The development of a residential landscape plan merges the arrange­ment of plants and other materials with the graphic skills necessary to symbolize them. It requires that the principles of design be applied to

an entire property, not just sections, and that the final design possess a

unity that integrates all use areas into a total plan (Figure 9-37).

The development is best approached logically and in a sequential,

orderly manner.

Step 1: Analyze the characteristics of the site.

Step 2: Determine the needs of the clients.

Step 3: Match client needs and site capabilities as closely as possible, allowing new needs to be suggested by the site’s potential for development.

Step 4: Select a scale that allows the site to be reproduced on paper, including lot, buildings, and existing features.

Step 5: Assign use areas to appropriate regions of the property. Lay out the areas with wide angles to avoid the creation of narrow, tight, and impractically shaped spaces.

Step 6: Select focal points and locate them within the use areas.

Step 7: Shape each use area in a way that directs attention to the focal point and relates it to adjoining use areas. You may have to try numerous possibilities before you are satisfied.

Step 8: Retaining the shapes from the step above, convert the lines to planting beds and other outdoor wall elements. It is important


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to determine the location of the walls before considering specific plants or other materials.

Step 9: Define the function to be served by each plant in the design.

The function directs and restricts the choice of species.

Step 10: Select plant species that will fill the roles defined for them, and symbolize them with their mature size and plant type.

Step 11: Select enclosure, surfacing, and enrichment items that complement the total design.

Step 12: Label all elements of the plan. Keep the labels on or near the symbols.

Step 13: Compile a list of all plant species used and the total number needed of each.


The making of landscape gardens dates back to the ancient Egyptians and perhaps before. These early gardens were as much an expression of status, power, and dominance as they were places for recreation and personal enrichment. Modern landscape designers attempt to arrange outdoor space in a way that serves the needs and desires of the people who use it without damage to natural ecological relationships.

In developing a landscape, a designer must first inventory the char­acteristics of both the clients and the site. Client interviews and site analysis, with possible subcontracting of services from other profes­sionals, are means of acquiring the necessary data.

Recognizing that people use various areas of the landscape for dif­ferent purposes, designers plan distinct regions (use areas) into each site. As many as four different use areas may be found in a residential landscape: public area, private living area, general living area, and ser­vice area. Each of these areas is then developed as an outdoor room with wall, ceiling, and floor elements selected from the rich and varied array of natural and man-made materials available.

In creating usable and attractive outdoor living spaces, landscape designers apply the six basic principles of design that guide all creative effort: simplicity, balance, focalization of interest, proportion, rhythm and line, and unity. Judging how effectively these principles are applied aids the objective evaluation of a landscape.

It is equally important that the selection of plants for the landscape be objective. Personal preference must be put aside in favor of choices that contribute needed architectural, engineering, or aesthetic qualities. The qualities of plants can only be judged superior or inferior within the role requirements established for a property by the landscape designer.

Enrichment items also may be selected to fill a need. Their contri­butions supplement the wall, ceiling, and floor elements in the outdoor room and make the landscape more usable and personal. The land­scaper’s enclosure and surfacing materials are also selected by match­ing their characteristics with the role they must fill in the landscape design.

The landscape designer communicates through the language of graphics. The graphic art techniques used by designers are directed toward helping the designers, their clients, and their contractors under-

stand how the design will appear when it is installed and mature. Actual drawing may be accomplished using traditional hand instruments or the newer technology of computer aided design software. Illustration forms include plan views, elevations, and perspectives.

This chapter also included instructions for the creation of corner plantings, line plantings, and a total residential design.



Answer each of the following questions as briefly as possible.

1. Based on the characteristics of gardens, in the left column, indicate their style, from the right column.

a. designed from a romanticized concept of how nature should appear

b. represents the natural world in miniature

c. symmetrical layouts

d. designed to display dominance over nature

e. influenced the American park movement

f. spiritual appreciation of the garden may be lacking in American and European observers

2. Define the objective of contemporary landscape design.

3. Indicate if the following information, needed to develop a landscape, would be obtained from the client (A), the site analysis (B), or both (C).

a. off-site views

b. attitudes toward outdoor living

c. preferences for certain plants

d. problem areas such as wet spots

e. direction of prevailing winds

f. needs of the handicapped

g. existing vegetation

h. topography

i. budget

j. hydrography

4. List and describe the four major use areas in a residential landscape.

5. Indicate if the functions listed below are performed by outdoor walls (A), outdoor floors (B), or outdoor ceilings (C).

a. define the base plane of the outdoor room

b. define the shape of the outdoor room

c. provide privacy from overhead viewers

d. absorb the impact of user traffic

e. direct the traffic through the landscape.

6. Which principle of design is being applied in each of the following situations?

a. One side of the landscape has the same visual weight as the side opposite.

b. Attention is directed to the house entrance.

c. Trees are selected that will not dwarf the nearby house.

d. Bedlines are designed to be gently curving, not fussy and intricate.

e. Rectangular lines in the house and in the public area are repeated in the general living area.

7. Indicate if the following functions of plants are architectural (A), engineering (B), or aesthetic (C).

a. contribute fragrance to a private living area

b. cast needed shade across a concrete patio

c. block pedestrian traffic

d. absorb nearby highway noise

e. attract attention to the incurve with their colorful flowers

f. trace a pattern of green against a long, unbroken concrete wall

g. reduce the velocity of wind blowing across a patio

h. establish a windbreak for a farm in Kansas

8. Classify the following examples of

enrichment items as natural (N) or man­made (M), and tangible (T) or intangible (I).

a. outdoor furniture

b. birds

c. the sound of birds

d. the fragrance of flowers


From the choices given, select the best answers to each of the following questions.

1. Which fencing style would not provide privacy for a patio area?

a. basketweave c. horizontally


b. grapestake d. chainlink

2. Which enclosure would not deflect the wind?

a. 6-foot brick wall c. picket fence

b. 6-foot concrete d. 6-foot solid

wall wall

3. Which enclosure material would be most suitable for a children’s play area where security and visibility into the area were desired?

a. chainlink fencing c. stockade fencing

b. brick wall d. railroad ties

4. Which fencing style would require the greatest maintenance?

a. chainlink c. solid board

b. picket d. split rail

5. Which surfacing material would not be suitable for parking cars?

a. asphalt c. slate

b. brick d. concrete

6. Which surfacing would not be suitable for paving the patio of a senior citizens’ center?

a. brick c. indoor-outdoor

b. concrete carpeting

d. marble

7. Which soft paving is most likely to deteriorate due to microbial activity?

a. brick chips c. crushed stone

b. wood chips d. stone dust


Select a property whose residents are agreeable to serving as clients, and follow the steps out­lined in this chapter to create a total landscape design. For this initial effort, the following sug­gestions are offered:

1. Select a site in which the dimensions and house location are either easily measured or can be taken from an existing property map.

2. Consult with the clients several times during the development of the design to ensure that their wants and needs are being satisfied.

3. Work out the first draft on drawing paper and trace the final form onto heavy vellum using your best drafting skills.

4. Have a professional landscape designer evaluate your work and offer a critique.


Upon completion of this chapter, you should be able to

• identify the tools used in the installation of landscape plants.

• condition soil used in the installation of landscape plants.

• describe the advantages and disadvantages of bare-rooted, balled-and-burlapped, and containerized plant material.

• select the best season for transplanting.

• outline procedures for the installation of trees, shrubs, groundcovers, bedding plants, and bulbs.

• describe the advantages and disadvantages of organic and inorganic mulches.

• explain the benefits of antitranspirants.

• describe installation methods unique to the American Southwest and Southeast.


bare root glazing adobe

balled-and-burlapped mulch caliche

containerized antitranspirants sun scald


High-quality landscapes begin with top-quality plant materials. Both depend on careful installation techniques to ensure the survival and growth of the transplanted stock. Landscape contractors joke about $25 dollar plants set into $75 dollar holes. In fact, a great deal of labor and materials are often needed to prepare a hostile planting site for a new plant. Few sites offer a perfect combination of proper soil texture, fertility, and pH with correct drainage, optimum water, and humidity throughout the post-transplant period. All are necessary for successful transplanting.

Updated: October 1, 2015 — 12:11 pm