Landscaping by Omission: Decluttering with Purpose

Bagsters, dumpsters in a bag, are available at home improvement stores.

In a recent conversation with a friend she said that, as a side hustle, she has a small home decluttering service and it inspired me to write this article about decluttering the landscape.

When a homeowner thinks about re-doing their landscape, they are often stopped by the cost. The average front or backyard landscape makeover runs around $8,000-$10,000 as long as you don’t get too fancy and just re-do the plants, gravel, mulches and irrigation system. But decluttering costs a fraction of that and can often be done by the homeowner. I call it landscaping by omission.

Let’s say that the front yard is the target. Walk out to the street and take an objective look at the house and landscape as if you were thinking about buying the house. Be critical! First look at the house itself. Can you see the front door clearly? Can you see the beautiful windows or has time covered up the beauty of your house? Are there dead or misshapen trees and shrubs?

Now let’s not get too sentimental about the plants. Even if grandma gave it to you, she would probably give you permission to remove it if it blocks the house.

Most older homes need plants removed because the wrong plant was planted in the first place. This will also greatly reduce the maintenance of constant trimming to reduce their size.

In the backyard, take a look at all the yard “art” that you have collected over the years. Homeowners have a price point in their head. If the yard art or pot is $29.99 or less then they will buy it, and do that year after year until the yard looks like it is owned by horticultural hoarders.

A few really nice large pots arranged into a group looks a lot more attractive than a line of small weathered pots along the edge of the patio. Look at those faded plastic bird feeders. Go down to the birding store and buy some nice feeders that you can be proud of. Next call an irrigator and get the irrigation system fixed before more plants die.

Now before you develop a huge pile of limbs and yard “art” to haul off, plan how to get rid of it. Your project will be painfully slow if you try to cut up dead shrubs and stuff them into bags and put old pottery out for the garbage collector. To get rid of the mess, Google “Bagsters.” They start around $200. Or for larger projects “dumpster services” start around $300 including pickup. These services will give you plenty of time to fill their dumpsters, so you don’t need to make a pile and then have to pick it up a second time and throw it in the container!

Your neighbors will love it and they may want to share a dumpster for their project!

Happy gardening!

Mike Dooley is the designer and owner of Dooley Landscape Designs. Visit his website

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