Your garden has "issues". Hiding an unsightly air conditioning unit, adding privacy and changing boring views to beautiful ones are issues that many of us face. Look around your garden and focus on three things you'd like to change. Create privacy with a flowering plant so you get more than just a green screen. Try adding unique plants to give your own personal touch. Look for interesting grasses like this one, the Hakonechloa Beni-Kaze.
Do your homework. Tear out favorite pictures from gardening magazines, and start making a file on what you would like for your dream garden. While not everything might be possible for your garden, it will give you or your landscape designer a visual starting point. Make a list of your favorite plants and color combinations. Don't forget about hardscape such as patios, decks and fencing.
Take your time. Don't impulsively buy plants at a garden center and attempt a garden make-over. This can be a costly gamble for those without experience. Look for hard to kill plants such as the Knock Out® rose. Many homeowners find that it takes the help of a designer to create a well-planned landscape project that includes both plants and hardscape. While there is a cost to hiring a landscape designer, it is ultimately more economical to work with an expert to create a plan specific to your yard.
What do you really want? Privacy is important to many homeowners. One pitfall many encounter is creating privacy at the expense of creativity. Adding a row of evergreens will create privacy, but will it add year-round interest and color? Landscape designers have the plant knowledge and design skills to create a "green privacy screen" using flowering shrubs, trees and fencing. Rhododendron 'Polarnacht' Hachmann is a great option for dramatic color. "People are busy, and they want to have an outdoor space that makes them feel comfortable, not frustrated and worn out from gardening chores," says Judy Nauseef, APLD, of Iowa City.
Get ready to get dirty. You can choose to do it yourself or hire help. You can hire a designer for a two hour consultation for ideas and suggestions that you can implement yourself or hire them to create a complete landscape plan. You don't have to complete the whole plan at once. A landscape can be installed over a period of time as well. Homeowners can decide what areas are most important and start there. Pick your battles.