Get a Free Estimate

Creating A Landscaping Plan

by Allison E. Beatty
Repair-Home Columnist

If you're tired of planting shrubs and flowers only to see them wither, take heart. There is a solution. Instead of gardening by trial and error, it's time to create a landscaping plan. This way you'll look at the overall picture.

When you formulate your landscaping plan, make sure to account for:

  • Sun and shade patterns
  • Available space for flowerbeds
  • Traffic patterns through the yard
  • Long term landscaping plans for a patio or deck
  • Where to add walkways and paths

Start with a survey or drawing of your yard, taking into account existing plant materials, hardscapes such as patios and walks, and future needs. Take exact measurements and use graph paper. Draw the existing landscaping elements to scale.

Then consider your long-range landscaping and home improvement plans. If you want to tear out an old patio and add a deck in a few years, draw an outline of where the deck will go. This way you'll avoid planting trees, shrubs, and flowers that will have to be moved later.

If you're planning to add a room some day, don't plant too much in its path. Your landscaping may not transplant well or survive the home improvement process.

As you evaluate your goals, think about:

  • How you use the space. Do you want lots of grass versus large flowerbeds? Do you like large evergreens you can see from the kitchen window?
  • The four seasons -- look for a mix of flowering shrubs, shrubs that change with the seasons, and evergreens for winter color.
  • Flower bed placement -- check your sun and shade patterns so you can place them in a sunny spot if possible.
  • Functional issues -- sun and shade patterns, soil conditions, and drainage problems. These factors help determine which plants to select and whether you need the help of a landscaping contractor for drainage or soil issues.

This can be a fun home improvement project, but one that will take some time. Your local library should have plenty of landscaping books to help you get started.

If this home improvement project seems too overwhelming, consult a landscaping contractor who can put together a plan for you. You then can tweak small areas to fit your needs.

About the Author
Allison E. Beatty has been a writer of home improvement columns for 15 years. Her articles have appeared in numerous national newspapers and magazines, and on home improvement Web sites.