I was on CityLine today talking about the types of plants that can be pruned in the fall and be ready for blossom in the spring.
Recently I had an enlightening conversation with a PR agent and the head of a major landscape company about the future of the landscaping industry. Over the last five years we have seen a major increase in project size and cost when it comes to outdoor renovations — and the landscape trade had boomed because of it. Unfortunately, it looks like rougher waters ahead however.
Before you read this article, I am apologizing in advance. Summer is over and I am going to talk about fall. I know it’s hard to read the truth so bluntly laid out but it’s time to move forward.
This also happens to be the perfect time of the year to start some outdoor projects or to hire a landscaper. Traditionally homeowners think about outdoor renovations in the spring so they get finished before the summer weather hits. Unfortunately, this also results in high traffic for the landscape companies, garden centres and building material stores.
Conversely, September and October are perfect months because there are less people in the market also doing renovations. You also have lots of time before the ground freezes to get plants in and let them get established. Before you rush out and start buying things on sale, there are five questions you should ask to better understand the scope of your project.
It was about 10 years ago that real estate agents and experts starting warning homeowners about the risks of having swimming pools in the backyard and how they can lower the value of the property. Thankfully for all of us who like to take a dip in the comforts of home, this stat no longer holds water (pun intended). We now know that while some buyers prefer to not have a pool in the backyard, there is a completely separate market of ones who do.
My latest renovation happened to have a similar story. Buyers Stew and Rebecca overlooked the weeds and neglected yard when purchasing their home because they saw the potential of the saltwater swimming pool that was already installed. They just needed me to come in and help them come up with a vision for the space.
For the last 100 years, scientists have been exploring the reason why temperatures are so much warmer in the city compared to the rural areas surrounding them. This phenomenon, called an urban heat island, is a direct result of our activities. Unfortunately, with global warming, this increased heat continues to go up in areas with lots of stone and concrete like parking lots and even in our own backyards. Even though more cities are investing in green spaces and promoting green roof technology, several online sources state that more than 70 per cent of all of the surfaces that we are currently installing in our landscaped spaces are concrete, pavement, stone or pavers. We are turning our own backyards into mini urban heat islands.
The cost of landscaping always seems to shock homeowners.
Somehow people relate the cost of landscaping to the cost of gardening and are surprised to find out that decks and wood cost more than plants — not to mention the labour involved to install them.
In speaking to several industry professionals, the average backyard renovation starts at around $20,000 with some projects crossing the $1 million mark.
With such a huge range, how do you know how much your outdoor renovations should cost and how much should you really be investing in your home?
Many moons ago, I read an article written by the amazing Dear Abby where she spoke about being asked the same question by readers on a regular basis. Who knew that so many people cared about which way to toilet paper roll goes on the holder!
Now that I’ve been writing for a few years, I’m beginning to understand what she was referring to. In her honour, I am going to post the answers to the top three questions I always get asked in hopes that this will solve some of your own outdoor challenges.
The power of the front yard continues to be the focus for many homeowners looking to add value to their biggest investments; their house. The winner of the Herald Homes spring tool giveaway is no different. Their home already had the decks for entertaining and the planted gardens in the backyard. What it needs is some curb appeal from the street.
As a designer, my eye is immediately drawn to a few spots in the front that present some great opportunities.
The cost of landscaping always seems to shock homeowners. Somehow people relate the cost of landscaping to the cost of gardening and are surprised to find out that decks and wood cost more than plants … not to mention the labour involved to install them. In speaking to several industry professionals, the average backyard renovation starts at about $20,000, with some projects crossing the million-dollar mark. With such a huge range, how do you know how much your outdoor renovations should cost and how much should you really be investing in your home?
For the last 15 plus years I have been on television helping people create stunning backyards. Patios, decks, barbecues … you name it, I have shown people how to have them. Even now, I describe myself as a landscaper and not a gardener. I go into a backyard and look at how the space can be used for outdoor living instead of where the plants go. I was able to launch an amazing career creating backyard escapes for homeowners with swimming pools, fireplaces and outdoor kitchens. And all of that recently changed …
I blame the zombie TV shows and movies. Every night I went to bed thinking about what I would do if everything fell apart. Funny how many people have an escape strategy for the end of the world!