Pleasure: People need a place to play. Being indoors is fine on rainy winter days, but when the sun shines, it feels good to get out. How do you envision using your yard? Do you have children? Then they need a place where they can do things without endangering themselves or the shrubbery: a lawn area, a patio with a  basketball hoop on one side, a swing or climbing set, a sandbox.

Grown-ups sometimes need outdoor room too. You might need room for some patio or lawn chairs, or a hot tub or a pool.

Do you like cut flowers? Maybe there could be room for a cutting garden in your yard.

Do you like plants a lot and have some time to devote to them? Maybe you would enjoy doing some ongoing horticulture as a hobby.

Do you get aesthetic pleasure out of viewing a well-done garden? Concentrating on design elements will help to make your garden beautiful.

But what if you hate the thought of getting out of the yard to take care of it? If you can afford to have someone else maintain it, so much the better; but if not, you may want to write “low maintenance” on your list of landscape design requirements. What constitutes a low-maintenance yard? As a practical rule, if you yard takes more effort to keep in shape than you’re willing to give it, then it’s a high0maintenance yard. If you don’t mind the amount of work you put into it, then it’s low-maintenance. People have their own levels of tolerance for different kinds of work too. Some people would rather mow lawns three hours a week than weed flower beds for thirty minutes.


Economics: Some people landscape their yards with the expectation that they will get tangible rewards for doing so. Sometimes they are right. If you intend to sell your house anytime soon, a bit of strategic yard work can make your house sell faster, but it won’t automatically translate into a higher selling price. What will pay off best? Start with neatness. Weed the flower beds, rake up leaves and debris, carefully prune existing trees and shrubs. Then consider renewing flower-bed mulches and, perhaps, planting some cheap and colorful annuals if the season is right. Even though your efforts may not raise the selling price of your house, most real estate agents will agree that a well-maintained yard makes a house more inviting and easier to sell.

You are most likely to recoup any major landscaping investment, however, if you plant years before you plan to move. The plantings, if you take care of them, will increase in value, and you’ll get the benefit of looking at a beautiful yard for all those years.

Fruit trees, berry bushes, and a vegetable garden can all produce some economic reward too. Let’s be honest though. If you expect to grow a significant portion of the food you eat, you must also expect to spend a certain amount of time working at it. Although it’s possible to grow fruit trees and bushes with minimal effort, you are likely to get minimal crops if you do.

There is yet another economic reason for doing your own landscaping: It should save you considerable money over the cost of hiring someone else to do it for you. Even if you decide to hire outside contractors to do certain parts of the work, you could save money by doing some parts of it yourself. Using the rule of thumb that half the cost of landscaping goes for labor and the other half for materials, you could save as much as 50 percent. With careful planning you could save a lot more than that. On the other hand, if you don’t put much thought into the planning and execution, then you are wasting time and money by doing the work yourself and could even detract from the value of your home.


This article is courtesy of Natural Landscape and Irrigation in Oregon. If you are in the Oregon area, please feel free to contact your local landscaping company in Portland that will be able to help consult with you and meet your landscaping needs.

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