Building a successful landscape design


The best way to build any landscape is to design out with a plan.Whether you do it yourself on paper or computer, get a professional to help, or have a designer do the plan for you, always start with a design on paper. No matter how much you spend on your plan, if it is done right it will save you a lot more money in the long run. A good, basic plan should give you pretty good idea of any special work that may need to be done like grading or drainage. Don't skip these rather unexciting parts. They are the foundation on which the safety and beauty of your property are built. Follow the layout of your plan by marking out all the essential areas and utilities.

First build in the permanent structures in your garden; the patios, concrete pads, walls, stairs, pools, walkways, etc. These are considered the hardscape of your landscape. Make sure lines for utilities are stubbed in, and sleeves for irrigation are run under poured concrete. Again, don't skimp here. Poorly built structures, badly poured concrete, misplaced design will all cost more to take out and replace than to do correctly in the first place. Allow plenty of access for electrical, gas and water.It's better to have capped lines in case you want to use them in the future than to have to figure out how to run more lines once the hardscape is already installed.

Planting your biggest material is the next step. Trees should be carefully considered before put in place.Invasive roots can become a hazard and even destroy buildings and hardscape if the wrong tree is placed in the wrong site. A tree you like that grows naturally into a form or size that won't fit properly will be a perpetual fight. Yet trees can add beauty, value, privacy and comfort to your garden. Well placed trees can offer shade in hot summer and even reduce the cost of air-conditioning bills. So, make sure you put the right tree in the right location. And when it's time to plant, dig the hole with extra room for roots and incorporate the right amendments for the type of tree you selected. By preparing a planting site well, you trees have a much better of not only surviving, but growing into the lovely specimens you have pictured for the future.

Preparing flower beds and areas for lawns also will decide the degree of success your landscape will have. Too many people have come to me ruing the loss of plant material. Every living thing on this planet has evolved in harmony with its surroundings. When we take a plant from one environment and put it in our garden because we think it looks good, we have to make provisions for the fact this plant may not be able to adapt easily to the new conditions. Just liking how a flower or plant looks will not ensure that it will look good in your garden where you plant it nor will your taste have any effect on how well the plant survives.

Of course, there are other considerations to keep in mind for building a successful landscape. With all the new eco-friendly materials appearing on the market, there are wider selections in permeable and recycled material that may make a major difference in maintenance, expense and appearance. Calculating water use for your garden with lawns, planting material, special focal points and ornamental features like ponds and waterfalls can all be handled in widely divergent ways.

Think through your landscape long before breaking soil so you can deal with all these issues before it gets expensive. Draw it all out. Then prepare your site, your soil and your budget so whatever you spend pays back generously. A little extra work on planning and preparation will make a remarkable difference to the success, longevity, ease of maintenance and ultimate financial cost of your landscape.