Landscaping Considerations for Ottawa Home Owners
Landscaping is more than just bricks, plants, yard cover, and various combinations that can be thrown into the back of a truck! Landscaping turns any outdoor space into a beautiful oasis that you and your family can enjoy. Or, if you are thinking of selling your house, landscaping can take your house from average to ‘Wow’ in a buyer’s mind. The difference between a well-landscaped yard (both front and back) and just a square filled with grass can be as much as 15% of the house’s value. That’s a lot of money in your pocket if you’re selling, and a lot of added space for enjoyment if you are landscaping for your family.
Landscaping materials vary widely in cost, aesthetic beauty, durability, and the ability to weather your climate. In Ottawa, you want to ensure that your landscaping efforts won’t immediately vanish with the first cold winter. This means selecting hardy, winter-resistant grass, patio and retaining wall stone that are rated for cold (or hot and humid) weather, and plants or ground cover that are perennial – meaning they can survive a cold winter by hibernating and then come back in the spring ready to make your outdoor space beautiful again.
Another consideration for landscaping services is the level of involvement you want to spend when maintaining your landscaped exterior. Many stones, plants, trees, ground cover, and accessories (ponds, etc…) need to be carefully maintained throughout the season and be prepared for both winter and summer. Speak with you landscape professional about which materials and plants will suit not only your budget and taste, but also those that reflect your available time and annual budget for maintenance. Landscaping can be beautiful and value-adding with either high maintenance or low maintenance arrangements. Just make sure that you know beforehand what you are getting into before giving the go-ahead to your professional landscaping team to beautify your outdoor space!
Finally, people often don’t consider the basic, mundane things that make landscaping effective and visually pleasing. Professionals will often suggest testing your lawn’s pH makeup, meaning the acidity of the soil, to determine what types of plants will thrive. You should also pay close attention – as should the landscaping professional – to the areas of shade, risk of insect infestations (like grubs, beetles, and other pests) and choose plants and ground cover for those areas accordingly. It is usually wise to start form the ground up with a well-balanced pH and a flat lawn, meaning there is often some extra work that the contractor will suggest. While not directly adding to the beauty of your new outdoor space, this is sort of like painting the walls of your house while forgetting to see if the foundations are correct! A sloping yard with poor pH, bad soil, poor lighting, and in areas of high infestation risk will see your new landscaped yard deteriorate up to three times faster than if you take the appropriate corrective measures to start from scratch.
Overall, landscaping is done by many so-called professionals and do-it-yourselfers, but you should treat it as a serious investment in terms of value and added space. Doing your research on what you enjoy, the local conditions of your yard, and the general climate of the area will make your experience with landscaping a pleasant one.