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How to design your landscape

26 April 2020

Are you a DIYer? Yea, okay, not a word... moving on. Or are you looking to have ideas to bring to your landscaper? Either way, you'll want to be aware of the design process before you start to help you make the right choices. No matter what step you are in with your design process, you'll find this checklist a helpful step in making your landscaping project a dream.

landscape design gold coast

There are many benefits of starting with a landscape plan, it can help bring your ideas together to see what will work, it can narrow down concepts and can give you idea of what materials to use. Having your ideas planted on paper will help provide cost estimates and could save you money.

Now, don't let the process scare you! You do not have to be some kind of artist to design a landscape. All you need is the right wisdom, a pen and paper, tools for measuring and the ideas! Don't be embarrassed to take this to a landscaper either... trust me we have seen plans in all shapes and sizes and we can work with them as long as they have the basics!

Speaking of which, what are the basics?

Labels: A landscape plan needs to have labels identifying what it is you're drawing. While a rectangle works as well as an elaborate deck drawing, a label will provide helpful direction to ensure your rectangle isn't mistaken as a pool! Could be a difference of $50,000 there! Labels can be letters, patterns or colour coded, whatever your heart desires as long as it is supported by a legend.

Measurements: If you're working on your design off a house plan, stick with the scale of the plan to avoid any confusion. 1 to 1 scales are the easiest to work with and will save you messy confusion later. If you aren't working from an exact plan, just draw out your representations with labels as well as you can and add measurements to the spaces.

Start with your Outline: Draw the outline of the space you'll be working with, whether it's your side way, front or backyard. If you are working with multiple areas, draw your house on your block as an indicator. Don't forget to add existing elements that will be staying behind or need to be removed. If you have your house plan, it could be more helpful to work off this.

Refine Ideas as you go: Play with your design first, just scribbles and sketches of what you might or might not add. See how different elements look, feel and come together. Then research, research, research. Use the following information to refine your ideas and then turn your sketches into a workable plan. A landscaper can also help you with this part.

Prepared with that information, how do I design my landscape?

1) Understand your needs

What exactly do you want to achieve from your landscaping? Is your lifestyle one of entertaining, relaxing or tending to your garden? Do you have children or pets to consider? Are you trying to reduce maintenance? Maybe composite decking over timber might be the way to go. Do you want to create a more usable space? Sloped properties can benefit from tiered designs to create more usable spaces. Do you have problems with weeds? More time will be needed for excavation and preparation of the area. Find landscaping solutions to common problems here.

2) Location, location, location

Not just for buying a property! Think about where you are locating your landscaping and how wind, rain and the sun interact with your space. Is your raised garden going to have plants that need direct sunlight or shade? Does your new outdoor space receive all the sun during your prime relaxing time? Is the pergola in the right place to block the sun in summer? Is your fire pit situated away from your home or overhanging plants and vegetation? Whatever your landscaping, just form an understanding of your needs and spend time watching the space to see how outside factors are going to impact it.

3) Know your budget

Often a big mistake in planning your landscaping is not considering your budget. Grand ideas often accompany a grand budget that you might not be prepared for. Do some research into the landscaping services you are interested in to work out a rough idea of costs. We offer free non-contact estimates to work through budget considerations. If you are a DIYer, research where you can get the best landscape supplies at the best prices. If you're contracting a landscaper in, choose a trusted landscaper (see how to do that here) and share your budget so they can work through a plan that meets your margin. 

4) Find your "wow"

What's the focal point of your landscaping going to be? Pick your focal point and move away from it as your plan your landscaping. Work with the lines and proportions you have to play with whether it is a striking tree, water feature or your home. You can even have a few focal points if you have the space for it. Just don't jam pack your space! This can become overwhelming to the eye.

5) Don't forget the little details

A freshly laid lawn is a must have in landscaping but it's the little details like lawn edging that make your grass pop and give it a modern, clean look. Think about shapes, colours, contrast and textures! Curve your decking, or work with angles, these little details will make your landscaping pop.

6) Think about the now and the later

A beautiful flowered garden or stunning tree may make a beautiful statement when first completed but what seasons do your flowers bloom? How much pruning and upkeep is needed? How tall will your tree grow? Will it cross your neighbours boundary? Landscaping is also an investment that can earn you the big bucks upon selling. Even though you might not be thinking about that now, you want to have options later. Consider what adds value to your yard such as outdoor spaces, decking and curb appeal. Read more about what landscaping choices can earn you money here.

Okay, next!

If you're a DIYer:

i) Start Small: Don't try to tackle the whole project in one go. You'll have a big mess that may takes you months to complete. Landscaping is no small job, give yourself the time to enjoy your renovations.

ii) Do your Research: Have a complete picture of the landscaping you want including landscape supplies and costs. Be confident you can complete the job safely.

If you're hiring a landscaper:

i) Discuss your plans: Send through your jottings, pictures, budget and plans and have a chat about your options. Be open to change your ideas and use their expertise to get the landscape design you want.

ii) Pick the Right Landscaper for you: Consider what you want to get from your relationship and if they are a right fit for you. Find out more about picking the right landscaper for you here.

Most importantly! Have fun with your landscape design! Whether you are doing it yourself or contracting a landscaper in, enjoy the process as well as the stunning end result! What did you achieve during your landscaping experience?