7 Common Backyard Remodeling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Are you looking to remodel your backyard, but aren’t quite sure how to get started?

Remodeling your backyard can increase the value of your home, make your space safer, and make your home more enjoyable for your friends and family members. But, when remodeling your backyard, there are some common mistakes that you need to avoid.

Read on to learn about the top backyard remodeling mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Not Having a Clear Vision 

Before you begin remodeling your backyard, you need to have a clear idea of what you want. Changing your mind about a design isn’t just costly, it’s also very time-consuming.

Having a detailed plan before you get started will eliminate unexpected costs and surprises during construction. If you have no idea what you want your backyard to look like, you can work with a landscape designer.

2. Failing to Clean Your Yard Before Remodeling 

While you may be really excited about your remodeling plans, you don’t want to forget to clean up your yard first. Forgetting to clean up your yard is like attempting to remodel a kitchen that’s messy and filled with dirty pots and pans.

Here are some tips to clean up your backyard before you remodel it:

  • Mow, edge, and fertilize your yard- you can hire local lawn services to take care of this for you
  • Spread mulch across your lawn if you’re remodeling during the springtime
  • Fix existing structures that you don’t plan on replacing, such as fences, sheds, and patios
  • Trim your bushes and shrubs
  • Remove dead trees and branches
  • Bring plants inside when the weather gets cold

If your lawn has taken a really bad beating, you may also want to consider regrowing it from scratch.

3. Arranging Shrubs and Trees Symmetrically 

While arranging your shrubs and trees in a symmetrical manner may seem elegant and classy, keep in mind that symmetrical arrangement can be very hard to maintain.

Arranging shrubs and trees symmetrically means you’ll constantly have to prune them to make sure they stay the same shape and height. If one tree or shrub is obviously higher than the other, it can give a tacky appearance to your home. This is why we recommend arranging your trees and shrubs in an asymmetrical manner.

4. Hiring the Wrong Contractor

No matter how well you have your backyard design figured out, hiring the wrong contractor can completely foil your plans. Here are some things to keep in mind when hiring a contractor for your backyard remodel:

  • Ask for recommendations from friends, neighbors, and family members
  • Gather a list of quotes
  • Look at the contractor’s portfolio, and make sure they have examples that closely match your backyard vision
  • Ask about their certifications, licenses, insurance, and experience

Make sure to interview at least three contractors before hiring. Communication is a very important aspect of making your backyard remodel dream come to life, so you want to make sure you find a contractor who replies promptly to your inquiries.

5. Failing to Obtain the Necessary Permits

Before you break ground on your backyard, you’ll likely need to obtain some permits. If you don’t obtain the right permits, you may have to pay some hefty fines. Here are some landscaping features that always require you to obtain a permit:

  • Installing a pool or pool deck
  • Installing a footer to support a deck or wall post
  • Building a retaining wall that’s higher than two feet
  • Installing plumbing, electrical, or gas lines
  • Removing trees
  • Building a fence that’s higher than 6-7 feet

Also, if your home is located in a resource protection area (aka, an environmentally sensitive area), you will need to complete a site survey before you break ground. If your property lies on a steep slope, you may also need to remove unstable soil and replace it with a substrate.

And, if you live in a newer home with poor soil quality, you may be required to excavate as much as four feet into the ground. To find out what permits you need, you can contact your local city hall or your town’s building inspector.

6. Scalping Your Grass

Grass scalping is another common mistake homeowners make when remodeling their backyard. Grass scalping involves setting your lawn mower to its lowest setting and cutting your grass to the point that you’re exposing the stems.

While many homeowners think that scalping makes the grass look nice, it can cause major stress on your grass. It can also stall root growth. To figure out how short to cut your grass, consult with your contractor.

7. Not Researching the Plants You Purchase

Many homeowners make the mistake of choosing plants solely based on their aesthetic value. But, the prettiest plants don’t always make the best plants, especially if you live in a climate with extreme temperatures.

Before choosing plants, you first need to figure out where you’re going to place them. This way, you’ll know exactly how much growing space you have. It’s also important to understand that certain plants morph in appearance as they grow. Before choosing plants, make sure you understand how their appearances change as they grow.

You’ll also need to consider your local weather, as well as your backyard’s sunlight and soil conditions. If you’re new to gardening, it’s best to opt for plants that grow naturally in your area, as these will be the most low maintenance.

Backyard Remodeling Mistakes: Are You Ready to Remodel? 

Now that you know these backyard remodeling mistakes, it’s time to start your remodeling project. Before you know it, you’ll have the backyard of your dreams.

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more remodeling tips and tricks.

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