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Landscape Planning: A How To Guide: Part 2

Posted by: Samuel Hirshfield on August 28, 2015

landscape measure-resized-600.jpg

One often-overlooked key to a polished landscape is having an overall plan for your yard. Landscape planning is an easy way to ensure that your yard has a finished, thought-out look.

Join us for this three part series on transferring your vision to reality – Tips for Planning your Landscape, Tricks for Drawing your Landscape Plan and Steps for Putting your Landscape Plan to Action.

Drawing Your Landscape Plan – Tips & Tricks

Once you’ve established a rough sketch of where your yard is currently and generated some ideas for where you’d like it to be, it’s time to finalize your landscape plan. 

  • Accurately measure the dimensions of your yard and any permanent structures. It may be helpful to use string and stakes to get proper measurements.
  • Dial 811. Be sure to check with this service to ensure your safety – and prevent any run-ins with utility lines or cables buried in your yard.
  • Transfer these measurements to graph paper. Use a system to represent size, depending on the size of your yard. For example, 1 square can represent 1 foot or 1 inch could represent 20 feet.
  • Use consistent shapes and colors to represent bushes, pathways, etc.
  • Use tracing paper to make as many overlays as you find helpful. These could include shade and sun patterns, gardens, traffic patterns, etc.
  • Make copies of your final drawing so that you can experiment with different ideas, such as patios or gardens in various locations, and different layouts, with more linear or more curving patterns.

Be sure to consider a few general landscaping tips and best practices when drawing out your space.

  • No area should be less than 4 feet in diameter. You want beds and mulched areas to feel substantial and planned out.
  • Create pathways at least 3 feet wide, if your yard is large enough to allow it.
  • Don’t keep your design too linear… Or too curvy. Curves, edges and free flowing beds all add interested and can draw attention to special places or plantings in the yard, but be wary of creating a landscape that feels too shapeless.
  • Find a focal point. Whether it’s a sculpture or a series of bushes, a focal point can give beginners an easy element to design around.

Many professionals also encourage homeowners to plan for equipment when making their final design. Whether that equipment will be needed immediately for implementing your landscape plan – or down the road for repairs or future projects, it’s best to leave some accessible space in your yard.  

Now that your space is designed and planned out, it’s time to get to work! Choosing specific plants, working in your color scheme and best practices for planting are up next – Steps for Putting Your Landscape Plan into Action.

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