A landscaping drawing is an important planning and communication piece. Professional designers will collaborate with you to create a customized landscape design. Alternatively, you can elect to create one yourself. There is no right or wrong way. But remember, if it isn’t in the drawing, don’t count on it being part of your new outdoor space. Whether you decide to create a drawing yourself, or engage a professional, you will benefit from this brief 3 Step “How-To” overview.
Step 1. Existing Conditions.
Create a sketch of what is there now and can’t or will not be changed. This would include your house footprint, fences or walls and property lines. Remember that your drawing will only be as accurate as your measurements. If you are using your drawing to estimate your bill of materials, remember to be accurate and work in a factor of scrap.
After you outline the conditions you have to work with, I recommend working in your hardscape design. Hardscape includes the pavers and walls that are used to define the shape of your design. On the other hand, the plant materials are referred to as your softscape. More on softscape in step 3.
Sketch two or three different design concepts as an overlay over your existing plan view, by following these easy steps:
Draw concept bubble diagrams of the different “rooms” you want to incorporate. Use circles and ovals with labels such as “dining”, “grill”, “fireplace”, etc. and don’t forget to include some open space for gathering. Those areas can be used for gathering areas or your chase lounges.
Begin shaping the outline of your designs over the bubble diagrams but remember to keep in mind any obstacles or features such as views of your lake, a water fountain, gazebo, etc. Use larger and smoother circles and curves. Too many small curves will make installation challenging and less aesthetic.
Pick a preferred option and finish with the specifics. Add columns and piers to accentuate entries and sidewalks, at the end of seatwalls or transitions down stairs.
Select the right product for your design. Using concrete pavers over other materials has several advantages. Material quality, finish, color and shape are the biggest considerations.
Finish: Do you want a tumbled paver, a traditional smooth paver, something more polished and contemporary, or natural in appearance? Match the material with the style of your home. New products are coming on the market every season. I like recommending the Unilock Select products which offer the latest in textures and finishes combined with next generation concrete technologies. These products utilize the EnduraColor and EnduraColor Plus technology to deliver products with superior wear performance and color integrity.
Color: Tie the pavers to existing features on your home such as the stone veneer. Colors don’t need to match, but complement each other.
Shape: Utilize paver shapes that will work best with your design. Larger shapes are better for more orthogonal modern designs whereas smaller pavers are more flexible for organic, traditional designs.
Finishing: I discussed the importance of details in every design in the last blog post. Remember not to be afraid to tastefully incorporate accent colors and shapes to tie the project together and separate “rooms”. These final details are hallmarks of every exceptional landscape.
Don’t forget to utilize the new Uvision design tool. In addition to being a source for inspiration, this system gives you a greater perspective on how the products can work together and complement your home to create a truly breathtaking design. These 25” by 22” true sized sample sheets can be ordered right to your door from the Unilock website. Lay out the sheets in front of your home and stand back to envision the truly customized transformation.
I sometimes think plants are to the hardscape as the icing is to the cake. They are the decoration to your hardscape. So choose a hierarchy of plant material.
Place the shade trees and/or ornamental trees in locations set aside in the HARDSCAPE. These can add shade and filtered light where desired.
Position shrubs, perennials and annuals around the base of your trees. The large shrubs should be adjacent to taller structures such as fences or walls while the smaller shrubs should complement any columns or piers.
Include both evergreen and deciduous shrub types. These will add winter color and texture. Upright evergreens work well to screen and block undesirable views.
Layer several different perennials in front of your seatwalls and around the base of the shrubs. You want these to add flowering color at various times throughout summer.
Accent areas with pots of your favorite annuals.
Talk to a local nursery or garden center about locally grown plants matching your design.
The final touch to include is site lighting. This will add life to your creation at night. It really does make a difference and is worth the expense. Find a reputable company specializing in residential low voltage lighting.