Constructing Permanent Landscape Features

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Why is November a good month to construct permanent landscape features?

As a landscape designer, I work with clients year round, and I’ve noticed most people think of gardening in the spring. However, there are advantages to landscaping in autumn – particularly when it comes to building hardscapes (permanent features) and planting large items.

In areas of the country where temperatures remain mild, landscaping can be done year round. If you live where frosts are mild or non-existent, you can build and plant right through the winter. Rains may delay construction for short periods of time, but the cooler weather is good for heavy work and setting concrete.  November often offers some of the best weather for outdoor work – before it gets too cold or too wet.

In colder climates, building is usually only delayed by heavy snow. Although a storm can sweep through in November, it is less likely to be a month for blizzards than mid-winter months. Frozen ground is not practical for planting, but most non-living features can be built perfectly well despite the occasional freeze, and most areas haven’t had a chance to freeze deeply by November.

This is the time to build the bones of your landscape. Put in outdoor rooms, patios, retaining walls, stairways, driveways and walkways, form swimming pools, cabanas and gazebos, and hammer together potting sheds, storage and greenhouses. Unless you are experiencing extreme weather, most landscaping jobs can be carved out now when the mess and inconvenience is less likely to get in your way.

Most construction can easily be done year round when the weather permits. Since it’s human nature to forget about the garden when looking out the window offers a view to the coming winter months, many projects are put on hold. That means landscape designers, contractors and other professionals are less booked in cool months. You could wait for spring and stand in line as they book up, or you can snap them up now. The same goes for materials and labor. There is no guarantee that you will get lower prices with the economy being what it is, but this would be your best chance to find good deals and to take advantage of better availability.

Another bonus of doing landscape construction this month is that everything will be done and ready to plant when everybody else is just breaking ground in early spring. Go ahead. Start building your landscape features now and make your neighbors jealous come springtime!

Photo credits: Jane Gates

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