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Thinking about adding a new garden, patio, or water feature to your home? Whatever you have in mind, a good landscape design project can enhance your home’s appeal, offer you more space to enjoy, and even increase your home’s value. But before you get started, ask yourself these questions.

How will the space be used? Good projects balance form and function. Maybe you want a place to entertain guests on summer evenings, a quiet space to commune with nature, or a safe and exciting place for your kids to play. The right design will depend on your goals.

What’s your style? Is it modern, traditional or rustic? If you don’t already have a style in mind, browse home and garden magazines and websites. Just don’t forget about the style of your home. Your landscape should coordinate with your home and vice versa.

What are your limitations? In other words, don’t get carried away. Keep in mind your personal budget for the project, local codes and regulations, homeowner association rules, and the specific characteristics of your property. In some cases, you may need to have work approved or permitted before you can begin.

What works best in your environment? If you are new to your home, take some time to get to know your yard. Identifying shady and sunny areas will help you choose the best kinds of plants and where to place seating. Take note of wet areas or places where water runs off quickly. You also may need to think about ways to reroute excess water. The size, shape, and soil quality of your property will also influence what you do.

How much work are you willing to do? Small projects can be rewarding for the DIY-er, while others may be best left to professionals. Also, the work doesn’t end after installation. Ask yourself how much maintenance you want to do. Know your skill level and how much time and effort you are willing to commit to the project and its upkeep.

Do you need help? If you can afford one, a landscape designer or landscape architect can be an amazing resource. These professionals know the best plants and materials to use, and can create a beautiful design that meets your needs and preferences. They are especially useful if you have problems with your property such as water drainage concerns or grading issues. If you’re installing hardscape, such as walls or patios, a stonemason will ensure proper construction.

What does the future hold? Landscapes evolve over time. Plants are living things that grow and spread. When you make your initial plans, be sure to consider the mature size of your plantings. Do you have enough space? Will roots cause problems down the road?