It's the season! The crazy season where EVERYONE is outdoors and getting their hands in the dirt to make their corner of the earth a bit prettier. I LOVE this season. Genuinely live for this season - more than ever now that I'm in a part of the country that actually freezes during the winter. (FYI - still thawing out...still terrified of having to face it again in 5-6 months.)
But there's a certain part of landscaping that everyone in the world should acknowledge and respect...and that's that it comes LAST. In the timeline of home renovations, building, hardscaping, significant exterior repairs, painting, etc., plants are the very last that should be called to the stage. Here's why:
Plants are living things. I know, duh, right? But you'd be amazed at how many project managers for new construction or renovations feel the need to meet a deadline, so they start landscaping at the same time they do interior demolition. Construction dust, debris, runoff all do one thing...settle on the ground and kill any and all new plants.
Additionally, non landscape contractors are on site to get their particular job done. The painter doesn't care that those agaves he's rinsing his brushes over just went in the ground and cost you $175 a pop. The tile guy doesn't care that the sedum he's stepping on to make that perfect corner cut on your hand-painted tile is now dead. And beyond that, the landscape crew you hired to install your plants is not paid enough to get into fights with other contractors just to keep your investment safe.
The landscape design and install teams I respect most are the ones who draw a very firm line with clients: They do not set foot on a property for install until all other workers have stepped off. And I have to be honest - I understand the reasons why the physical home Want to add a caption to this image? Click the Settings icon. would need to be completed before a client - even a high profile client - moves on site. But after installing countless landscapes in Southern California, I've never experienced an angry homeowner when their landscape is still being installed while they're living there. By and large, they all seem to love being involved in the process. Love coming out to watch the transformation, love seeing their brick and mortar become their particular kind of oasis.
So remember! Finish everything up first. Give your plants their best chance at survival by planting after all construction is done. You'll thank yourself in the end.
*Exceptions to this rule may include planting in areas to give a jump start on growth before new construction commences. For example, I have a client in Austin who needs a mature privacy hedge by the time they move in next year. Now is the time to get it planted, and generally this is done working alongside the architect and builder to make sure the plants are protected.