How to Pick the Best Time of Year to Redo Your Landscaping

Amber Guetebier
Written by Amber Guetebier
Updated April 4, 2022
A father and child plant a tree
Photo: WavebreakmediaMicro/Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Spring is popular for planting trees, shrubs, and larger perennials.

  • Spring temperature fluctuations aren’t conducive to large-scale landscaping projects.  

  • Hot summer heat can damage new plants.

  • Fall is the best time of year for a major landscape makeover.

  • Cool fall weather makes planting pleasant and keeps watering levels easy. 

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Whether it’s a seed catalog you’ve been drooling over all winter or a storybook garden of your youth, having an outdoor oasis you love as much as your home is every homeowner’s dream. And, unless your house came with a custom landscape plan, the odds are you’ve given some serious thought to changing at least one corner of your own slice of paradise. So, what’s the best time of year to actually embark on a landscape redo, whether that’s DIY or you’re hiring a crew? This guide will help you figure out what will work for you. 

When Is the Best Time of Year to Redo Landscaping?

While every garden has four seasons—and all but the cold of winter beckon us to do some digging—there are definitely better times for a complete landscaping redo. Generally speaking, landscaping by adding larger trees, perennials, or shrubs in the spring benefit from plenty of warmer weather for growth, allowing them to be established well before cold weather sets in. But when it comes to a total landscaping makeover, many gardeners and landscapers agree that early fall, when the temperatures just begin to drop, can be the ideal time to redo landscaping.  

That said, most homeowners will likely find the best time of year to redo your landscaping is probably the time when they have the budget—and your landscaper has the time. Here are a few of the pros and cons of the different seasons for landscaping projects.

Spring 

Spring makes a wonderful time to reevaluate the state of our gardens and refresh your landscaping. Early spring is the perfect time for a cleanup to get everything in tip-top shape before the big growing season ahead. 

Spring gardening tasks usually include:

While all of that may sound like a landscaping makeover, it usually works with existing plantings rather than a complete redo. For a total landscape redo, spring has some obstacles.  

  • Established and existing plants may not have leafed out or bloomed, making it difficult to place new plants without crowding.

  • Existing bulbs (including summer flowering bulbs) may not have come up yet, so there’s a risk of damaging or disrupting existing flower beds.

  • Trees may not have leafed out, meaning sun and shade patterns are unknown.

  • Temperatures can vary, including heatwaves and sudden frosts.

Summer

A stone garden path
Photo: Ariel Bravy/Adobe Stock

Summer is the time of abundance, and it’s definitely time to be in our gardens. The weather wants us outside, and the daylight lasts longer. For that reason, many of us have the time and motivation to do landscaping projects. The plant selection at local garden centers is at its peak, and the inspiration could not be any better. 

  • Summer can be a great time to take on a hardscaping project like a garden path or patio vs. an entire landscaping re-do.

  • Summer is also an excellent time to gather ideas. Visit garden centers and snap photos of plants you like, or do a garden tour of homes and take notes for inspiration. 

There are still a few reasons not to undertake a big landscaping redo in the middle of summer. 

  • Temperatures peak and plants can wilt.

  • Traveling during the summer can leave new plantings left to shrivel up, so you’ll need to account for the extra care for your new landscaping.

Fall

In addition to garden prep for winter, the fall makes an excellent time for a landscaping redo, depending on your USDA plant hardiness zone. The temperatures are lower without danger of overnight frosts, which means new plantings are easier to keep watered. Perennials, shrubs, and trees planted in the fall will establish a root system (without spending energy on leaves and flowers), making them strong when spring rolls around.

Since you’re at the end of the growing season, it’s easy to see what was successful in your garden, where it grew, and what you want to change without having to remember!  If you’re doing any of the landscaping yourself, you’ll find this is the most comfortable time of the year for the labor, and if you’re hiring a crew, they’ll agree!

Winter

Even if you live in a mild climate, redoing your landscaping in the winter is very likely not on your list of winter activities. But while you’re sipping cocoa, you can still do some winter garden planning that will help in the months ahead. Start by ordering seeds for the spring. Start those seeds indoors—this can also save money versus buying annuals and veggie starts in the spring. While your seeds grow, sketch out designs, make notes, or create a Pinterest board of new garden ideas for the winter.

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