March 2017 Writer / Neil Lucas Start with a Plan Before you start any projects to enhance the curb appeal of your home or expand your outdoor living area, the pros at Noll Landscaping suggest that you formulate a plan. Among the things to consider in developing a plan is to critically examine your existing trees and foliage. Ask yourself if the existing plants enhance or detract from your house, and if can they be trimmed, pruned, or need replacing? The answers will go a long way in determining whether you have a DIY project or you need to bring in professional assistance. Whether it’s a DIY project or you hire a professional to do all or a part of the project, Noll Landscaping also suggests that the landscaping plan include using timeless materials, that it have a point of interest or enjoyment, and that it incorporate materials that will provide year-round color. Don’t forget that adding outdoor lighting not only increases the beauty of the home but also its security. Dan Weingart of Green Image Landscape indicated that it’s important to develop a sense of what your goals are and incorporate those in your DIY plan or share them with your professional landscaper. For example, are you an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys yard work, or are you looking for something low maintenance? You should also consider the location from which you plan to enjoy the area. Where will you be sitting when you will be taking advantage of the view? Dan also said it’s helpful if you do a bit of homework to get a sense of what you like and do not like. Sharing your likes and dislikes can save you and your landscaper a great deal of time and money. Dan points to the innumerable websites and design magazines sources to use to get a sense of what works for you. Do I need a Professional Provided you have the time and desire, there are many things such as spreading mulch, cleaning out beds of leaves and debris, and pulling weeds that many of us can do without the help from a professional landscaper. However, if you’re planning on doing anything beyond these maintenance projects, you may want to bring in a professional. In particular, if the project includes building any new structures, you probably want to consult a professional who knows and understands the regulatory, permitting and homeowners association issues that could play havoc with your plans. If you expect to have any permitting issues, address them in the planning stage, advises Dan Weigart. In choosing a professional, Catherine Simpkins of Green Lawn by Design understands that finding the right lawn and landscape professional can feel overwhelming. However, Simpkins advises, “The good news is that it doesn’t have to be difficult if you know what questions to ask.” The questions that Simpkins recommends asking are: • Do they have a great reputation? • Are they up on the latest technologies? • Do they have proper credentials? According to Simpkins, a professional lawn care provider is required by law to have proper licensing and certification to apply any chemicals used on your lawn. Simpkins also emphasized that as an added service they focus on helping potential clients through educating them on traditional lawn care, organic treatments, and setting proper expectations. This may be something you look for in hiring your professional. Looking for Something Special to Complete the Project With any project, we are always looking for that one thing that makes it special. If your project includes a concrete walk, concrete deck or concrete patio the guys at Lanex Development, certified installers of Rubaroc™, can finish that ugly, gray surface in a way to make it truly special. As the name suggests, Rubaroc™ lays down a layer of man-made EPDM rubber on top of the concrete. Unlike concrete or epoxy-painted concrete finishes, the texture of a Rubaroc™ surface makes it slip-resistant. Because it is air and water permeable, it is also anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Quite simply, water does not puddle on a Rubaroc™ surface because the water can move through it. While the Rubaroc™ surface has a number of physical attributes that make it superior to plain concrete, it can be also very attractive. Do you have an old pool deck with cracked concrete? Cover it with Rubabroc™ and you can incorporate your company logo or that of your favorite team. Several professional sports teams have installed a Rubaroc™ surface in their locker rooms. Another source for finding that special addition to any project is the folks at the Indy Home Design Center. They have relationships with a multitude of national home furniture and fixture manufacturers along with the people to assist you in finding that special addition. Their selection is unmatched. The Indy Home Design Center offers top brands with a tremendous selection at irresistible prices. Unlike the big box stores, the Indy Home Design Center lets you chose from a manufacturer’s entire line and is not limited to the items a national buyer thinks you might want and that will be most profitable for the store. With this spring-like weather, the landscapers and lawn care professionals’ schedules will be filling earlier than normal. So, if you want to get that project underway and completed before summer comes, we would suggest you begin the planning process immediately.