Art Decor

Our Landscape Plan Revisited — Questions Answered

A couple of days ago, I shared the landscape plan that we had done by a local landscape designer. If you missed that, you can see way more details in this post. But here’s the overview of the whole plan…

It’s a very detailed plan, and there’s a whole lot going on! A lot of you wondered if I realized how much it was going to cost, or how much time would need to be invested in installing and maintaining such a landscape.

So here are my thoughts…

The Time Commitment

I’m not sure if I made it clear in the original post, but this is a multi-year plan. I know there are others who jump in with both feet, hire out a whole bunch of stuff, and get it done quickly.

For example, I’ve been checking on the progress of Chris & Julia’s backyard transformation every single day (she shares updates regularly in their Instagram stories) as they add a pool, hardscaping, outdoor kitchen, and gorgeous landscaping. From what I can tell, they hired out most (if not all) of that work to the pros, so everything has come together very relatively quickly. And they also shared the budget breakdown of the entire project. If my memory serves me correctly, that number was somewhere in the $140,000 range. (If you’ve been following their progress, and I got that number wrong, please let me know!)

That process works for them. They have young children, and they wanted to get that done as quickly as possible so that they could start enjoying their entire back yard area as a family this summer.

While I have thoroughly enjoyed watching their back yard come together, my process is going to look very different. We’re clearly not in any hurry to get the back yard finished. After all, we’ve already been here nine years, and have done literally nothing to our back yard. 😀

But also, we’re not adding a swimming pool (at least that’s not in the plans right now) or anything else like that that we’re anxious to install ASAP so that we can start enjoying it this summer or next summer. But I do eventually want to be able to go outside into our back yard and enjoy the view. I’d also love for our house to be a place that we can offer to our church as a place to host groups. If the college group at our church needs a place to meet and have a cookout or something like that, I’d love for our house to be available. And right now, our back yard is definitely not a place where people would want to gather. 😀

So in reality, I’m looking at this whole landscaping project as being a 5-10 year plan, and at the rate I do things lately, I’m thinking it will definitely be closer to the 10 year end of that spectrum. That doesn’t mean it’ll be 10 years before we can enjoy the back yard, but it might take that long before it looks anything like the design that was done for us.

I also really want to get my own hands dirty. Y’all know that I’m a DIYer at heart, and I like to hire out as little as possible. I’ve never really gotten into gardening, but I’ve never really had the opportunity. We did a little bit of landscaping at our first house in Oregon, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But at that time, we really didn’t have money to spend on landscaping. So I did the little bit we could afford, and loved it.

After we moved to Waco, we lived in a rental, and then in the tiny condo for seven years. I did build some elevated garden beds at the condo and put them in the courtyard. We really enjoyed having those little veggie gardens, but we just didn’t have much space.

And now with this house, I’ve spent the last years focusing mostly on the actual house. But eventually, those project are going to start to wane. I mean, you can only do so much remodeling and redecorating on a house before it’s really all finished. So as the house projects start to wane, I’m wanting the outdoor projects to start increasing. Eventually, I envision the house projects will be nothing more than maintenance and a small project here and there, while most of my time can be spent outdoors, digging, planting, building, and maintaining.

And if I need help, we can always hire someone. Right now, we have guys who take care of our yard once every two weeks. I’ve already talked to the owner of that company, and he says they can help me with whatever landscaping and maintenance projects I need done. So that’s always an option if I start to feel in over my head.

The Budget

To answer the most asked question, yes, I realize that landscaping design is going to cost a fortune. 😀

When the landscape designer asked me what kind of budget we were looking at, the first number that came to mind was $50,000. But then I had to think about it. Our plan includes a new workshop for me, a deck off of the back of the house (a part of the house that hasn’t even been built yet), a walking track, and a new driveway. So obviously, what I was considering a “landscaping budget” wouldn’t even include all of those things. Those would be separate.

So in the end, I explained to him (and will explain to you) that I plan to treat this landscaping project the same way I have treated (and will continue to treat) our house.

That is to say that I don’t have a budget.

I’ve never started a room remodel in our house with a budget. I know that sounds strange to some, and it’s probably not how most homeowners tackle projects. But my strategy has been a bit different. I come at these projects from a different angle rather than starting with the budget.

The way I tackle projects is more with this mindset. I’m going to DIY as much as I can so that I can save as much money as I can. At the same time, if there’s something I truly want and it’s a splurge, and Matt and I agree on it, then I’ll buy it. If that means that the project takes longer to complete, I’m fine with that just as long as I’m pleased with the final result.

After all, when we bought this house, we agreed that it would be our forever home. We have absolutely no intention of ever selling it, so we’re not worried about over improving it and not being able to recoup that money on resale. All we’re concerned about is turning this house and this property into what we want it to be.

So that’s the exact mindset I’m applying to our landscape design as well. I’ll DIY as much as I can, hire out what I can’t do, splurge if it’s something I really want and can’t find a cheaper option, take as long as it needs to take, in order to end up with exactly what I want. Because we’re never leaving. 😀

Tackling the house and the landscaping this way helps to take the pressure off. It’s not like I only have five years to finish everything so that we can get the house on the market. Nope. I literally have the rest of my life to tinker around in my yard.

So those were the two main concerns/questions I wanted to address. As to your other suggestion…THANK YOU! I love the idea of buying smaller trees ASAP to save money, and getting them in the ground now so that they can start growing. I also really appreciate the input regarding some of the plants that were on the list, especially the warning about the one (the name of which I can’t remember right now, but I will make a note of it before plant shopping) that is poisonous to dogs. I definitely don’t want anything like that around Cooper. And all of your other suggestions were great and very much appreciated! I plan to go back through those comments and make some very detailed notes to keep on hand when I start purchasing plants.

I’m anxious to get started, but it’s going to be a very long journey! 🙂