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      11-08-2018, 09:23 PM   #1
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Landscaping

About to embark on getting my entire backyard redone. Right now, it's essentially a blank canvas. I have an architect coming over this weekend, but wanted to see if anyone had gone through a project such as this before and could enlighten me with things to keep in mind.

I essentially want to have a grassy area, a patio area and a cooking area along with some sitting area and a fire pit. Things I know I will need to keep in my are electric, ensuring I have WiFi coverage, make sure I have enough light, etc. etc.

Pictures would be great, along with any tips. Thanks!
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      11-08-2018, 10:06 PM   #2
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with you being in Texas and how freakin' hot it gets there i guess you'll have to take into consideration what types of plants, grass and trees you could grow in that type of heat? i would look into Allyn Haynes "The Lawn Care Nut" for warm season type grasses. he's got plenty of videos for you there. as far as landscaping plants, bushes and trees check out Laura from the "Garden Answer"
https://www.youtube.com/user/LawnCareMidwest
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_k...Aa66hZWq7VPg7Q
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      11-08-2018, 11:38 PM   #3
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Iím into this.

Local universities have extensions that aid home owners in soil, and plant recommendations. There is an effort to not introduce non-native flora into locations so ask about this. Itís something you can use as you do your own research even if you use a pro.

If you use a landscape architect the pricing structure dial in early, so if you donít like the first work-up how much will a second or third work-up cost - there should be significant reductions if you need a second or third effort.


I personally donít like to bring in a rocks, gravel or pebbles and I donít like having concrete poured. There are really nice surface stone and locating them properly is a real art.

Browse Architectural Digest for ideas.

Things like lighting bollards check Bega Lighting for ideas. Lighting is tricky, if you mount lighting high that can really detract.

Will you be using pro gardeners to maintain or will you maintain it yourself?

Last edited by ScottSinger; 11-08-2018 at 11:47 PM..
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      11-09-2018, 05:24 AM   #4
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I have a 1/2 acre with walk out house and landscaped 95% of it myself. Large retaining walls, variety of trees, etc. One of the biggest differences I see between nice yards and very nice yards is 3 dimensions. Most plan their yard length and width, but when you add height, it changes it. Try some hills. If you want trees, plant them on the hills, they are instantly taller.
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      11-09-2018, 06:58 AM   #5
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Wrt the landscape architect:
1. Get a sense if the landscape architect can match your preferred style (e.g. modern, olde English, traditional, etc...)
2. Determine if they are an artsy-type and if you are good w/ that
3. Find out about warranty on plantings
4. Budget. can the project be structured in phases (if the total $ is too high)? do they care if you do some of it yourself?
5. Pricing structure. break up material vs labor vs haul-off for different sections and/or phases.
6. is the landscape architect part of the company providing the labor or just a guy in the middle cutting a fee?

In general:
1. Use local plants as much as possible. Even better if they are sourced local.
2. Consider upkeep costs. Are some plants water thirsty, prefer shade, drought resistant, etc...?
3. If they do any downspout burying, make sure the 'technique' is per your desire (e.g. leaf grates, substrate at the end drain, french drain, etc...).
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      11-09-2018, 07:34 AM   #6
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Agree with others - try to stick to native plants.
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      11-09-2018, 08:02 AM   #7
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I don't care what you're doing it's going to be expensive. Really expensive.
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      11-09-2018, 09:13 AM   #8
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^ throw in any amount of pavers and it'll be really, really expensive.

I would also indirectly poke at if there is a fee for the plan and who owns it afterwards.

In my case, I mainly wanted an overall, encompassing plan. For the cost of the layout/plan fee, I might as well have had them do some of the plantings (upfront vs rolled up cost) so I went w/ the latter for part of the plan. I'll be doing most of the rest myself.
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      11-09-2018, 02:34 PM   #9
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Insist on 100% documented, American citizen laborers. Sure, it'll cost you more but you'll be supporting America.
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      11-09-2018, 02:49 PM   #10
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Get a concrete bid from the architect, not just a number thrown out of the air. Landscape Architects are great at design but usually horrible at business, it almost always ends up being double what they predict.

Also make sure they give a warranty the plants for at least a year, weather changes quickly in Austin, it's hard to time it right.
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      11-09-2018, 03:38 PM   #11
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don't forget irrigation! if you plan on doing grass areas like you mentioned, definitely invest in an irrigation system that includes any flower beds you may do! regardless, the maintenance cost on landscaping after everything is done is gonna be ridiculous! I didn't know what I was getting into after purchasing my house with a lot of landscaping. unless you pay a contractor to do it which is gonna cost you a lot more than if you do the maintenance yourself and i'm referring to lawn equipment, fertilizer, weed spray, pest control...the list goes on!!!!! but I love every minute of it because it's mine!!!!!
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      11-10-2018, 09:43 AM   #12
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^ Good point. One of the reasons I wanted an overall plan was so I could eventually put in irrigation (makes no sense to put it in them have to move parts of it). Watering an acre lot sucks using conventional means.

Good to factor in if the landscape architect/company provides that service or partners with one that does, OP.
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      11-10-2018, 10:13 AM   #13
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An irrigation system is important during dry spells, which are inevitable. However, sticking with native plants that have similar irrigation needs should mitigate the need for watering on a regular basis all year/season long. When you start mixing plants that require different levels of irrigation you end up with some things getting too much water or some things getting not enough water (or both). Maybe it’s different in other regions but I have always tried to follow the rule of watering the lawn as little as possible, as doing so helps encourage deeper root growth. I’m not suggesting there isn’t a need for an irrigation system - just suggesting trying to plan things in a way that considers how everything will co-exist.
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      11-10-2018, 03:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bosstones View Post
^ Good point. One of the reasons I wanted an overall plan was so I could eventually put in irrigation (makes no sense to put it in them have to move parts of it). Watering an acre lot sucks using conventional means.

Good to factor in if the landscape architect/company provides that service or partners with one that does, OP.
I have a .75 acre with an irrigation system and my next door neighbor doesn't. he tells me all the time he wished he would've done it when the house was first built but felt at the time what the hell does he need an irrigation system for but later after getting his landscaping done he has to make time to water by hand a couple times a week sometimes 3. and there are times he misses a complete week and his plants/flowers start dying. he says it's a PITA to always have to worry about watering. I have 14 zones on my irrigation so i'm not sure what that would cost my next door neighbor to have one installed?
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      11-10-2018, 03:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickFLM4 View Post
An irrigation system is important during dry spells, which are inevitable. However, sticking with native plants that have similar irrigation needs should mitigate the need for watering on a regular basis all year/season long. When you start mixing plants that require different levels of irrigation you end up with some things getting too much water or some things getting not enough water (or both). Maybe itís different in other regions but I have always tried to follow the rule of watering the lawn as little as possible, as doing so helps encourage deeper root growth. Iím not suggesting there isnít a need for an irrigation system - just suggesting trying to plan things in a way that considers how everything will co-exist.
good points! I don't run my irrigation unless I don't get any rain.
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      11-11-2018, 01:19 AM   #16
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Pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay
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      11-11-2018, 05:19 AM   #17
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Drainage!
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      11-11-2018, 11:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsturbointeg View Post
with you being in Texas and how freakin' hot it gets there i guess you'll have to take into consideration what types of plants, grass and trees you could grow in that type of heat? i would look into Allyn Haynes "The Lawn Care Nut" for warm season type grasses. he's got plenty of videos for you there. as far as landscaping plants, bushes and trees check out Laura from the "Garden Answer"
https://www.youtube.com/user/LawnCareMidwest
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_k...Aa66hZWq7VPg7Q
Good point. Landscaping company owner said he would only use native plants, and plant based on location (sun, shade, etc.).
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      11-11-2018, 11:17 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottSinger View Post
Iím into this.

Local universities have extensions that aid home owners in soil, and plant recommendations. There is an effort to not introduce non-native flora into locations so ask about this. Itís something you can use as you do your own research even if you use a pro.

If you use a landscape architect the pricing structure dial in early, so if you donít like the first work-up how much will a second or third work-up cost - there should be significant reductions if you need a second or third effort.


I personally donít like to bring in a rocks, gravel or pebbles and I donít like having concrete poured. There are really nice surface stone and locating them properly is a real art.

Browse Architectural Digest for ideas.

Things like lighting bollards check Bega Lighting for ideas. Lighting is tricky, if you mount lighting high that can really detract.

Will you be using pro gardeners to maintain or will you maintain it yourself?
There will be hardscaping involved as I am looking for a patio (Oklahoma brown), along with crushed granite. My instructions are for something to be build that I can maintain myself.

An example:

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      11-11-2018, 11:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfisti View Post
I don't care what you're doing it's going to be expensive. Really expensive.
I realize that, but my family will get to enjoy it and I'm sure it'll add to the value of my property.
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      11-11-2018, 11:19 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by DETRoadster View Post
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Appreciate your bringing this up. I asked and verified.
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      11-11-2018, 11:20 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djsaad1 View Post
Get a concrete bid from the architect, not just a number thrown out of the air. Landscape Architects are great at design but usually horrible at business, it almost always ends up being double what they predict.

Also make sure they give a warranty the plants for at least a year, weather changes quickly in Austin, it's hard to time it right.
Going to forego concrete. And yes, native plants only and will come with a 1-year warranty.
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