Design Tips: How to Begin a Great Landscape Design
A lot of people get frustrated when they bring plants home that were beautiful at the garden center and then try to force them into the place they want them within their garden. They get disappointed because it may not be the right spot – either for its growth or for its scale and form and the entire gardening project begins to feel like a wardrobe of clothes where nothing matches.
The big idea behind each of these tips is that it’s important to design your space before you get tempted by individual plants. These are a few of the steps that we usually take during the pre-design phase of a project.
1. Investigate where on your property you most like to spend time.
Often the default location for entertainment or garden areas is right up next to the house, and the rest of a property is not used very actively. Take time to walk through your property and identify which areas feel the best by asking the following types of questions. Are some areas more sunny than others? Do some offer more privacy? Do some spaces offer views you want to feature or screen out? From where do you see the best view of your own house? Where are the highly-used portions of your property and could they be relocated to create a better space?
Moving your main outdoor living spaces away from your house lures you into enjoying your entire property. The image below provides a great example (click here for more views of this garden). Another example can be seen in our earlier post on urban gardens.
2. Consider your views from inside
We spend most of our time indoors, so don’t forget to think about how the views out of your windows can extend your enjoyment of your landscape improvements, even when you’re not physically outside. Look at your property from the nerve centers within your home and consider creating focal points for these views that honor seasonal changes.
The foreground of this bedroom view is a layer of bright purple alium that transitions into Russian Sage later in the year. In winter, the stone wall provides structure and visual interest.
3. Determine the activities that will happen in your space
Do you want areas for children to play? somewhere to entertain? A quiet nook for reading? A pleasant daily walk to the garage? These don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but getting everyone’s input on what they would like and prioritizing needs will make it much simpler to organize your space.
Initially, these homeowners decided on dedicating their entire side yard to play space for their children until they discovered that they could also incorporate an entertainment area. See additional views of this garden here.
The more time you put into these questions, the more distinctive and satisfying your space will be.