Installing Your Landscape in Phases
Phasing in a landscape means installing it in stages rather than all at once. There are several advantages to retaining the landscape plan as you conceived it originally. First, you can install each phase of your landscape with the knowledge that, eventually, you will have exactly what you want. You also will be able to concentrate on installing high quality plants and materials during each phase. You won't have to cut corners or settle for something you don't really like. Phasing in your landscape also gives you some extra time - to install the components of each phase carefully and properly, to pre-shop for items to be installed during the next phases, to learn to maintain the existing components of your landscape and, of course, to save up for the supplies and materials needed for future phases.

Don't Let Phasing In Faze You

Review your landscape plan. Identify the essential elements on your plan and label them with a 1 to designate first priority. Repeat this process for second, third and fourth priority items. During the process of prioritizing landscape elements, consider those elements that will be the easiest to add or move and those that will be the most difficult. Ask yourself questions like, "Will I be willing and able to move this play structure or add this planter later?" Identifying and prioritizing these elements accordingly will help to ease installation of items earmarked for future phases.

Photo credit: Charles Mann, Charles Mann Photography

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Draw Existing Site
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  • Put Irrigation and Grading First
    It is easiest and most cost effective to complete all grading activities at once, before installing the landscape. As a general rule, it is easier to install all of the major components of the irrigation system, such as the poly tubing or PVC pipe, at the same time. Therefore, they should be included in the first phase of your installation.
  • Maintain Access
    Try not to block gates or build fences or walls that will hinder installation of landscape elements planned for later phases. Put sleeves under sidewalks or block outs (also called stub outs) in walls to make way for features, such as wiring for lighting, to be added in future phases.
  • Consider Temporary Solutions
    If your plan to phase in the landscape leaves you with some temporary bare spots, consider covering them with a layer of top dressing or sowing those areas with wildflower seeds until you are able to finish the installation. This will help with dust control and also will provide you with something nice to look at while you are waiting to finish up.

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