Category Home Landscape Design

Plant Palette

After you have determined the plants that are appropriate for your planting site, group the plants into categories, such as groundcovers; annuals and perennials; low, medium, and tall shrubs; accent plants; and specimen and canopy trees. This will be the "plant palette" that you will select from as you lay out your planting plan. It is help­ful to include a photo of each plant and a symbol or note that depicts its light, moisture, and other preferences. After the plants have been divided into groups, you will be able to see what microclimate they prefer. This is a good way to experiment with various combinations of plants and to see how certain textures and flower colors will work with each other.

Plant Uses

Consider the specific purpose you have in mind when choos­ing plants to include ...


Select and place plant symbols on plan

Section One: Selecting plants

Deciding which plants are to be used in your landscape plan may seem overwhelming in the beginning, particularly if you have limited experience with plants. Use your site analysis to help you select plants that fit the conditions of your property. For example, if the front beds are in full sun, choose plants suited to full sun. It is helpful to first make a list of the microclimates found
in your yard, such as sunny and well-drained, shady and moist, etc. Then, research the plants you are interested in and learn about their site requirements.

List each plant under its appro­priate microclimate. Find out the following information about potential plants to figure out whether they can be used in your plan:

• Light requirements

• Soil moisture and pH requirement...


List the family’s wants and needs

Assessing your family’s needs

With a complete base plan and a thorough understanding of the site, you are now ready to list your proposed use areas. Each family’s needs vary with their outdoor activities. These are the types of areas you may consider when developing your landscape plan:

• Pet areas, such as open lawn and pens

• Cooking areas

• Sun bathing, lounging, or reading areas

• Entertaining areas

• Recreation areas

• Outdoor storage for equipment, firewood, vehicles, or boats

• Gardens, water features, pathways

• Attractions for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife

As you consider the areas you will include, be realistic.

How much time are you willing to spend maintaining gardens and use areas? Be sure to budget how much you are willing to spend for various impro...


Conduct a site analysis


Analyzing the site’s environmental conditions and taking inventory of other conditions of the site, including soil, is an important step. Accurate analysis of the site will help you understand existing conditions. You can then modify areas that need improvements and make the most of natural areas. Note wind, sun, and shade patterns, as well as water move­ment and terrain levels that impact where you locate play, cooking, garden, entertaining, pool, and other activity areas of the landscape.

Observing Over Time

For the most accurate site analysis, record observations of the site for a year before you start to change any of it...


Measuring Curved Areas

You may have a curved bed, driveway, or other area. To measure the curve, you need a straight line from which to measure. If the area does not have a wall or fence backing it, create a line with string and stakes, a hose, or another measur­ing tape. Start at one end of the curved area. Lay out the tape
from the beginning point of the line to the outside edge of the curve to measure the distance. Repeat this process every 3 feet until you have measured the entire area. This will result in a series of dots on your base map that reflects the curving edge of the area. Connect the dots to determine the general shape of the area. See Figure 9.

<—————— Street ———————— >

Measuring Angled Features

Be careful with angled surfaces that are created by bay win­dows, decks, patios, and other irregularly...


Steps in Developing a Landscape Plan

All good ideas begin with a plan. Homeowners who begin installation without a developed plan may end up unhappy with the results. An unplanned home landscape built in sepa­rate steps sometimes does not coordinate well together when completed. Form a detailed overall plan before beginning installation. A good landscape design can provide a plan for phased installation, allowing a large or expensive landscape to be completed in stages as resources become available. A plan is a logical series of decisions that becomes the best overall idea.

There are seven basic steps to creating a landscape plan:

1. Develop a base plan

2. Conduct a site analysis

3. Assess family needs and desires

4. Locate use areas

5. Design outdoor use areas

6. Select and place plant symbols on plan



Value of Landscaping

An ideal home landscape design should have value in four ways: aesthetically, economically, functionally, and environ­mentally.


Aesthetic value can be achieved in many ways: by enhanc­ing beautiful areas, creating new ones, or screening unattrac­tive parts of the property. Using features in a landscape that impact all five senses can add to your pleasure and enjoyment of the landscape.


A well-designed landscape can increase the value of your home and property by as much as 15 percent. Landscaping can also reduce energy costs by buffering seasonal tempera­tures. Research indicates that heating or cooling bills could be reduced by as much as 30 percent by the proper placement of plants around the home...


Professional Help

The idea of designing a home landscape can intimidate even serious gardeners. Wise people know their limitations. Consulting a professional when necessary can prevent costly mistakes. For this reason, don’t let the cost of a designer keep you from asking one for help at any time during the design process.

Keep in mind that you can hire a professional to help you during a particular step without hiring one to do the entire design. For example, you might need help developing your base plan and site analysis, or you might ask for a consulta­tion when you have the first draft of your landscape design to get a professional’s opinion and input. Safety is always a con­sideration for constructed items, such as retaining walls, arbors, and steps...


Home Landscape Design


home landscape can add to

your family’s joy and

increase the value of your property.

Modern landscapes are meant to be

beautiful and useful. A well­, ji j j Figure 1. Front landscape. Drawing by Richard Martin III

planned landscape provides your

image3family with recreation, privacy, and pleasure. Conscientious homeowners know that the landscape should also have a positive environmental impact. Figures 1 and 2 depict the front and back yards of a Southern home. Throughout this publica­tion, each step of landscape design is illustrated using this sample landscape. If you want to jump ahead, the completed landscape plan is Figure 33.

This publication is designed for avid gardeners and gives simple, basic approaches to creating a visu­ally appealing, practical home landscape...