The deep freeze has been holding off so far, so you’re spending more time outside. All that extra fresh air has you thinking about spring, and how amazing your backyard would look if it had a makeover. The solution? Create a landscape design plan now so that you can spring (pun intended) into action when the snow is gone for good.
At Green Collar Landscaping, our landscape construction specialists follow a winning strategy for making your backyard the envy of your block. In this blog, we outline 8 steps for creating a landscape design plan that puts a staycation on the agenda this summer.
Step 1: Get to Know Your Yard
You already know the dimensions of your yard and which section gets the best afternoon sun exposure, but to put together a landscape plan, you’ve got to dig deeper. This means getting into particulars like soil type, drainage, topography, and existing plants and shrubs.
- The length and amount of sun and shade exposure in your yard will create a microclimate that determines what plants are most appropriate.
- The yard’s topography will dictate how water drains. Your landscape design should promote water movement away from your home.
Your base plan should accurately reflect the yard’s dimensions and features, including the house, property lines, utility lines, and any existing hardscape or softscape features (ones you want to keep, anyway)..
Step 2: Know What You Want to Achieve
Envision your perfect yard. What’s the purpose? Are you looking for a specific landscaping style or are you more interested in privacy or accommodating outdoor activities? The answer will determine whether you opt for hardscaping, more shrubbery, pool installation, or even an outdoor kitchen.
Step 3: Think About Who’s Going to be Using Your Yard
Think about who will be using your yard and how they will use it. Do you have children who would benefit from safer hardscaping options and some play features? Do you have pets? Are you planning to entertain outdoors in your yard?
This doesn’t mean you need to cater to a single audience. With strategic plantings and hardscapes, you can create different spaces for different uses and set up walkways to help people move from one area to another. Just as a home can have well-defined and carefully planned rooms, a landscape can have different sections that transition smoothly from one to the other. Examples include seating areas, play areas, and dedicated garden spaces.
Step 4: Develop a Landscape Design Plan Concept
Once you know what you want to get out of your backyard makeover, develop a concept that addresses the site’s characteristics, goals, and needs. Depending on your goals, this may include use of:
- Softscape features, such as plants, trees, and shrubs
- Hardscaping elements like pathways, retaining walls, rock gardens, and outdoor fire pits
Many landscape design plans use themes to help guide plant and material selections. Themes can be as basic as using consistent colors and shapes throughout the yard or as complex as creating a natural outdoor spa, with saunas and pool chairs.
Here are some tips for choosing themes:
- Think about complimenting your home’s architecture- after all, your backyard is an extension of your home.
- Consider your own preferences. Are you a fan of geometric shapes and structures? Or do you prefer a more natural feel with softer lines? Would you like your landscape to include only certain colours? The answers to these questions will help you decide on a unified theme.
Step 5: Give Your Plants a Job!
You can use plants to define areas within your landscape as well as identify where it ends. If a goal of your landscape design plan is to limit access, taller plants and shrubs can act as physical barriers. If you have concerns about blocking the view, low-growing plants can create implied barriers that work just as well.
It’s important to note that greenery placement can alter site conditions on your landscape. Plant and tree location can impact things like:
Step 6: Think About Sustainability
When planning the changes to your landscape, consider their overall sustainability. You could install a rainwater catchment system to serve as a natural source of irrigation water or plan for hardscapes with environmentally friendly preservatives, stains, paints, and cleaners. If you are planning to renovate an existing landscape instead of starting from scratch, consider repurposing and reusing construction materials before demolition begins.
Step 7: Remember That Detail Matters!
Every plant, hardscape, and garden element has its own visual details, from shapes to colours to textures. When you use these details to complement as well as contrast each other, you can create an appealing and cohesive landscape.
It is not just about visuals either- incorporating the scents of the plants that you choose for your landscape can enhance the experience for those who visit. If you want to create a harmonious landscape, consider when flowers will be in bloom and fragrant, as well as what scents will complement one another.
Step 8: Keep the Future in Mind
When choosing plants, think about their growth rate, maintenance needs, and how large they can eventually become. You don’t want to put a taller piece of greenery in a more confined space or buy plants with demanding needs that you might not have the time to accommodate.
Ready to Make Your Landscape Design Plan a Reality?
Whether you want to completely design your backyard or simply make a few strategic changes, a landscape design plan can be the blueprint you need to exceed your expectations. Once you’ve created your vision, it’s time to make it a reality with help from a top-rated landscaping company.
At Green Collar Landscaping, we can work with you to create a landscape design plan that is unique, inviting, and environmentally sustainable. For years, we have been helping homeowners throughout Southwestern Ontario design plans that make the most of their backyards, and look forward to making your dream yard a reality. To learn more about our landscape design plan services, call 289.204.7621.