Spring has officially arrived! In Massachusetts it usually comes with little fanfare. Winter coats linger for a few more weeks and snow shovels will stand at attention until the first confirmed sighting of the Easter Bunny. Regardless of icy New England demeanors, outside temperatures are slowly beginning to warm and your landscape is starting to wake up.
As you venture out from your winter dwelling, sans the compulsion to sprint towards the nearest idling vehicle, allow yourself a stroll around your property to observe the impact this past winter has had on your landscape. Are your evergreens brown from desiccation? Did cascading snow from the roof crush shrubs along the foundation? Is your old walkway beginning to heave? Perhaps the plow overshot your beautifully laid out stakes causing some vehicular plantslaughter. Whatever the damage, early spring is the perfect time to reassess the needs of your property, propose a plan of attack, and tackle perennial challenges head-on.
Setting a budget is the most useful first step to properly allocate time and money, so your goals and expectations are firmly rooted in reality. Once you have a budget subtract maintenance costs such as plant replacements, insect and disease controls, pruning, mowing, leaf clean-up, fertilizing, etc. This is a good place to decide what tasks you wish to take on yourself, and which will require professional assistance. Any leftover funds can be put towards additional projects such as revitalizing a tired spot in the landscape, planting extra bulbs in the fall for a splash of spring color, or installing that fire pit and patio you’ve always wanted!
In most landscapes the options are endless, but for many homeowners money is not. Appropriately setting budgets and expectations will help you focus your effort on the parts of the landscape that matter most. Walking the line between function and aesthetics is always a tough job, but landscapes that tend to work the best often strike that perfect balance.