The time for long evenings and summer parties in our backyard is finally here. If your backyard is needing some rejuvenation this season, you’re probably itching to get started. While backyard renovations are just as exciting as indoor renovations, there are common mistakes you should be wary of, and after knowing what you could be doing wrong, your renovation could turn out better than you expected.
Here are 5 backyard renovation mistakes to avoid making and what an expert has to say on the matter. Your backyard is about to be in tip-top shape this season.
MEET THE EXPERT
Brett Yates is the owner of Yates Landscaping, LLC, a residential and commercial lawn maintenance company located in Kernersville, NC.
Mistake #1: Overplanting
It’s no secret that adding flowers, shrubs, and trees to your yard is a great way to invite more life and color into your space, but Yates warns about getting carried away with your plant babies.
“The most common mistake we see a lot is overplanting and not taking into consideration the mature size of shrubs and trees,” Yates says. “People plant too many things and in a few years, it’s too crowded.”
Before you put any plant or shrub in your yard, it’s a good idea to research and note the maximum size as well as how much space the plants typically take up. Knowing what to expect when your plants reach their peak size helps to know how many your area can hold.
Mistake #2: Not Understanding Your Yard Layout
Similar to overplanting, Yates cautions us against blindly laying out backyards without an understanding of sunlight exposure and where things grow best.
“Sometimes, people don’t understand what to plant based on their conditions and shade and sun,” Yates says. “You may want to plant something around the house, but don't forget to check what position the plant should be in to get the proper sunlight or the ideal location it should grow.”
Every plant or shrub should come with a marker that entails how many hours of sunlight it needs and what location it grows best in. To have gorgeous, lively plants around the house, make sure you check each plant’s requirements and plant accordingly.
Mistake #3: Not Making a Plan
One of the biggest mistakes to avoid when conducting backyard renovations? Not making a plan. Not knowing what you’d like to do, how to get it done, and what you need to get it done can cost you a world of headaches. This is also a mistake Yates has seen a time or two with his clients, and he shares that lack of planning can cause people to overspend on materials or corrections.
“A lot of time, a common mistake is lack of a plan or not knowing specifically what to accomplish,” Yates says. “It can be a lot of work to redo landscaping, and you might make a mess that is costly to clean up.”
Our advice? Spend time planning your end goal and what you’d like to accomplish around your yard. Then, research the right way to get the job done—and that way, you don’t end up overspending.
Mistake #4: Attempting to DIY
Before you pick up the shovel and channel your favorite home-remodeling show expert, familiarize yourself with the task at hand and make sure you have the know-how. While there are certain projects that can flourish with a good, at-home DIY, Yates advises leaving super tedious projects to the experts.
“Don’t bite off more than you can chew," Yates says. "On several occasions, we've seen homeowners get overly excited—having watched too much HGTV—and then try to do it themselves. Complete a few small projects before going into something really big.”
Some bigger projects Yates suggests leaving to professionals are irrigation-related fixes or anything in the hardscape category, since the preparation and work can be extensive. Even when it comes to planting a few shrubs around the yard, Yates says it’s still not a bad idea to get the input of a few professionals.
“Seeking help with what to plant is a good idea—this lets you know if you are in the right area to plant," Yates says. "An expert will help advise people on the right plants to grow in their area.”
Mistake #5: Not Hiring the Right Landscaper
It’s best to know who you’re dealing with and if your contractor has the right experience to get the job done correctly. Curious to know how to find the right landscaper to work with? Yates gave us actionable advice to ensure you select a landscaper you trust.
“In the world we live in, most companies have a digital footprint whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, or their website,” Yates says. He recommends checking the company’s website for a digital portfolio to get a feel if they’ve completed a project similar to yours more than once and to see what the final result was like.
Other than reviews, which he says is something else to definitely check, Yates recommends another method to find the right landscaper to work with.
“One of the best ways to get a good idea of what a landscaper is like is by word of mouth—ask somebody you trust which company they worked with and if they’d work with them again, or recommend them," he says.
Word of mouth is truly one of the best ways to check on the professionalism of a landscaper you’re eyeing. Hearing someone else’s experience–whether it’s a neighbor, friend, or family member–gives you a first-hand account to know what you’re getting into and if that landscaper is worth hiring.