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The Warsaw Voice » Society » March 28, 2007
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In My Backyard
March 28, 2007 By Magda Kuszewska   
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Many people find the look of their yard as important as the interior of their house. Spring is the perfect time to arrange your yard. Remember that a beautiful garden says a lot, not only about the estate, but about its owners as well.

The best time to take a critical look at your yard is early spring. "It is a good idea to take a walk around the house with a sheet of paper to note down your observations," says Jan Szybilski, a yard designer. "Around this time of year, you see the garden in its basic shape. Spring is the best time to introduce beneficial changes to your yard, which you will then enjoy throughout summer and part of the fall." The professional design of a yard is a big challenge, comparable to interior design, so it worth using comprehensive services from a specialized landscaping company. Not only will they plant the lawn employing the latest technologies, but put automatic watering systems in the yard and take care of the proper arrangement of ponds, rocks and lighting elements. Professional companies will do everything for you, providing you with a detailed design, a list of planned plants and instructions on how to look after them.

Planning is fundamental
It is a good idea to come to a landscaping company with an overall idea for the yard already in your head. For inspiration, consult books, gardening magazines and your friends' yards. You can also pay a visit to botanical gardens, like the ones in Powsin near Warsaw, and note down the names of plants that you particularly like. Try calling a household meeting to determine what each of you finds necessary in your yard, be it a pool, a fireplace, a gazebo, a tennis court, a pond, a kennel or a large lawn. Think a while and then tell your yard designers what you are going to use the garden for. Do you have little children or do you want to keep dogs? Make sure you know exactly how much you want to invest in setting up your yard.

When you talk to the landscaping company and make arrangements with them, there are a few important things to remember. First of all, do not pick only those plant species which you like, but ones which are sure to thrive. Do not go exclusively for novelty plants, but bushes and trees that will stay healthy in the Polish climate and are just as decorative. Check whether the plants you have selected will grow faster than their green neighbors or not. In every yard, it is advisable that the arrangement does not visually diminish the space, particularly in small yards. Lower plants should be placed in front of taller ones and you should always check which side gets the most sun.

Hedges should never reach higher than your eyes. Architectural details like stairs, pergolas and ponds are less conspicuous when placed to the side or near the walls of the house. Cutting down old and partially rotten trees, like big willows, destroys breeding places for a lot of bird species and endangered species of small bats. To avoid disappointments, choose plants that are easy to look after and remember that larger and older plants are less troublesome and adjust to new environments better.

Valuable yards
The longer a landscaping company has been around the more it charges for its services. You pay for experience and the quality guarantee. Try negotiating every contract though, as the growing competition on the market may result in a nice discount for you.

The entire cost of a yard arrangement involves the design, the materials and labor. Most companies provide you with a detailed cost estimate. Some companies give prices per square meter, which can be anywhere between zl.30 and 60. The price includes a draft design and the purchase and planting of plants and lawn. "Professional landscaping companies give yard owners the important guarantee that the plants they plant will grow so if any plants die in the first season, the company will replace them free of charge," said Anna, a sales assistant at a gardening center in Warsaw.

Yard designs cost from zl.60 to over 10,000. The final cost usually depends on the number of partial designs of architectural features, electric and watering installations and so on. Building small hills can make flat plots of land more attractive and separate the area from an unattractive neighborhood. It is an extra expense of over zl.500 for 10 cubic meters of fertile soil. Automatic watering systems are a must these days, as they benefit the plants, make looking after the yard much easier and reduce the consumption of water. The average cost of a watering system, including materials and labor, is around zl.10,000 for yards of up to 1,000 sq m. A small pond costs zl.500 per sq m, but you should also add the cost of the earthwork and the pump and an external filter that will keep the water clean.

Architectural features are important in every yard. You can buy prefabricated wooden gazebos at many supermarkets and gardening centers for zl.2,500 up. A small bridge costs around zl.1,000 and a bench is an expense of zl.200 to 500.

Finally, the fundamental thing in every yard-the lawn. Landscaping companies will plant one for you at around zl.10 per sq m when it is sown, while the increasingly popular roll-out lawns cost zl.20-30 per sq m, labor included.
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