The Landscape Design Process
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What challenges does your site present?
- What opportunities does your site present?
- How will you be using your outdoor living space?
- Do you have important factors that present safety concerns in your landscape?
- What’s your budget for designing your landscape project?
- What’s your budget for maintaining it?
We can help you work through these questions and create a design that’s tailored to your answers.
Step One: A Complete Walk Through
After some deep thinking and answering all the important questions, the first step in the landscape design services process is a complete walk through of the landscape site. The walk through should not only take an aesthetic perspective it should also be a thorough analysis of your site’s strengths and weaknesses, including soil condition, sun and shade, hills and slopes, The analysis will help your designer create a design plan that complements your home and your personal style. It will also help dictate steps that need to be taken before installation to ensure a healthy, successful landscape. This walk through is also where you’ll talk about budgeting, scope and phases and timelines. You should always have a rough project budget in mind. You never know what a professional can help you accomplish, even with limited resources to spend on it.
Step Two: The Plan
Gather landscaping inspiration from books, magazines or Pinterest and share them with your designer. Every little bit helps and could communicate volumes to your designer. Once you and your designer have talked through your ideas, he or she will return to their office to begin drawing up a preliminary design for your new landscape. Whether your designer presents you with old-fashioned paper drawings or a realistic 3-D modeling program, these should give you a good idea of what your outdoor space will look like when installation is complete.
The Landscape Construction Process
The plants you select to fill out your beds and your containers will be what literally brings your landscape to life. Aesthetics are important, it’s even more important to choose plants that work in your climate. Your home’s location — as well as the degree of sun and shade, and soil moisture and drainage, are all crucial considerations if you want plant life that will thrive long-term. Maintenance is also an important factor to consider when choosing plants. Your landscape designer is a wealth of knowledge and will be able to help you select plants based on their color, growth habit, water and sun needs, and care requirements.
Hardscaping is any design element that isn’t a plant. And unlike plants, as long as you’re willing to maintain them regularly, you’re really not as limited by environmental factors when choosing them. Here are a few hardscaping elements you might consider.
- Patios: Whether you choose a patio with brick pavers, natural stone, this is where you’ll spend much of your time in your landscape. A patio is the common denominator for many homeowners’ outdoor landscape entertainment area.
- Decks: If you have a multi-story house and love the feel of wood under your feet, a deck may be a perfect addition to your outdoor living space. Decks are constructed from treated wood or composite materials or even plastic.
- Paths and walkways: If your landscape has several elements, you may want to consider a walkway to connect them. Paths not only provide a developed way from one area to another; they’re also another opportunity to get creative with hardscape materials, plants and even landscape lighting.
- Walls: Walls made from natural stone, brick, rustic river rock and other materials can create visual separation among different areas of your landscape, as well as offer seating.
- Fireplaces and fire pits: Create a cozy place to relax when the sun goes down, or add warmth to your landscape even after prime outdoor season is over. Whether you install a built-in outdoor fireplace or fire pit, fire features can be a beautiful addition to the landscape.
- Driveways: Don’t forget the front yard! A beautiful driveway or front walkway can exponentially increase your curb appeal and offer a warm welcome to visitors. Driveways are a perfect opportunity to create a cohesive, coordinated look between your landscape and your home’s architecture.
All homeowners hope for enough rainfall to keep their landscapes healthy each season, but no matter how much moisture your area gets, it’s important to ensure proper drainage to divert water to the right places and keep your plants and outdoor living spaces in good condition. If you’ve noticed puddles throughout your property or areas of streaming water during storms, that may be a sign of a drainage problem. But a professional assessment of your drainage is the best way to know for sure. Once you’ve determined where your site’s drainage issues are, there are many ways to address them. Here are a few:
- Grading: On an improperly graded site — a problem that stems from initial construction — water runs every which way (except for the right way). A landscape professional can alter your landscape in a way that encourages water to run in the correct direction.
- Dry creeks: Dry creeks are a lovely addition to many properties with drainage problems. Usually shallow trenches lined with small stones, dry creeks divert water in the right direction while adding a beautiful natural element to the landscape.
- Trench drains and French drains: Both trench and French drains are subtle, structural ways to correct drainage problems. Whether you’re looking to protect a heavily paved area or keep your basement from flooding, there’s a drainage solution available for any property.
What good is a beautiful outdoor living space if you can only see and enjoy it for a few hours out of the day? You can design landscape lighting to highlight areas of visual interest after the sun goes down, but it’s also a great way to keep your home safe from intruders at night. As with many landscaping features, things have really changed and become more beautiful. No longer are homeowners relegated to flood lights that cast a wide glare over the entire backyard! A landscape design professional can help you create a lighting system that transforms your outdoor living space into something truly special once the sun goes down.
- Patio lighting: If you’ve made a big investment in a beautiful patio where you and your family spend a lot of time, it makes sense to illuminate it by night, too! Whether you’re creating a space to dine and enjoy company after sundown, or illuminating landscaping elements with night blooms or glowing, silvery foliage, a lighting professional can help you create a plan that highlights your landscape’s most beautiful elements by night.
- Pool lighting: If you have a backyard swimming pool, you’ll want to be able to enjoy that investment as often as possible. Standard lighting within your pool’s walls is just the beginning!
- Walkway lighting: If you’re creating a series of outdoor “rooms,” you may want to add lighting that connects them for safe passage once it gets dark. Walkway lighting can also create a soft, magical view from your back door of a constellation of landscape elements.
- Security lighting: Whether you live in a city, cluster of suburban homes or the middle of the countryside, keeping your family safe is always a primary concern. Motion-sensor and other security lighting, combined with fencing and other precautions, is a great way to keep intruders at bay. Lighting can even be controlled in a number of ways now, whether you want solar lights, manually operated illumination or a full-featured lighting system operated from a single control panel.