Landscape design planning can determine the success or failure of your landscape. When you make the decision to initiate a landscaping project, it can seem a little intimidating…you ask yourself where do I start?
This is easily answered with your first step in landscape design planning – jot down what your vision is and start comparing that to what you have to work with.
If this is a project you’re going to undertake yourself it helps when you take some time to collect ideas. Check out gardening magazines, local landscaping contractor websites or visit your local garden center to determine what plant species are available in your area.
Landscape Design Planning Includes Maintenance
Your landscape design planning should also include what your preference will be for maintaining your new landscape. Will you want to devote the time to gardening and general upkeep…maybe make it a hobby? Or, will you want something that requires a little less maintenance leaving you with more time for other things?
Another thing to consider when planning is your overall budget. The cost of landscaping is generally calculated at 5% to 10% of your home’s value. These next tips will put you in a better position to get started.
Will My Outdoor Space Have a Purpose?
Another thing to consider in your landscape design planning is what you expect the end result to accomplish. What I mean is what will you use the space for? This can be any or all of the following:
- Entertaining – Family gatherings, outdoor parties
- Cooking – BBQ area or island, picnic tables,
- Water – Pond, pool, hot tub
- Play – Kids, swing sets, tree house, pets
- Relaxing – Patio furniture, gazebo, deck
- Gardening – Flowers, herbs, vegetables
- Storage – Lawn mower, gardening supplies, fertilizer, mulch
Who will be using the space?
Landscape design planning includes who and how the space will be used. Are you a childless couple? Do you have young children? Will the space be geared more towards adults including seniors and do you have pets? If you need to add a dog run or a dog house this will certainly affect the type of plant materials, grass or sod you will want in your yard.
Geographically – Where do you live?
Next in your landscape design planning you will want to consider is the location itself in terms of climate and environment. Is your area sunny or is it shady? Do you have trees or open space? Do you have views you won’t want to obstruct? Is wind an issue where you live? All these will factor into your overall landscape design.
Site Drainage and Hydrozones are other considerations
An important aspect of your landscape design is water flow and drainage. You will want make sure that any water drains away from the foundation of your home. Is your yard flat or do you have grades issues. Are you considering any raised planting areas?
When you have an idea of what plants you will be using, start thinking about how water behaves in your yard. If there are certain areas where water collects you’ll want to group plants there that need a lot of water. On the other hand, if there are certain areas where water drains quickly, you’ll want to group plants that that like dry conditions. This process is often referred to as planting according to hydrozones.
Are there any property constraints?
In some areas, depending on where you live, you will need to take into consideration any utility easements. Some local jurisdictions do not permit planting in utility easements.
What type of soil do you have?
Your focus should now be on the type of soil you have. It’s important to make sure your soil has all the right nutrients to support the plant material you select. Your soil, which may be mostly sand, clay, or rock, will dictate which plants you should grow.
Check your Planting Zone!
There’s nothing worse than spending money on a beautiful landscape if your plant selections do fit within the planting zone for your geographical area.
Your planting zone is determined by climate conditions such as temperature and rainfall.
Knowing your planting zone will help you select plants that are appropriate for your location, and thus much more likely to thrive.
Check with a local landscaper or with the National Gardening Association to find your growing zone.
What you may have thought of as your first planning item is actually your last. The final thing to think about is the aesthetic appeal and style or theme of your landscaping. Consider the interior and exterior style of your home and try to create a marriage of themes between these and your landscape.
Your ultimate goal…strive to make your outdoor space one that reflects your personality and makes you feel happy and relaxed.
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Filed under: DESIGN PLANNING