Landscape Planning

How to plan a landscape that fits your style and budget.
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Neat Structure Yields Cool Results

Neat Structure Yields Cool Results

Photo by: DK - Design Your Garden © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Design Your Garden , 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Landscape planning may seem like a daunting task, but with a few tools, homeowners can make empowered decisions about how to design their landscapes, whom to hire for the job and how much it will cost. 

First, draw a landscape plan. This can be done as a casual sketch (hey, I draw stick figures, too) by anyone who owns a pencil and a ruler – or can be handled by a professional landscape designer.

Landscape planning is done in zones, which are considered separate and distinct from each other and differentiated by their design requirements and maintenance needs. For example, one zone could be your lawn, another zone a flower bed, another zone might encompass a large tree or a row of hedges. Will you have a water feature or another element such as an in-ground swimming pool that requires plumbing and additional construction? Have you thought about how your landscape plan will affect, improve or enhance your home’s curb appeal – especially with regard to existing permanent structure such as your driveway and house.

Get recommendations from your local garden center about popular and trustworthy landscape designers. Set an appointment and order a drawing. A professional landscape design plan will include topography, structures, water flow, and suggested zones and plantings. This type of professional plan will require a bit of upfront costs, but the drawings can be valuable reference resources for you during your tenure at the property. You can also use online landscape design templates and tools to aid you in drawing your landscape plan and figuring out what you’d like to plant in each zone. 

One of the most important things to consider in landscape planning is how much maintenance your landscape design will require. An intricate array of flowers, shrubs across multiple zones might look beautiful on paper but could be a nightmare to maintain without a professional service to provide mowing, trimming, edging, blowing, pest control, fertilizing, seeding, watering and planting.

Of course, budget trumps everything else when planning your landscape. If you can’t afford to build and maintain it, then it’s a dream, not a reality. It doesn’t require a huge budget to create classy, low maintenance landscape design plans that are affordable and attractive.

Think about any necessary fixes on your property – such as the need to install drain pipes, retaining walls or other items in order to prevent flooding, landslides, etc or to make the property safer and more user-friendly. These costs can be considered first, then plant life can be chosen accordingly.

Once you have a plan, a budget and a timeline for your project, you can move from the landscape planning phase into the construction and planting phase – that’s when you’ll see your landscape planning ideas come to life.

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