Urban landscaping through conventional or container gardening is great for city folk in many ways. In recent years and thanks to the abundance of online DIY video tutorials, a huge wave of DIY enthusiasts has sprouted everywhere, and more people are changing the look of their homes and neighborhoods through simple projects. Of course, big landscaping projects require much more than just getting the right tools for the job and pumping yourself up with optimism, but with enough experience, DIYers can also eventually embark on large, professional-grade projects.
If you’re completely new to the concept of landscaping and would like to know how you can go about beautifying your own home, this article is aimed at you!
1. What’s the Big Deal with Urban Landscaping, Anyway?
What is "landscaping"? And why do people go to such lengths just to have their home or place of work landscaped? It’s ironic. People have the highest tendency to move towards urban areas for the opportunities and hi-tech amenities that abound there; but at the same time, they want to always experience "peace and quiet" which is almost absolutely absent in the razzle-dazzle of the city. They want to have the best of both worlds. "Impossible!" you may say.
Imagine an average working person in the city. He or she is always busy. Almost no time left for socializing —not even with close friends and family! A quick message or a call is the best one can do. However, most young city folks seem to be able to spend time on their appearance (at salon, gym or spa). Why do we spend our valuable time on our personal appearance? Well, it’s pretty simple, looking good makes us feel good!
It’s the same deal with our surroundings. Having aesthetically attractive spaces makes people feel good. They buy expensive stuff just to make their spaces look and feel great. Even the trash bin must match the beauty of the whole household or workplace, for that matter!
On a larger scale, people employ architects to make the aesthetically proper design of a house, building or even only portions of it. The grounds cannot escape their blessed destiny of beatification. Hence, the value of landscapers and their work.
2. Should I Hire a Pro or do It Myself?
Many artistically-inclined house owners undertake their own landscaping projects, and some even prove to be better than some professional landscapers (and at a much lesser cost)! So, why not give it a shot and embark on a DIY urban garden project? You’ll learn useful gardening hacks in the process!
For larger projects, there may be some technical handicaps that can end up in shortcomings later —and that’s normal among non-professionals— but nothing that cannot be remedied if you hire a professional to assist you in the design of your project before you begin.
For those who know nothing about landscaping and are sure that they do not even possess the smallest grain of artistry in their genes, they can beautify their home and neighborhood with the help of one of many landscaping companies which provide professional services to match their landscaping requirements. They only have to tell the professional landscapers what they want with their gardens and lawns and the project is on.
Being professionals and with an extensive track record on the landscaping business, they will ask the right questions and make suggestions for sensible ideas that will make the overall result better. They want to keep a level of performance that will maintain their corporate image.
If you do decide to hire a professional, it’s important that you have a Service Contract signed by both parties, clearly stipulating the terms and conditions of undertaking the project including costs, responsibilities, and timeframe. It gives you peace of mind to be assured that there is some document to protect your back (and front and all other "sides") should anything go wrong.
3. Containers for Your Garden
Finding the right planters can be a challenging task. Do you go for less expensive or a little higher-end planter? Should you choose wood, plastic, fiberglass, ceramic or stone? If you live in an apartment or a small space, containers are your best friends; if you have a larger space, you might want to go with wood instead. How about color? Do you want them to match the house or stand out somewhat? These are all choices you'll have to make while selecting the right planters for your project.
The material your planters are made out of can have a significant impact on the look, color, weight, and price. We will cover a few of the most popular materials in this article to help you get started.
Plastic containers are lightweight, come in a variety of colors and are not very expensive. You are able to buy these at most garden or hardware stores. The issue I find with these is that they have to be replaced often and they are usually not that attractive. However, if you're looking to keep the price as low as possible then this is the choice for you.
Wood planters are also usually lightweight and they can be very pleasing to the eye. There are not as many color choices available unless you're going to paint or stain them. Cedar planters typically do well in the weather and are still on the relatively inexpensive side. They do tend to start falling apart after a while as the nails or staples start to give way. This is most certainly a step up from plastic route though.
Having a wide range of color choices is something you for sure get when going with a ceramic planter. They tend to be a little heavier than the plastic and wood. I have found that cost can vary quite a bit in this line so you can probably find something in the price range you're looking for. The only knock on the ceramic planters is they can be fragile and break fairly easily. Then it's back to where you purchased them with hopes they still have the same style so that you can match the rest of your set.
Fiberglass or GFRC planters are more durable. GFRC stands for glass fiber reinforced concrete. This a technique to try to resemble natural concrete or stone planters yet still keep the weight down. They are still heavier than the others we talked about earlier but lighter than natural concrete. These run higher cost wise but will last longer so you're not replacing them as often. Colors can usually be integrated into to the mix to give a variety of color options.
Natural concrete planters or stone planters are on the heavier side so you shouldn't have thieves running off with them in the middle of the night. They are also on the higher end, price wise. The tradeoff you get for this though is the durability. I have one that's over 18 years old sitting on my grandparent's porch. When you figure the price out per year of use, the cost is comparable to the other material options. Color can also be added to concrete mixes as well and some manufacturers offer custom colors.
4. Final Notes
If you own little or no tools for your gardening and landscaping projects, be sure to look up a few buyer’s guides and consumer reviews to ensure that you buy stuff that will last you as long as possible. High prices usually stand for high quality when it comes to tools, but some manufacturers will surprise you! Just be sure to educate yourself before visiting the hardware store.
Lastly, be sure to design an efficient watering system for your projects. Not only will you be maximizing our planet’s resources, but you’ll also be saving a few bucks on the water bill!
I hope you now have a better understanding of what urban landscaping is now, how it can impact the social mood of your neighborhood, and how you can go about journeying into the magical world of urban garden landscaping!