How the Yardzen Botanical Makeover Works

Yardzen's Botanical Makeover ($249) gives you a professional landscape design for one area of your yard, coupled with a shopping list and a planting plan you can either tackle on your own or hand off to a landscaper. If you're looking to simply replace or update the plants in your yard the Yardzen Botanical Makeover could be perfect for you.  Here's how it works. 

 

Step 1: Take a photo (or two) of your most challenging outdoor area. 

Complete your Design Profile, where you'll be asked some quick and easy questions about your style and preferences, and also to upload a couple photos of the outdoor area you've picked for the Makeover.

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Step 2: Your Yardzen designer gets to work.

Factoring your property's unique characteristics -- things like sun and shade patterns, your climate and planting zone and slope -- your designer creates a plan that's just for you. It includes not only plants that should thrive there, but plants that are uniquely matched to your style.

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Step 3: The big reveal

The step everyone loves the most: the one where you get your design. Unlike traditional landscape designs that show you a top-down view, making it hard to envision what it might look like planted, Yardzen's rendering gives you a life-like glimpse into how your design will look implemented. Your design also comes with a shopping list with quantities and a planting plan.

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Have questions before you get started? Our design team can't wait to hear from you.

How to choose the perfect spot for a playspace

Summer's upon us and now more than ever your kids will play outside. If you're like most parents who come to Yardzen to redesign their outdoor spaces, a cozy, creative playspace for your kids is at the top of your priority list. Here are some universal guidelines for choosing the perfect spot in your yard for your kids' dream playspace.

Start with the perimeter

To maximize use of your backyard and ensure you're left with room for the other elements you want — that gorgeous patio, the vegetable garden and the outdoor kitchen, to name a few — consider placing your playspace along the perimeter of your property. If you have a fence this serves the added bonus of providing a backdrop and, in effect, adding major coziness factor.

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Work with the elements you already have

There's nothing like a good climbing tree if you're a kid, and if you're lucky enough to have one or a few, particularly along a fence line, this is likely your playspace spot. Incorporate the tree(s) in your design and make it look like your playspace not only belongs there, but has always been there.

 Image: Active for Life

Image: Active for Life

Keep it in view

You could create the most amazing playspace for your kids, but if you can't see them playing from a convenient vantage point, it just won't work. Especially if your kids are small you'll be dragging a chair to where you can watch, or constantly going back and forth to check on them. So why not choose a spot where you can easily watch them play. From a patio, from a kitchen window, from the living room. If it's not obvious work with your Yardzen designer to choose the best spot where you can keep an eye on them as they play.

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Work with topography

Maybe the slope of your yard is a thorn in your past design attempts, but here at Yardzen we say embrace it! Work with a hill to create a playground for your kids that you'd have loved yourself as a child. The possibilities for climbing walls and slides are limitless.

 Image: Pinterest

Image: Pinterest

Here's what you need to know about Xeriscape

Necessity is the mother of invention and in the 1980's when the Western United States were stricken with years upon years of severe drought but people weren't willing to part with their full gardens, xeriscape landscaping was born. Simply put, xeriscape is a landscaping technique that requires little to no water. (In Larin xero means dry and scape means view.) Here's what you need to know before you start your xeriscape design with your Yardzen design team.

Xeriscape doesn't mean zero water

Like any new landscaping, you'll need to irrigate a new xeriscape garden. But the good news is xeriscape gardens require less water to get established and in many cases you can turn off irrigation altogether once the plants' root systems are settled.

 Photo: Xeriscape Design

Photo: Xeriscape Design

Natives should be the foundation of your design

You'll hear us say this a lot here at Yardzen - native plants are your friend. Particularly if you're seeking to establish landscaping that requires as little water as possible, natives are a great place to start because they're already adapted to your regional climate.

 Photo: AZ Plant Lady

Photo: AZ Plant Lady

Rocks and hardscape elements are a great addition

One of the most user friendly rules of landscape design is to emulate vegetation as it naturally occurs. Pay attention to the vegetation and surrounding earth on your next hike and you'll notice rocks everywhere. Xeriscape is a great opportunity to make use of rocks and pathways to reduce the total number of plants you need in your design and also to make your garden look natural.

 Photo: Landscaping Network

Photo: Landscaping Network

Just because you go xeriscape doesn't mean you need to sacrifice lush

We hear lots of clients share concern around xeriscape looking sparse and dry. This couldn't be further from the truth. Mature xeriscape gardens can be every bit as full and lush - if not more - than a water-guzzling garden. Refer back to the high likelihood these native gardens will thrive due to the pre-adaption to your climate.

Start your xeriscape garden today with your Yardzen team and cut your water bill by up to 50%. 

Our best ideas for getting more out of your side yard

Ah, the side yard — the skinny, pass-through space along the side of your house where you store your trash cans and not much else. Where others see unusable space we see unlimited potential. Here are a few of our favorite ideas for how to make it work overtime for you and your family.

1. If you have enough sunlight, install some raised beds

 Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

For lots of small properties it turns out the side yard is the perfect place to grow your herbs and veggies without sacrificing coveted space elsewhere. Of course, sunlight is the key.

2. Create a new space for outdoor dining

 Photo: HeardHome

Photo: HeardHome

In one recent Yardzen outdoor design, the kitchen had a door that opened into the side yard. So the designer proposed putting the homeowners' much-desired outdoor dining table there. And guess what? It's her family's new favorite place to enjoy a meal.

3. ... Or for entertaining

 Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Stop using your side yard as a passthrough and create an irresistible space to stop and relax. A bench with a shallow-depth seat might be your best bet to accommodate guests if your side yard is narrow.

4. ... Or create a space that's just for you

 Photo: Domino

Photo: Domino

The elements required to create a zen-like side yard sanctuary are few. Some simple seating and lighting can be all you need.

5. Simply hide the cans and beautify

 Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

One of the main reasons people bemoan their side yards is they're simply an eye sore. Consider a structure that moves your trash cans out of sight and invest some time and effort in beautifying the space. You'll naturally get more use and joy out of the space.

Yardzen's the brand-new way to reinvent your outdoor spaces all online. Start a design today that includes ideas for how to maximize your side yard space.

How to add an outdoor shower and turn your yard into an oasis

Nothing says serenity and makes you feel like you're at a spa (while still in your own yard) like an outdoor shower. Here Yardzen Pros share the things to consider when adding one to your design plan.

If budget is a big concern, consider free-standing

The absolute quickest and easiest way to add an outdoor shower is a freestanding one like this beauty from Cambridge Casual ($250). Just hook it up to a garden hose and you're good to go. A downside is that it doesn't have a hot and cold water setting, but at that price maybe it won't matter?

 Photo: Cambridge Casual/Wayfair

Photo: Cambridge Casual/Wayfair

If budget is a concern but you don't want to use a hose, stay close to existing plumbing

If you're set on an installed shower but want to keep costs down and avoid running new plumbing lines (which can get expensive fast), add an outdoor shower where you already have water outside. The most logical place is near an existing external spigot (it's ok if it only has cold water). You'll need a plumber to add hot water.

 Photo: Top Notch Plumbing

Photo: Top Notch Plumbing

If you just want your dream outdoor shower, here's what to do

Hire a plumber you trust (or work with your Yardzen concierge to find one) and hook up to the permanent water lines in your house. If possible try to stay as close to an existing hot water source like an interior shower to cut down on the distance your new pipes have to run. If you go this route the world's your oyster.

 Photo: Architectural Art Designs

Photo: Architectural Art Designs

Here's a before and after from a Yardzen customer in Marin County

A young family had an underutilized side yard -- a perfect place to add an outdoor shower. Here's the dramatic -- and gorgeous -- transformation.

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