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Landscaping Made Beautiful  

10 things to consider when starting a landscaping project

Brought to you by Groundworks BVI

Photography courtesy of Groundworks BVI

When developing a plan for landscaping around your home there are lots of important things to consider. In addition to creating something beautiful, you want your home’s landscaping to be functional for your particular space and a sustainable design that brings natural beauty to your property for years to come.


  1. Planning

When designing a residential landscape, the most important step is to put a plan on paper. How do you want to use your yard? What kind of time do you want to spend there? Who else will be using the space?

These questions can be crucial in planning the perfect outdoor space and getting the results you’re looking for.

Developing a masterplan will save you time, money, and is more likely to result in a successful design. It’s critically important to not go into a project like this without some idea of how you want it to end. Not only will it cause frustration during the planting process, you may end up with a yard you don’t like or can’t use well.



  1. Budget

With any home project, keeping a budget in mind will help significantly. Try not to think of a budget as a limitation, but rather a practical tool to make your landscaping plan come to life in a realistic and affordable way. Your budget can be the deciding factor on most elements of the project, from which plants to choose to how many features your landscaping design can have. A budget will also keep your project from getting out of hand and becoming overwhelming. If you plan to use a professional crew to do the planting work, make sure to factor this into your costs.


  1. Knowing Your Land

The best way to begin is to take stock of your property. This information will determine what comes next, and how to best choose the plants for your particular yard. Some questions to remember:


  • What kind of soil is present? What grows well in that soil?
  • How does rain and water drain from your property? Are you on a large hill that will get runoff or debris from other properties?
  • What are your climate conditions in each season? How much sun/shade does each area of your yard get?
  • What plants and vegetation already exist? What do you want to keep and what do you want to get rid of?


  1. Stick to a Form, Style, or Theme

Once your plan is in place, stick to it. Your theme ensures a cohesive design and end product. Even if you like a number of ideas, a solid theme will make sure your yard is beautiful and doesn’t end up looking like a mashup of design styles and random plants. A theme is also useful for organising different spaces of the yard. For example, having a patio seating area that flows well into the barbecue area is useful when determining what kind of path or walkway to choose.


  1. Create Spaces

When you know how you want to use your yard, spend time creating those spaces to reflect your dream design. Love to entertain? Make sure there is enough seating for all your guests. Want a place to relax? Choose plants that provide private coverage and a place for you to spend quiet time with nature. Linking these spaces together with creative pathways and pavers, adds value to your home and functionality to your property.


  1. Functional Plants Enhance Spaces

Once your spaces are determined, choose the right plants appropriate for those spaces. More decorative and flowering plants should go where you will see and enjoy them. Plants that provide good water retention should stay close to the ground to help keep the entire area green. Layering techniques ensure there are no ‘holes’ or dead spaces in your landscaping, encouraging a lush feel and an eye-catching design.


  1. Highlight Beautiful Areas

What are the focal points of your yard? If you have a breathtaking ocean view, don’t block it with walls of plants and trees that take away the natural beauty of the surrounding area. A lovely gazebo or covered patio should take precedence over plantings that are strictly functional. Details are important, so pay particular attention to colour and texture when choosing plants for highly visible areas.


  1. Timeline

In addition to having a timeline for when you want your landscaping project to be completed, take into account the time it takes for plants to grow to full maturity. You may not achieve the look you want immediately, as plants take water, sun, and careful maintenance once planted in a new place. Also consider that plants are living things that are always changing. You’ll observe changes over time that can affect how your landscaping adapts to its environment and how you want to use the space.


  1. Consider Professional Help

A professional landscaping team can help you decide what a realistic timeline and project completion date would be. Someone that specialises in local plants and native vegetation can also be an invaluable resource when planning your outdoor space, as well as being able to have the manpower to assist in any heavy digging or planting endeavours.


  1. Sustainability

One of the most important things to consider when creating a landscape design is being a good steward of your natural resources. Sustainable building and landscaping practices are especially important in the British Virgin Islands, as the land is very steep and sloping; excavation and planting can contribute to unwanted soil erosion and runoff.

Staying organised and having a solid plan ensures that earth doesn’t end up in the oceans and damaging delicate reefs.

Your beautiful yard adds value to your property and brings joy to your daily life. By keeping these tips in mind, your landscaping project will not only succeed, but thrive.

Sara Sherman
Sara Sherman is a former St. Thomas resident and the editor of Virgin Islands Property & Yacht.
Sara Sherman

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