Whether you are starting from scratch or are reimagining the outdoor space of somewhere you’ve lived for years, getting started on a landscape redesign can feel like a daunting task. The prep work that you do upfront — maybe even before you start contacting professionals — can streamline conversations and save time down the line.
Nailing down your budget, how you’d like to use the space and what landscape styles appeal to you most can help keep a project on track and ensure that you’re happy with the end result. As a first step, read this guide and take a critical look around your yard.
Assess Your Existing Landscape
What problem areas exist? If lack of privacy from neighbors is an issue, factoring in a combination of fencing and plants for screening may be one of your backyard priorities. Are there any site-specific challenges, such as an underutilized slope or a poorly draining corner? A professional will be able to tackle these situations and help set your budget accordingly.
Establish a Garden Wish List
Once you’ve written everything down on your wish list, review it and identify which elements are top priorities, which ones are less important and any that aren’t possible this time around. You can circle back to this list at any point in the project as you evaluate where to save and where it might be worth it to splurge.
Consider How You’d Like to Use Your Outdoor Space
Identifying your outdoor-use priorities and the number of people you’d like to accommodate can help determine the size of a future deck or patio, for example. It also will help the designer better understand what to place where in the landscape.
Go a step further and think about when you’d use each area of the yard. If you’re hoping to use a lounge during the evening, for example, you may want to plan for sources of light and heat.
Set a Budget and Consider Phased Construction
Tip: If you do decide to phase the construction, it’s best to first work with a professional on a complete master plan. He or she will be able to tell you what makes the most sense in terms of installation order and which projects can be bundled together.
Refine Your Landscape Design Style
Cast a wide net during your initial inspiration-gathering phase, but then edit your images to feature one or two defining styles. Aim for styles that fit with your climate and site and your home’s architecture. This will help set your project off on a clearer direction and result in a more cohesive landscape.
Your landscape designer also can help guide you through this process by explaining how a certain style can be achieved with plants that grow well in your area or by working within your proposed budget.
Get an Existing Site Plan
If the site plan is up to date, your landscape architect or designer will be able to use it as the foundation for your new landscape plan. If your plan is not up to date, you will need to carefully remeasure your property or hire a property surveyor to do so. Site measurement also can be handled by a contractor, landscape designer or landscape architect and can be bundled in the cost of your landscape redesign.
Make multiple copies of a current site plan once you have one. You’ll need them down the line to draw up designs and hand over to landscape professionals.
Tell us: Are you planning a landscape redesign? What helped you get started on your project? Share your thoughts in the Comments.