The Landscape Plan – A Thoughtful Decision

Do you want your landscape to be purely practical,   entirely ornamental or a beautiful combination of both? Like the favorite room in your house, plan your yard to be welcoming, comfortable and beautiful, no matter the season.
It is important to spend some time thinking about how you want to use your yard, how much time you wish to spend enjoying it and maintaining it, and what special features you would like to incorporate in the design. For inspiration, tour your neighborhood yards, visit the horticulture section in a library or bookstore, stop by your local garden centres and attend garden shows. Make a list of your needs, preferences, likes and dislikes; find magazines, books and photographs that illustrate design ideas that appeal to you.

Some points you should consider:

  • uses/availability of water for irrigation and aesthetics
  • play requirements of children
  • exercise areas for people and pets
  • features for entertaining (e.g. patio area, firepit, lighting)
  • privacy needs (view and sound barriers)
  • wind, sun and snow screens
  • storage for yard furniture and equipment;
  • access to utility areas

Even if you are planning to turn every spade of earth yourself, a professionally prepared plan can spell the difference between success and disappointment. A professional landscape plan will integrate your ideas into a feasible and sound design that will save you time and money. Because it takes training, experience and time, a landscape plan is something you should expect to pay for  ‐ the price will vary with the complexity of the job. Experienced landscape designers and contractors have a wealth of knowledge; they have worked with a myriad of landscaping materials and plant varieties, they are familiar with local suppliers and they have found solutions to every landscape challenge imaginable.

A landscape plan should address:

  • light, water and space requirements of plant material
  • soil and drainage conditions
  • changes in elevation
  • structural properties of landscaping materials
  • legal right‐of‐ways
  • municipal by‐laws (are permits required?)
  • power, phone, cable and gas lines

Professional Development