the school year, it can be tempting to jump right into summer. But taking the time to sort through your kids school things will help prevent clutter from piling up, and you can start the summer fresh. Sort through the papers, artwork and projects from the year, choosing the best pieces to save in a portfolio or document box and then recycle the rest. If you want to preserve more than you can keep, consider scanning the artwork store it in your computer or creating a photo book with the pictures.

Keep Cooling Systems Running Smoothly

Take the time before hot weather sets in to dust ceiling fans, install window air-conditioning units and schedule maintenance for a whole-house cooling system.

Lighten Up Decor

Roll up heavy rugs, put cooling sheets on the beds and bring in accents in lighter hues for the warmer months ahead. Breezy white curtains look lovely in summer, but if the weather gets quite hot, you may want to leave heavy window coverings in place. Closing the shades during the heat of the day can actually help keep your house cooler.

Plant Bee-Friendly Flowers

Help give pollinators a place to thrive by adding bee-friendly native plants to your garden now for fall blooms. Which flower species you choose will depend on your region; ask for assistance at a local nursery specializing in native plants if you are unsure.

Keep An Eye On Irrigation Systems

A faulty sprinkler or irrigation hose that goes unnoticed can quickly cause big problems for your lawn and garden. Make a habit of checking each component once a week, especially in summer.

Give Your Garage Or Shed A Clean-Out

Since you’ll likely be spending more time in your outdoor spaces during the summer, it’s a good idea to take some time to clear out space in your storage area. Sell or give away items you no longer want and organize what’s left into zones of use: garden tools and supplies, outdoor adventures and sports gear, and household tools.

Get Seasonal Gear Ready

What with camping and beach trips, summertime activities come with a lot of gear. Get it cleaned up and ready now, so you’re not surprised by a leaky tent or blown-out beach umbrella when it’s too late to replace them. And if you plan to waterproof anything, tents or outdoor tablecloths, now is the time.

Refresh Your Bathroom

Shower curtain liner looking a little dingy? Bath towels seen better days? Give your bathroom a mini spa makeover, and swap out your tired old bath linens for fresh, fluffy new towels and a new curtain liner. Use a basket to corral rolled towels. And contain toiletries on a tray or in zippered containers.

Update First-Aid Kits And Emergency Supplies

Be prepared for everything with well-stocked first-aid kits in the house and car, plus emergency supplies for your family and pets. Not sure what to include? The Red Cross has a helpful checklist.

Clean Gutters And Downspouts

If you did not get your gutters cleaned in spring, be sure to get this essential task checked off your list as soon as possible. Leaf- and debris-clogged gutters can lead to leaks and siding damage with summer storms.

Schedule Major Outdoor Projects

Whether you are dreaming of a new patio or need to replace a deck, don’t delay booking a landscape architect or contractor for your projects. Their schedules are especially tight right now.

Catch Up On Projects And Maintenance

No one is perfect, and chances are there are a few home-maintenance projects you’ve been meaning tackle. Why not make June the month to get caught up?


May Home Checklist

With summer just around the corner, there is plenty of incentive to get those outdoor spaces ready to enjoy. From scheduling house painting to organizing your outdoor cooking tools, tick these items off your to-do list so you can: hang out around the bbq, kick back on the porch and savour the season.

Check Off Your List In An Hour or Less

Check Outdoor Lighting

Make sure all outdoor lights are in working order, including porch lights, landscape lighting and motion-sensing security lights. Replace bulbs or schedule repairs as needed.

Give Potted Plants TLC

If you have potted plants that stay indoors over winter, bring them out once the danger of frost has passed. To help your plants acclimatize, find a protected spot out of direct sun for the first several weeks outdoors.

Inspect Kitchen and Bath Fixtures

Keeping an eye on these areas can help prevent costly water damage and repairs later on. Make a plan to regrout or recaulk around counters and tile as needed. If you come across any slow leaks, have these repaired as well.

Check Safety Devices

Smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month and replaced every 10 years — even if they still appear to be in working order. Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries as needed. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace it if necessary.

Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend

Get Ready For BBQing

Giving your BBQ a deep cleaning before the start of the season will help it work more efficiently and prevent flare-ups. Clean the grates and interior with a grill brush and wash the exterior with warm, soapy water. Clean and organize your grilling tools and pick up charcoal or propane if needed.

If you have a gas grill, be sure to check the fuel line for cracks and clean out any clogged burner holes.

Maintain and Repair Garden Paths

Create neat edges, pull weeds, fill in gravel paths with fresh gravel and replace or reposition broken steppingstones.

Clean Walls and Touch Up Paint

Use a dusting attachment on your vacuum or an electrostatic duster to remove dust from walls, paying special attention to corners and baseboards. For a deeper clean, wipe down walls with warm, soapy water after dusting. Rinse with clean water, using a lint-free cloth. Touch up paint as needed on interior walls and trim.

Clean Items On Open Shelves

Infrequently used items stored on open shelves can get pretty grimy over time. For items with a thin layer of dust, swipe with an electrostatic duster. If there is a thicker layer of dust, of if the items are in the kitchen, where cooking grease can be an issue, wash each piece in a tub of warm, soapy water. Rinse and allow everything to dry before replacing.

Refresh Bedrooms

Rotate the mattresses on all beds and flip over if possible. Dust nightstands, lamps, headboards, blinds and decor. Swap heavy duvets for lighter-weight bedding for the warmer months.

Thoroughly Clean The Laundry Room

Run the washing machine with a specialty tub cleaner or with vinegar for a natural solution on a hot water cycle. Wipe the rubber rim inside the washer and dryer doors and remove lint from the dryer vent with a vent brush or vacuum attachment. Clean countertops, mop floors and restock supplies.

Maintenance and Extras to Budget for

Plan to Paint or Stain Your Home’s Exterior

Longer days and generally milder weather makes May a good month to think about painting your house. Contact painting pros to find out if they are currently working or will resume later, and reserve a spot on their schedule. If your home has a wood-shingled exterior, replace any damaged shingles and have a fresh coat of stain applied if needed.

Add a Porch Feature

Make your porch an inviting place to relax and hang out with the addition of a porch swing, rocking chairs or a glider. Too much sun? Crisp white outdoor curtains can provide shade and look chic. Just add a tall glass of iced tea or lemonade, and you’ll be ready to savor the season in style.


Planning & Organizing Your Laundry Area

There are many things to consider when planning your ideal laundry area, from choosing the right materials and storage to creating a practical layout. So where do you start? And how can you be sure the layout and design will meet your needs? Here are some tips for designing a laundry that delivers.

Make Your Countertops Deep Enough

The biggest mistake people make with their laundries is specifying countertops that are too narrow. As a result, their undercounter washing machine and dryer stick out, which makes the laundry look messy and unsightly.

A minimum countertop depth of 26 inches, ensures that most appliances can fit neatly underneath.

Opt for Closed Overhead Cupboards Not Open Shelves

Most of the items you store in a laundry room, such as cleaning products, are ones that you’d want to conceal rather than leave out on display. As such, it makes sense to have more closed cupboards than open shelves in a laundry.

Include plenty of overhead cupboards, as this is generally where you’ll store most items, plus a decent-size tall cabinet to accommodate awkward items such as mops, brooms and the ironing board.

To add interest to a laundry design, you may wish to include some open shelving for display — but it’s best to keep it small so it doesn’t compromise your overall laundry storage requirements.

Choose Tough Materials

With the potential for chemicals and hot irons in a laundry, you’ll want to choose a countertop material that’s resilient and durable. Engineered stone is one such material.

You’ll want to choose hardy materials for the cabinets — they should be extremely hard-wearing and able to withstand moisture and steam.

It’s always a good idea to tile the base of your cabinets, as tiles cope better with steam and moisture when you’re mopping or steam cleaning the floor.

Opt for Compact Fixtures

Plenty of counter space and storage are musts in a laundry — and particularly if the room is small. To maximize counter space and storage in a tiny laundry, choose a compact laundry sink, which will be smaller in length and width than a standard-size sink but deeper than average, so you have a decent sink capacity.

Measure Exactly What You Need to Store

When specifying cabinetry, think about your specific storage requirements. For example, do you need to store cleaning and washing detergents, or long and awkward items such as mops and brooms? Do you want somewhere to keep pet items, space for hampers or laundry baskets?

Having a clear idea about what you need to store will ensure that your specific needs are catered to in the design.

Consider the Location of Your Laundry Carefully

When thinking about your laundry layout and positioning, don’t forget to factor in any access requirements. For example, do you want access via an external door so you can easily get to an outdoor clothesline? Will you be storing kitchen appliances in the laundry and need direct access to the kitchen?

You should also consider any additional storage requirements. Will the laundry double as a mudroom, for example, and if so, do you need somewhere to store soiled shoes and clothing?

Do You Need Space for Folded or Hanging Items?

Will you do the ironing in the laundry room and need space for an ironing board? Do you want somewhere flat to place ironed and folded garments, or a rail to hang them on?

If space is tight and you iron regularly, consider a fold-up ironing board that you can pack away when not in use.

Choose the Right Door Style

A hinged door is generally the most cost-effective style. However, it’s not always suitable, especially in a small laundry where it can take up considerable space.

In a compact laundry area, consider a sliding door or a bifold style that takes up minimal space when open.

Don’t Forget Power Outlets

When planning your laundry area, consider which appliances you’ll use, make sure you have enough power outlets and ensure they’re positioned in the right spots. In addition to power outlets for the washer and dryer, consider ones you might need for countertop appliances or an ironing station.

Choose the Most Practical Washer-Dryer Setup

Stacked front-loading washer-dryers are a good space-saving option for smaller laundry areas. But be aware that not all washers and dryers can be stacked — some are too heavy and will need to be installed under a counter. This is something to consider if you’re in the market for new appliances.

A side-by-side washer and dryer setup that fits under a countertop has the advantage of giving you more counter space. However, this arrangement might take up too much room in a small laundry or apartment.

If you prefer top-loading machines, bear in mind that you’ll need sufficient overhead space so the lids can be opened.

Wall-hung appliances can only be wall hung if they’re designed for this purpose, and they may also require additional brackets to attach them to the wall. You’ll also need to check that the wall behind your washer or dryer is strong enough to accommodate the appliances.

Consider Future Needs

Since a washing machine isn’t something you buy often, it’s important to consider your future needs when selecting the capacity. Will your family grow in the coming years and will you require a bigger machine down the road? A larger-capacity machine also has the advantage of allowing you to run bigger and fewer loads, which can save time.

If you’re buying a washing machine with a capacity that’s larger than your current needs, it’s a good idea to seek out a model with auto-sensing, which will automatically adjust the amount of water and cycle length to suit the load size to conserve energy.

Consider Ventilation

Energy efficiency isn’t the only important consideration when choosing a new dryer — you’ll also want to know if it requires ventilation.

Heat-pump dryers are the most efficient style and don’t need venting, making them suitable for apartments or laundry areas in the middle of the home.

Condenser dryers are fairly energy-efficient and likewise don’t require venting. However, they do produce a small amount of moisture when running, so they can’t be installed inside a cupboard to create a hidden laundry.

Traditional vented dryers are less energy-efficient. They also need to be installed in a well-ventilated laundry or ducted outside. If they aren’t, mold can develop on your laundry room walls.


Herbs For Your Garden

Enhance your recipes and cultivate a connection with nature with herbs that you’ve grown yourself. Herbs can be grown in a large landscape or in pots on a windowsill. Whether Herb gardening is a seasonal ritual or your first edible venture, here are the essential herbs no gardener or cook should go without.

Basil  (Ocimum spp.)

Basil’s bright, showy leaves and intensely sweet aroma epitomize summer gardens and dishes. Many edible gardeners start with basil, and the number of available varieties will never leave you tired of its refreshing flavor. In fall dry or freeze it for use the rest of the year. Basil grows easily from seed or nursery seedlings.

Dill  (Anethum graveolens)

Dill is one of the few herbs on this list that does best when grown from seed. Sow the seeds through summer in full sun. It’s tolerant of rocky soil but needs good drainage and enough room to establish its taproot. Dill is an annual, but it can self-seed and will most likely return the following year. Cut back the flower heads and collect the seeds to plant where you want them.

Oregano/Marjoram  (Origanum spp.)

Oregano is another one of those herbs that really don’t put up a fuss. Plant oregano or its milder relative, sweet marjoram, anywhere that receives good sunlight and has good drainage. Harvest the leaves just when its flower buds are forming. These plants grow well from seedlings.

Mint  (Mentha spp.)

Grown in a pot by the kitchen, fresh mint refreshes everything from dressings, salads and sides to drinks and desserts with a sprig or two. It grows best in full sun to partial shade and prefers regular water. It has a tendency to spread where it’s unwanted, so many suggest growing mint in containers. Grow it from seedlings.

Parsley  (Petroselinum crispum)

New varieties are adding pizzazz to the world of parsley. Though it’s treated as a summer crop in colder climates, gardeners in warmer regions can grow parsley year-round. Be sure to choose a site with sheltered afternoons, since too much summer heat can scorch it. Plant parsley from seeds or seedlings.

Chives  (Allium schoenoprasum and Allium tuberosum)

Both garden chives and their larger, bolder flavored relative garlic chives make delicious and attractive additions to the edible garden. These easy to grow cool-season perennial herbs feature green tubular stems, topped with edible flowers in spring and summer. Grow them from seed and in full sun. Chives self-sow and can be divided every few years, so you’ll be sure to have them in your garden season after season.

Lemongrass  (Cymbopogon citratus)

Dive into the exotic edibles with lemongrass, using it to season soups, teas and more. This strappy plant will thrive in full sun to partial shade with regular water. Though it may die down to the ground in winter, it will revive in spring. Lemongrass does best in mild climates, or it can be planted in a container and brought inside. Plant cuttings or divisions for best results.

Tarragon  (Artemisia dracunculus ‘Sativa’)

A French cuisine staple, tarragon takes an herb garden beyond the basic. French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus ‘Sativa’) is prized for its culinary value, tasting and smelling similar to anise or licorice. French tarragon is a little fussier to grow, preferring afternoon shade and regular water, but is the best in terms of flavor. Gardeners in more extreme climates may turn to Russian tarragon or Mexican tarragon, which are easier to grow but less flavorful. French tarragon must be grown from cuttings or seedlings.

Common Sage  (Salvia officinalis)

With its velvety gray leaves and soft mounding shape, sage softens garden edges and fills in planter corners. Sage requires little water once established and will produce all season long in full sun or partial shade in intense heat. Harvested leaves can be dried for later use. Be aware that not all Salvia is edible, so check before you eat. Sage can be grown from seed, though seedlings tend to produce better results.

Thyme  (Thymus vulgaris)

One of the most commonly called-for herbs, thyme is also one of the easiest to grow. Plant it in a container or allow it to spread as a ground cover. Provide sun, good drainage and not too much water, and this low-maintenance edible essential will stick around for many meals to come. Like sage, not all thyme species are edible, so check before you plant. Thyme can be grown from seed or seedlings.

Lavender  (Lavandula spp.)

Lavender tops many gardeners’ lists for ornamental value alone; resilience, drought tolerance and the fact that it’s a bee magnet only further illustrate why this sun-loving Mediterranean native is a great herb garden addition. Oh, and it’s a killer cocktail ingredient. Choose from a variety of widely available species, and plant it in containers or directly in the ground.

Rosemary  (Rosmarinus officinalis)

It can be easy to forget that this tough-as-nails perennial is also edible. Seen cascading over rocky hillsides or potted on sun-drenched patios, rosemary is a garden mainstay in warmer climates. In regions that see freezing temperatures, or for cooks who may want their herbs closer than outside the back door, rosemary grows well in containers and can easily be brought inside. One whiff of its earthy aroma and you can almost feel the heat of the Tuscan countryside. Seeds are available, but rosemary does best when grown from small plants.


Renovating A Small Yard

A small yard can hold more than a patio, a few plants and some grass. With the right design and some clever moves to visually expand your space, you can add more features than you might imagine.

In many ways, renovating a small yard is no different than tackling a larger space — you’ll still collect inspiration photos, establish a budget and hire a professional, among many other things. However, given more limited square footage and the likelihood of closer neighbors, you’ll have to prioritize what you want, think about multiuse features and consider adding screening or noise-mitigating features.

If you’re ready to renovate your outdoor space, here is how to navigate the process through the planning and conceptual phases, and how to get from your current look to one that fits your life and style.

Assess Your Existing Outdoor Space

Walk around your yard and note what’s already there. You might even consider making a basic sketch of your space, including any existing features such as patios.

Take a look at what works well in your yard. That might include a patio or deck or any paths. Are there good views you’d like to preserve? Do you have plantings or other landscaping that you like?

Indicate any trouble spots. Do you need to screen an unpleasant view or provide privacy from the neighbors? Do you want protection from overly hot areas, whether with a shade structure or additional trees? Are there issues with drainage or slopes?

Check the weather patterns as well. Are there spots where the sun is blazingly hot for a good portion of the day, or ones that are always cool or cold? Is there a prevailing wind most afternoons, or do things stay relatively calm?

Think About What You Want

Make a list of the features you would want in your ideal yard. Envision your dream space, both how it will look and how it will function. Then ask yourself some questions.

  •  Who will be using it regularly?
  •  Do you want an area for sports and games?
  •  Would you like a great entertainment spot?
  •  Is there a feature you’ve always wanted, such as a pool or hot tub, a thriving vegetable garden or a swing designed for relaxing with a good book?

Once you’ve created your wish list, it’s time to prioritize. Think about day-to-day living and how you’ll use your space. Then divide your list into the must-haves and the nice-to-haves.

Consider possible compromises that could allow you to add a few more dream items to your space. A full-size outdoor kitchen may be out of reach, both in budget and size, but a grill with a countertop or bar area nearby might be doable. You may not have room for a pool where you could swim laps, but a plunge pool or spa may satisfy your wish for a place to relax in the water.

Finally, take a hard look at your budget and determine how much you can afford to spend on your landscape renovation. You can do some research to get an idea of costs, but the landscape pro you work with will be better able to give you a realistic picture of what you can achieve with your budget. You also can think about where you’d like to invest in your landscape renovation and where you might be able to save.

Gather And Refine Your Ideas

Now comes the fun part. Find photos of outdoor spaces you like. Mix photos of full landscapes with those showing small details you admire.

At this point, don’t feel like you need to stick to photos of only smaller spaces. Images of larger landscapes can help inspire your project too. Keep in mind, though, that specific features might not be possible to include, or certain results achieved, in limited square footage.

Once you have a good collection of photos, sort through what you’ve gathered and evaluate what you like about each landscape and detail. It will give you and your designer a clearer idea of the direction you want to go in.

Find A Professional

Got your ideas and a preliminary budget? Look for a design pro to help with your project. Both landscape architects and landscape designers can provide a complete design.

There are a number of ways you can work with a designer. A design consultation can get you started, or you can hire a designer to complete a concept design or create a site plan to take you further along. Finally, your designer may also oversee the installation.

Your project may require a landscape architect if there are grading and drainage issues, retaining or structural walls, or features such as a large driveway and turnaround. Other issues that may require a landscape architect include mitigations for wetlands or protected sites, or the possibility of floods, wildfires, mudslides or hurricanes.

You also can work with a landscape design-build firm, which can carry your project from the design phase through installation. A full-service landscape design firm also may be able to provide continued maintenance once the project wraps up.

Explore Small Yard Design Ideas

A number of design moves can make a small yard feel more expansive. Consider whether any of the following options could suit your overall look and style. 

* Choose a simple palette of a few colors for hardscape, furnishings and plantings that repeat throughout the space. This will draw your eye through the yard and make the space feel unified and larger.


* Lay a path at an angle to make a narrow yard feel wider.

* Install a circular path to draw the eye around the yard, rather than through it. Having the end of a path disappear behind a landscape feature gives the sense that there are more areas of the yard to explore.

* Create a destination with a patio or a deck sited halfway through or at the far end of a small yard, rather than right outside your door. It will draw people through the space.

* Highlight a view that’s beyond the borders of your space to expand the sense of spaciousness.

Designing two distinct zones, such as a dining space and a gathering spot or a play area, gives a sense of purpose to even the smallest space. If you’re dealing with a slope, consider a small retaining wall as a design feature that also adds separation.

Tip: Two is the optimum number of zones for a small yard. It provides separation without overwhelming the space.

Decide On The Concept Design

Taking your landscape from ideas to reality starts with developing the concept design. Use your ideas to create a preliminary plan. This two- or three-dimensional drawing will be to scale and will show the new layout and major design elements. At this point, it may be fairly simple or can be quite detailed, indicating materials and plantings.

Review all aspects of the plan, from large installations to small details, to be sure you understand how the final design will look in real life.

Some questions you’ll want to ask yourself and your design pro:

* How do the various components work together, and how you will access areas throughout the space?

* Are the walkways and drives large enough so they don’t feel cramped? Is there sufficient room for features, from grills to swimming pools, and for furnishings such as dining tables and lounges?

* Does the look fit your style and work with your architecture? Is the plant palette what you want for your garden?

* Can you imagine yourself in the space?

Choose Materials And Accessories

Throughout this process, you’ll have been saving inspiration photos and you’ll likely already have an idea how you want your space to look.

Now you’ll need to select the materials and accessories for your landscape. These include everything from hardscape and plants to extra features and finishing details.

As you finalize your plans, check out your options and see how they fit with your style, your design and your budget. Things to consider:

  •  Hardscape options for decks, patios, paths and retaining walls
  •  Structural materials for screens, pergolas, abors, fences and gates
  •  Fireplace and fire pit 
  •  Outdoor kitchen and grill
  •  Lighting
  •  Spa and small pool
  •  Water feature
  •  Storage areas
  •  Plant choices such as ground cover, trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers 
  •  Outdoor furnishings 

Finalize The Details

Once you’ve decided on a concept plan, it’s time to get all the pieces in place. Your plan will go through several revisions as it is polished. When you have made all the changes, you will have a final plan to follow.

One of the details that will need to be considered during this process is which permits and permissions you will need, if applicable. If you’re planning a major renovation, be sure that you determine the location of gas, power and plumbing lines. These all should be carefully marked.

A knowledgeable professional will be able to guide this portion of the process, as he or she will be familiar with local planning departments, permit requirements and any other logistical issues you’ll need to address.

Hire A Landscape Contractor

If you don’t already have a licensed landscape contractor for your project, and you want one to do the installation. You’ll want to interview potential contractors and give them the scope of work, even if the plans aren’t final. Designers often can recommend contractors they’ve successfully worked with in the past. Interview at least three to get a good idea of your options.

When looking for a contractor, follow the same process as for choosing a landscape architect or designer. Also ask about insurance and bonds for any subcontractors, as well as about a contact person for questions and problems that may arise.

Plan Construction and Timeline

Before work begins, familiarize yourself with how the project should unfold and how long it will take from start to finish. Think about the disruption to your yard and access to your home, as well as about construction hours; staging areas for materials; outside contractors for electrical, plumbing and irrigation systems; and who will be your contact person for questions or problems.

You’ll also want to be aware of possible setbacks that may cause the timeline to change. These may range from weather delays to subcontractor availability to supply chain issues. Ask about backup plans if problems arise.

If you are saving part of your landscape, especially trees or bushes, ensure that those areas are marked and protected from damage, especially during demolition. 

Make A Post-Completion List

After the paving has been laid, the lighting has been installed, the plantings have been put in place and the finishing touches have been added, walk through your yard and note anything that is still unfinished. Provide the person responsible for correcting any mistakes with a list of items that need to be fixed and ask for a final finish date.

Also, you’ll want to think about and plan for maintenance. The hardscape materials and plantings will need ongoing care. Some landscape design and landscape construction companies provide maintenance services, which may be part of your service agreement with the pro. You also can ask your designer or contractor for maintenance recommendations or contacts.

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