Landscape Design: Ten Important Things to Consider
When designing a residential landscape, the most important step is to put a plan on paper. Developing a master plan will save you time and money and is more likely to result in a successful design. A master plan is developed through the ‘design process’: a step-by-step method that considers the environmental conditions, your desires, and the elements and principles of design. The goal is to organize the natural and man-made features in your yard into an aesthetic, functional, and environmentally sustainable landscape.
The Design Process
The five steps of the design process include:
1) conducting a site inventory and analysis, 2) determining your needs, 3) creating functional diagrams, 4) developing conceptual design plans, and 5) drawing a final design plan. The first three steps establish the aesthetic, functional, and horticultural requirements for the design. The last two steps then apply those requirements to the creation of the final landscape plan.
The process begins with a site inventory and analysis of soil, drainage, climate conditions, and existing vegetation. This is a critical step for both plant selection and placement and locating family activities and functions. It’s important because the same climate conditions that affect the plants–temperature, humidity, rain, wind, and sunlight–also affect you, the user. The next step is to make a list of your needs and desires–this helps you determine how your yard and landscape will be used. The site and user analyses will also help you establish a theme for the form and style of your design. The functional diagram is then used to locate the activity spaces on the site and from this diagram a conceptual plan is developed. The last step is a final design that includes all the hardscape and planting details that are necessary for installation. Throughout the design process there are ten important things to consider: