Large Lake Oswego waterfall and pond feature project

Landscaping Tips : Phased Landscaping Design

Landscape Design in Phases

Budget and lifestyle can be factors in phasing design. Perhaps you can only afford to set aside a little bit each year for your landscape, or perhaps children create safety issues.

There are two main principles to remember if you’re phasing design:

  1. Start from the back of your property and move forward. To avoid running over completed landscapes with heavy equipment, you should start from the furthest point from the street and move toward the street; you’ll want to get the heaviest equipment in and out first.
  2. Start with the hardscaping layout: To avoid re-doing softscape to make room for subsequent hardscaping projects, start with the hard elements.


Natural Landscape and Irrigation specializes in landscape construction in the Greater Portland Metropolitan Area, Oregon including Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin, West Linn and surrounding areas. Please feel free to contact us for more details.



Try to phase design in these stages

  1. Terraces, walkways & decks. These will give you living spaces to use immediately and will usually eliminate a later need for heavy equipment to be dragged through your garden.
  2. Grading solutions. To ensure proper drainage and flow of rain and runoff water, retaining walls and/or drainage systems are top priorities.
  3. Major waterscapes. If young children and safety are a concern, you may want to wait on this component; if budget is the main issue, though, you should prioritize your water features and wait to implement your front yard plans until you have the funds. Again, pools and waterfalls can require heavy equipment that may damage softscape.
  4. Pergolas, arbors, trellises. Anything that’s going to have posts and colums going down into the ground.
  5. Tree plantings and sod installation. Put the big landscape features in first; that’s where you get the most impact. You get more mileage out of trees and lawn than you do out of shrubs. Your yard will look finished even if it’s still a work in progress.
  6. Shrubs and other plantings. It’s far more cost-effective and easier to lay grass everywhere and then cut out the grass to replace with your shrubs.

During each of these steps, make sure to also consider irrigation systems and outdoor lighting systems for the garden. This reduces maintenance and ensures extended use of the garden into the evening hours.