Whether you are interested in completely redesigning a landscape or simply making a few changes to it there are some important factors to consider before you start planning.
Who will be using your yard? Are you going to host guests regularly? Do you have children who will play in it? Will there be dogs running around who need grass to do their duties?
Usage of the outdoor space is probably the most important thing that needs to be considered when planning a landscape.
Plan for traffic patterns and connect different spaces
Consider the areas where people will be walking and determine where natural traffic patterns will be. Obviously those will be the areas where features such as walkways should be constructed.
Remember that different spaces can be separated using strategic plantings and hardscapes but still consider how they can be connected. For example, if you plan on hosting regular outdoor barbecues but also have dogs who need space to run around, you can use a garden or sitting wall feature to separate your patio area from the grass area used by the dogs. However you can still have them connected via a step or small walkway from the patio out towards the grass area.
Creating openings to encourage exploration in your yard and keep people moving throughout the landscape is always an effective design method.
Consider what your maintenance style and/or budget are.
Are you going to maintaining your landscape or will you be paying someone to maintain it? How much time will you have to put into maintaining your landscape? If you won’t have the time will you have the money to pay someone else to put in the time? How much money do you have to invest in your landscape?
Determining the answer to these questions will help to ensure the best quality of your landscape is maintained properly for years to come.
Choose an appropriate sized patio
Most of us have been to a backyard barbecue where there is not enough room for everyone to gather on the deck or patio. Half of the party is forced to migrate onto the grass and ends up eating their meal while sitting on foldable chairs with their plates awkwardly on their lap as the dogs sit in front of them waiting for scraps to fall.
This is why it is so important to choose an appropriate sized patio as you plan the design of your landscape. Consider things like the area you will need for desired outdoor patio furniture, the area you would need if you plan to host people and even consider your desired patio to grass/garden ratio. You do not want to regret having a patio that is too small but still ensure that you have enough garden space.
Choose appropriate plants and put them in the right spot with appropriate spacing
When planting you should make sure the types of plants and trees suit your property and are appropriate for the climate region the property is located in. You can also use your plants to emphasize any aspects of your landscape that you’re trying to highlight such as a water feature, art piece, walkway or other additional features.
Be sure not to plant trees and plants too close together because it could make people feel trapped. Most importantly you should ensure that you account for plant growth and understand their maintenance needs and the eventual mature size.
Tree planting could also hinder the movement of daylight on your property which is yet another thing to keep in mind.
Understand your yard
Understand things like your regional climate, the topography of the site and soil types encountered when planning your landscape.
Keep in mind that every landscape is different and specific conditions are likely to create a microclimate based on the amount and length of sun and shade exposure the area receives. Microclimates are usually broken into one of four categories: full sun, partial shade, shade, or deep shade; take note of your landscape’s microclimate when selecting plants for your landscape and when deciding where to place landscape features.
The site’s topography and soil types are the two main considerations needed to create water drainage plans. The best designs drain water away from houses and other structures towards other areas of a landscape to prevent water damage from occuring.
Sit down and determine the uses of your yard before you start the landscape design process. This will help your landscape designer understand your wants and needs so they can effectively create designs that you will be most satisfied with.