Yardzen Design Director, Kevin Lenhart, shares his top tips for timing your outdoor project
We’re often asked, “when is the best time to start my landscaping project?” The short answer: as soon as you can! Outdoor design and build can be a several-month project, often four to six months from design to install, so this is certainly one home improvement that requires planning and foresight. Here are some frequently asked questions about timing your outdoor project.
How long does the Yardzen process take?
From end to end, the typical Yardzen project takes about four months, although this can vary significantly depending on the scope of the work.
Yardzen provides initial landscape designs within 3-4 weeks of project initiation, and final designs within 5-6 weeks.
Once a homeowner receives their final design, their account manager will get to work to match them with a local, vetted landscape contractor in our Pro Network. This typically takes 3-5 weeks.
Depending on project scope, installation can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, but one to two months is common for a mid-range landscape installation.
If I want to be enjoying my new yard this summer, when should I book a contractor?
Contractors are harder to book in their busy season (Spring through Fall), so it is best to plan ahead. Want a new yard by next summer? Aim to book your contractor during the fall or winter to ensure that they are ready to break ground in the spring. With the spike in pandemic landscape interest we’ve seen increased wait times, so it’s best to get on a contractor’s books as soon as you can. Yardzen’s team is here to help facilitate the entire contractor matching and selection process.
I live in a warm climate, can landscape construction work be done in the winter?
Yes! In warmer climates, including many parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida, labor continues year-round with many Yardzen installations happening September through March.
Can I make any progress on my yard in the winter?
Starting design in the Winter is a strategic win, especially for clients in climates where freezing temperatures preclude Winter labor.
A winter kickoff takes advantage of the cold season to work through project design and contractor coordination. By the time the weather warms and installations resume, clients can have designs in hand, a contractor in place, and be ready to break ground.
Reaching out to a contractor in the Winter also improves a clients’ odds of getting on their installation calendar sooner. At the minimum, contractors will be more available for site visits, cost estimation, and working through any final design adjustments with clients during the Winter off-season, all work that must be wrapped before installation can proceed.
Thinking again of our goal to plant when the planting is good, a Winter kickoff leaves you well positioned for Spring plant installation.
When is the best time to plant?
Many regard Fall as the ideal planting season. Plants installed in Fall have the entire Winter dormant period to bulk up their root systems, aided by cool air and precipitation that keep the soil moist.
(Added perk: Fall planting helps pollinating insects find food in a typically scarce season.)
In milder climates, Summer planting is possible for many plant species, though increased heat requires extra work and water to keep new plants healthy.
In warmer climates, Winter planting is downright preferable for many plants (coniferous evergreens excluded), aided by the same dormancy and cool, moist conditions as Fall plantings. This being said, as temperature drops so does Winter planting viability, and frozen ground is a non-starter.
The target of Spring or Fall itself is loosely defined – depending on where you are, Spring planting can happen in March or May, Fall planting in September or November. Your contractor will know what is viable and what is not. The point is: you likely have more options for planting than you think.
Planting is often the final step in the installation process. So, when we think of timing our projects for optimal planting, we must consider the steps that come before it.
All this is to say: landscape design projects can, and should, happen all year long.
Considering the dynamism of climate, contractor availability, product supply, and the many other factors affecting landscape projects, the single best thing you can do to ensure a timely, smooth project is to start early, whenever that may be.