Landscaping is an art, and it begins with design. Your initial sketches and maps will help turn your dream into reality. However, there are a few things you should consider as you work, so your dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare once it’s finished.
If your family includes animal members, you should consider their needs as well as your own. Will there be certain areas off limits? Are the plants you intend to grow safe for dogs and cats?
Playing outside helps kids grow strong and burn off sugar rushes. Think about how kids in your home will play in your landscaped space. Playground equipment should be part of your design, and make sure there are no hazards like unfenced water features small children could find.
Do you like to have extended family over, throw dinner parties, or keep an open door for friends? Your landscape design should reflect that. Be sure to consider secondary points of entry. For example, if your neighbors often cut through the yard to join the party, planting a thick hedge between your lawns would be a poor design choice.
4. Entertaining Style
How you entertain is just as important as how often you have guests over. Do you like movable lawn chairs or a permanent outdoor dining feature? Patios, gazebos, and spaces big enough for your favorite party tent deserve high priority in your design.
5. Greenspaces vs. Garden
A crowded cottage garden with little paths between packed beds of flowers, herbs, and vegetables may be charming, but is it what you need? If you have pets, children, or large parties, it’s a good idea to maintain a little lawn. Consider these elements in your design, and play around with the balance.
6. Your Local Zone
Your planting zone matters more than many people realize. Unless you plan on moving a lot of greenery indoors during the autumn and winter, you simply can’t plant hibiscus bushes in a northern state. Your landscape plans will only flower as expected if the climate doesn’t kill the main attractions.
7. Water Access
It’s a good idea to scout the outside of your house and map spigots, cisterns, and any other water source on your landscape sketches. Many gardeners weep over planting the centerpieces of the design far away from an easy water source. This means you or your landscaping crew will be wrestling with long hoses or endless water cans forever.
When designing a landscape, remember that certain features will not remain their original size. Trees can outlast you and your design. While you can add annuals and movable fixtures around small trees, keep in mind the shade will expand and the ground will become bumpy with roots over time.
How does water move over your property? If you’re moving earth as part of your design, remember to channel it away from your home to avoid flooding. If you live in a close neighborhood, you may have to follow strict run-off guidelines, too. Don’t forget to scout the grounds when it rains. See where standing water gathers, and avoid filling those areas with fragile plants.
10. Features You Want to Hide
Do you have a road behind your house? Maybe you can’t stand the old shed where you keep your gardening tools. When you have an ugly feature you’d like to hide, utilize your landscape design. Trees, hedges, mounds, and lattices with growing vines all provide excellent solutions to various eye-sores.
11. Balance of Annuals and Perennials
Change is good, but replanting all of your flowerbeds every spring can be exhausting. The best route is a mix of annual and perennial plans. The perennials provide a mainstay layout, and if you need a change of pace, you can always pick new annuals in the spring.
12. Indoor Shade and Sunlight
When you plant trees or design tall features like a wall or hedge, consider how they will affect indoor light. Will that garden wall block all the afternoon sunlight from the kitchen? When that tree grows, will it block the view from the upstairs bedrooms?
13. Preferred Ground Covers
Grass is no longer the only lawn option. Moss lawns are rising in popularity, and they’re especially good for poor soil grass struggles to grow on, small spaces where lawnmowers don’t fit, and eco-conscious homeowners.
These considerations are all about fit. Advance planning helps ensure the landscape you design matches not only your goals but also your lifestyle. That way you can enjoy your hard work for years to come without regrets.