The Landscape Design Process

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As a designer I get a lot of inquiries about what landscape design is all about and how the process works. Landscape design involves communication between client and designer and always involves the improvement of an outdoor space; whether it be for functionality or simple aesthetics, or of course a combination of both. My goal as a designer is to create a space that is not only aesthetically pleasing in all seasons but which also achieves a specific function in mind. When I meet with a client I always want to know what they are looking for in their space and what they would like to accomplish. After much discussion with the homeowner I get a sense for their taste in garden style and better understanding of their preferences for plant and hardscape materials.

Landscape Design: The process of landscape design involves planning both the hardscape and softscape features of an area in order to make the optimum use of the space.  When planning be sure to consider such factors as entertainment space, privacy, maintenance, drainage, cost and of course aesthetics and functionality.  The designer has the ability to take what may seem to be an overwhelming project and organize it into one that you can implement all at once or over a period of time.  The purpose of the design is to show you the “big picture” of how your property will develop over time taking out any of the guesswork or added expense of having to do things over.

The Design Process:

Site Analysis: Site Analysis involves walking the property and taking note of existing features such as hardscape, existing plantings, sunlight, elevation, drainage and location of utilities such as cesspools, drywells, cable or gas.  A survey of the property will help to facilitate this procedure.

Conceptual Plan:  The conceptual plan is an overview or the initial layout showing the location of hardscape and softscape.  Hardscape is defined as anything permanent and static such as pools, water features, patios, walkways, driveways or retaining walls.  Softscape involves anything that is dynamic or changing such as the plantings and whether the look is to be formal, informal, cottage style or traditional. During the design process I will go over the layout of hardscape and planting areas and often mark them out for the client so they can “test drive” the planned driveway, etc.  At this time each aspect of the design can be discussed and be altered as needed and the designer’s job is to make sure that all the elements work together to make the design functional.

Master Plan:  Upon approval of the conceptual plan the designer will then draft a scaled to size master plan (or blueprint) that will show the layout of hardscape and softscape.  Detailed listings of  hardscape and plant material, sizes, quantities and specifications will also be included in the design.  Computer rendered imaging of your design can also be included to show a visual of how the completed design will look.

Implementation:  Implementation of your landscape design can happen over days, months or even years and can be installed on your own or by a professional.  The landscape design will provide you with the “recipe” for the best use of your space and make your project a much more enjoyable experience!

Landscape Design Plan

 2015 Lee@ A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance.

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4 thoughts on “The Landscape Design Process

  1. Nice explanation, Lee. As an architect, our design process is a bit more involved as are the drawings and specifications because they are actually a legal document – a contract. Most of my jobs are all CAD drawn now, but 20 years ago, they were all done by hand.

    • Thank you Donna. I dabbled with going the CAD route but am still old school, scaling and hand drawing everything. It takes much longer but I enjoy the art of it all and found the CAD to be a bit tedious. I draft very detailed plans with hardscape and softscape specifications, mostly for residential areas, but not to the extent of an architect.

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