Outdoor enthusiasts are upending the tradition of winter nights spent poring over seed catalogs in anticipation of hours of laboring in the dirt come spring. Instead of just picking out special seeds and plants, property owners are creating well thought out plans with an array of benefits that better fits their healthy lifestyles choices and recognizes their environmental concerns. They are designing durable and enduring alterations to their landscapes that increase enjoyment and reduce work and you can too! Late winter is a good time to start thinking about this and assembling the different parts that make a plan reality.

Here are some thoughts on ways you can get started:

  • Know Your Vision: How you see things and the practical use of your property are valuable components in achieving success. Can the land support what you want to do? With changing climate and erratic weather, can your landscape be “wash and wear” instead of requiring overwhelming care? You can start by writing notes about what you would like to see more of and how the property is affected by natural forces. For instance if deer eat your plants or if your basement might flood after heavy rains then your vision would include deer resistant vegetation and how to manage water within the landscape.

    Your vision can be illustrated by creating a   design concept

  • Your Landscape Serves You: Who are the people that use your landscape? Does it include family, friends and pets? Will there be active and passive spaces designed to support hobbies, sports and relaxing? You can start by listing the users of the landscape and their interests. For example if you would like to see more birds up close, a part of the landscape can be designed with plant selections that provide food, shelter and habitat to enhance wildlife viewing.
  • Benefits Create Action: Chances are that if you see personal benefits from your landscape, you will want to do more and the result is abundance for yourself and others. Studies show time spent outdoors improves overall health through increased exercise, reduced stress and enhanced cognitive function (stimulates your brain because nature is interesting!). You can even create grazing/edible landscapes for super fresh snacks and additions to your culinary creations. What benefits do you desire?
  • Environmental Impact: A landscape that is truly good for you will be good for your community and the planet. Your attention to water conservation, using less pesticides, encouraging diverse flora and fauna, reducing energy consumption and better management of other natural resources improves your lifestyle directly and creates abundance for all that surround you.

Knowledge leads to growth. Knowing yourself, who is around you, the benefits produced and how nature is leveraged can give you a good start to realizing all of things that you can do on your property. Make the most important seed you plant this year be a landscape design that brings you joy and satisfaction.