5 Tips For Designing Your Landscape


If you’ve been thinking about re-doing your back yard, front yard or the whole nine yards, now is a good time to begin formulating a plan. So here are 5 tips to consider.  I’ll be along with an additional 5 tips next month

1. Plan What You’re Going To Do

Planning is paramount when you’re designing a garden or landscape. I know how much fun it is to walk around a nursery or garden store and pick out plants, but before you ever set foot in one, you need to have a clear idea of what it is your doing. Here are some things to consider:

  • play areas for your children
  • space for pets
  • seating and/or dining areas
  • water features (pools,fountain, streams)
  • hardscape: walkways, paths, structures, power lines
  • update or expand sprinkler system
  • outdoor lighting
  • equipment storage
  • unsightly air conditioner units and service building
  • the amount of sun or shade your garden experiences

How are you going to handle each one of these?

2. Research

The best way to learn  how to make it happen is to see how others have creatively dealt with similar situations.

  • Get a selection of landscaping, home or gardening magazines and cut out pictures of what you like.
  • Go to the library and look through landscaping design books and photograph the pictures you like (use that camera-phone creatively).
  • Drive through neighborhoods and take photographs of yards you like, or a particular way an area has been designed.
  • Buy gardening books and read the chapters on what concerns you.

3. Continuity Of Design

The landscaping of  your home does not exist in a vacuum, it should be the exterior  extension of your home. The landscaping designs that are most successful are those that effectively blend the materials, styles and colors of your home with the out-of-doors. Therefore a successful design is not just about the selection of plants and their placement and the purchase of patio furniture, it should incorporate paths, driveways, walkways, walls, columns and, of course, the view.

4. Scale

The size of one object in relations to another is what scape is all about. I often see property owners that are afraid of selecting accents like bird baths, sculptures and garden statues that are relative in size to the size of the yard. Typically, most homeowners select a smaller size than what is actually needed. Remember, the scale of an object or objects should be relative in size to the objects around them.

5. Plant Selection

This is the very heart of good landscape design because if the plants you select don’t survive and flourish,  not only have you wasted a great deal of time and effort, you have also wasted a good deal of money. Therefore, before deciding on whether to plant roses or gardenias, you need to be clear about a number of things:

  • how much sun does your property get
  • what kind of tress are on your property
  • what is the PH balance of the soil
  • do you have tillable soil or is there too much clay or sand (see my newsletter, Soil Isn’t Sexy But It Is Essential.

All of these elements need to be evaluated in order to determine the kind of plant material that is appropriate for your environment. Once you have all this information at hand you can begin the process of designing your garden.

Need Help?

Should you want help in this process, in addition to designing landscapes I also consult with those folks to want to do it themselves.  If you’re interested in setting up a consultation, email me or give me a call at 323-788-3831.


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