Where to get some design help for fixing up the landscaping around a house?

generic landscaped yard area

Jon emails:

I moved into a home with overgrown and misplaced landscaping. I'd like to resuscitate some plants/shrubs, relocate a few, remove a bunch and supplement to fill in any missing spots. Problem is that I need someone with an "eye" for landscape design to help (and to understand my goals).
I found the landscaping companies expensive and more interested in selling me a new "package" rather than work with and supplement what is here. My thought is that I need someone to design the gardens (location, types and location of plantings) and I could do the grunt work.

Jon notes that, obviously, we're at the end of the season for this sort of thing. But now is actually not a bad time to start planning a little bit for next spring.

Fixing up the landscaping can make a big difference in how a house looks. Sometimes just cutting back (or taking out) old, overgrown bushes will make things look a lot more inviting. Also: You'll probably win a few points with your neighbors. And people often how like to chat about that kind of thing when you're out working, so it's a nice opportunity to meet people in the neighborhood.

We had a somewhat similar question years ago for a large backyard project, but things change and it sounds like Jon doesn't need anything on that scale. It might be enough to just snap a few pics and show the people at a local garden store and they might have some good ideas.

So... got a suggestion for Jon and his yard? Please share! And sentence or two about your suggestion can be helpful.


I've had very good luck with Troy's on rt. 9 just north of Latham, beyond Boght Corners. Very helpful staff there.

Since you are willing to do the work, you might want to consider some consulting time with a master gardener. I worked with one a few years ago when I wanted to put in a vegetable garden and rethink my landscaping. She helped me with layout and came over for a few sessions where she helped me with some of the work and taught me the basics of replanting and caring for my plants.

They generally have a good eye for this kind of stuff. They also take into account your willingness to maintain landscaping and the life cycle of the plants you are considering. Cornell cooperative extension might be a good place to start.

I know it's not a local company/individual, but the PBS show "Growing a Greener World" often features episodes where the hosts are assisting homeowners reshaping their gardens with what plants they already have, e.g. moving a shade/sun plant to an appropriate spot in the yard, or giving a plant the appropriate amount of space it needs. It's often shown on WMHT's Create TV (channel 17.2), and I've gotten a lot of helpful hints and tips myself. They're website is also very helpful: www.growingagreenerworld.com.

Good luck and have fun with it– gardening shouldn't be viewed as a chore, but rather a rewarding activity that you and your fellow home dwellers get pleasure out of.

You should try John and Laura Kelly of Land Design Inc. They specialize in exactly what you want. For less than $200 they come to your house for 2 hours and work with you on what can be kept, what should be taken out, and what is better to plant there. They know local climate and native plants. You fill out a questionnaire first so the time they are onsite is maximized. They put labeled flags where the new plants should go so you can do the rest of the work yourself.

I have used them twice and have been incredibly pleased.

Thaniks, everyone! Always appreciate the wisdom of the AOA followers


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