Mar 13, 2015

Outdoor landscaping projects can seem pretty daunting; after all, your yard essentially gives visitors the first impression of what kinds of design elements to expect when they walk through your front door. Thankfully there are outdoor design and lifestyle experts like HGTV's Carson Arthur, host of Critical Listing and Green Force, who are here to help guide your next project in the right direction.

Where To Start

Like every renovation project, Carson says that sticking to a budget is the absolute key to a successful landscaping project.

"Always start with useable space," he says. "Budget for that deck or the patio because this is where you will spend the majority of your time in the backyard. Having a beautiful lawn to look at is one thing, but having somewhere for the family to sit is by far the priority...and the biggest investment."

Carson really stresses the value of useable space, explaining that it is important to plan your renovation around a timeline because it can impact your budget depending on your future plans.

"Really consider how long you want to be in the home. Items like a new deck have a shorter lifespan than a patio. Maybe opting for a more expensive patio is a wiser decision than paying to replace a worn out deck."

Tips & Tricks

Often there are yard spaces that just aren't as big as we would like them to be. To maximize a smaller space, Carson has two words: go vertical!

"Adding a great pergola over a small backyard gives instant impact. Pergolas help re-enforce the concept of outdoor room by defining the space and creating overhead privacy."

Think before you act and have a plan. Carson attributes homeowners' most common mistakes to rushing a renovation without thinking of key elements. He says that there is danger in buying a bunch of garden accessories without actually having a long-term vision.

"Before anyone starts any backyard gardening, I always advise on having a real design done so that you never have to move, dig up, or cut down any of your new investments."

To avoid these potential disasters, consider bringing in an expert. Carson says that hiring a respectable designer can actually save you a lot of money by providing guidance and project knowledge.

"Too many outdoor DIY projects go horribly wrong, costing the homeowner time and money. I'm all for saving on the budget, but when installing outdoors, there is a whole new set of variables that most home builders have never worked with before."

For more helpful outdoor design hacks, check out Carson's presentation on the Main Stage at the Edmonton Home + Garden Show, March 19-22 at the Edmonton Expo Centre. Don't have tickets yet? Get 2-for-1 on Facebook and treat a friend or family member to the show. We can't wait to see you there!