Landscaping Tips : Steps of Planning a Landscape : Step 1 - Pre-design and Wish List

Steps of Planning Landscapes

       After you have an idea of what sort of garden experience you’d like to create, you’re ready to begin thinking about the design. While the following nine steps do represent a step-by-step process, design is organic, and you’ll likely want to incorporate some of the later steps early in the process. For example, you may make easy landscape maintenance (step nine) part of your wish list (step one). So, as you put together your design with your landscape architect, designer or contractors, make sure to come back to these nine steps regularly, and always look ahead to the next steps.

Step (1/9): Pre-design and Wish-List

       Before Beginning a design, you need a basic understanding of what you’re looking for. Outdoor spaces, even more so than indoor ones, are successful to the degree that they create a sense of place—a tall order sometimes, as open air spaces are, by definition, barely contained. Therefore, two-dimensional diagrams are even less effective than house blueprints at conveying what it would feel like to be in that outdoor place. Thus, you need to become adept at visualizing your design each step of the way.
        Photographs of the site help to some extent: Pin them up on a wall to help you focus on certain areas and discover details that you wouldn’t normally see standing alongside the property and viewing it as a whole. It’s also a good idea to flip through magazines looking for landscape ideas and to get used to viewing spaces from a variety of angles. Consider the view from your front door, your living room window or even the kitchen sink. Think how you see your landscape now and how you could enhance your viewing pleasure with an improved design. If you haven’t already done so, go out and experience a variety of garden rooms. Walk into, around and through them, making note of what you like and what you hope to avoid. And be practical: If you find that you love the look of a lot of plants and flowers, ask yourself if you also love getting down on your knees in the garden bed.
        Lifestyle is also a critical component of design. You should consider how you plan to use the space, and be precise. Do you plan to create a place for reading in a hammock? For taking an outdoor shower? Will you use the space for sitting with a cup of coffee in the morning? If you’re building a walkway, will it need to accommodate wheelchairs or strollers? Asking yourself personal questions about your lifestyle will help you assess both your needs and your budget priorities.


Maintained Front lawn, West Linn landscaping


        A quick word on budgets: This is something clients are often reluctant to discuss, both because they don’t’ have much sense of what things cost and because they want to continue dream of fountains and arbors as long as possible. However, if you can come up with a ballpark figure, you will be better able to help set priorities and seek out both a cost-effective and premium solution for almost everything you do.
        Done well, this critical and highly creative phase of planning will yield fresh ideas and a set of real expectations. The next step is setting all your inspirations, ideas and wishes down on paper. Since these are only loosely based on the capabilities of your outdoor space, this is your wish list. Simply sit down and write out a list of things you’d like your new project to provide.


Nine Important Steps of Landscape Planning

Part 1 of 9: Pre-Design and Wish List

Part 2 of 9: Inventory

Part 3 of 9: Analysis

Part 4 of 9: Bubble Diagrams

Part 5 of 9: Concept Design

Part 6 of 9: Detailed Design

Part 7 of 9: Construction Drawings

Part 8 of 9: Installation

Part 9 of 9: Maintenance


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


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