Laying the Ground Work with Landscape Site Design Plans
Carefully drawn landscape site design plans are the key to a beautiful yard that complements your home. Your site plan, or sometimes called concept plan is a preliminary layer and serves as a tool to layout the various features and components you want in your outdoor design. Before you begin drawing the plans, it is a good idea to consider what you would like the space surrounding your home to look like, as well as its function.
Think about the times you will use your outdoor space the most and decide on plants and colors you like. It may also be helpful to note any plants or colors you would like to avoid in your concept plan.
Things to consider before creating your landscape site design plans:
- The overall mood and theme of your outdoor space.
- The purpose of the plants in your yard. You may desire shade, want to attract wildlife, or create a privacy or wind barrier.
- Hardscape elements to include, like parking areas, pools and spas, or an outdoor kitchen.
- Special areas you may need, such as space for children to play, a vegetable garden, or areas for entertaining.
- Your budget and the amount of time you have to maintain your landscape.
Using an accurate plot plan or also referred to as plat map, draw in all existing structures as well as plants, hardscape, and natural features of your property before creating your landscape design site plans. Accuracy is extremely important for a well-designed concept plan.
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A Front Yard Entry Wall and Walk
This color-rendered example shows a detail of the entry area. Notice the wide entry walk leading to the front door. Creating a five feet or wider entry walk provides and sets a welcoming tone for visitors and comfortable allows two people to walk side by side with ease.
On the way to the front door one passes by a two low, curved, stone walls with large round pilasters that are hollow and act as built in planters. Keeping the hardscape to a minimum in the front yard will help to showcase the homes facade.
Helpful hint: Notice that one of the pilasters flairs off to the right. This technique of off-setting the pilasters is called an asymmetrical placement.
Whether you’re creating new landscape site design plans or renovating your existing design, details for materials used in the driveway, measurements, and other information regarding this hardscape element can be found in this section.
Here we are treating the existing driveway with a heavy acid wash and staining to match new flagstone accents giving an Old World Tuscan charm to this modern tract house garden.
Brick and concrete pavers are also a popular material used in driveway paving. They come in many different colors and textures and can be installed in varying patterns like herringbone, basket weave, jack-on-jack and running bond to name a few.
Return Walls and Gates
Like the previous sections, this area will explain the materials and measurements required to install the return walls and gates. Information regarding existing elements and setbacks should be indicated whenever possible.
Here is a return wall with a potted plant placed within a decorative cutout. Return walls often include gates for easy access. Gates typically swing outward towards the front yard. This is done for child safety as required by many municipalities for homes with swimming pools.
An important feature in landscape site design plans is the pool safety gate. It’s also required to open away from the pool, be self closing and self latching with the latch located on the top of the fence far from the reach of children.
Central Courtyard for Solitude
Courtyards are terrific focal points and can help with transitions between various design elements. This courtyard is considered an entry courtyard as it is located at the front door and is surrounded by four sides.
A specimen tree is showcased in a round raise seat wall in the middle of the courtyard, providing a place to sit and enjoy the garden. Four tall shrubs frame the corners in give vertical dimension.
Custom Water Features
Beautifully designed custom or prefabricated water features can add the soothing sound water to the garden. Perfect for entry walks, courtyards, adjacent to dining areas or used as a focal point, water features can add interest with the element of surprise.
Custom Fireplaces and Fire Pits
Set the mood for elegant outdoor entertaining with a custom fireplace or fire pit. An outdoor fireplace creates an ideal living room environment. Patio furniture like couches, love seats, chairs and coffee tables sets the tone for this relaxing area.
Fit pits are also popular and can create a warm conversational area for your family and friends on those occasional chilly nights.
Pool and Spa Area
This swimming pool includes a water slide with a spa embedded into a decorative tile wall with cascading water.
Other features include a Bahia shelf or sometime referred to as a Shamu shelf complete with a built-in umbrella stand to get out of the sun.
This project was for a Tuscan styled home so the natural flagstone pavement and informal rustic pattern blended well with the surroundings.
Barbecue Island and Dining Area
Built-in outdoor kitchens and BBQ islands are becoming increasingly popular in high-end landscape designs. This section of your landscape site design plans will make the installation of these features simple, with precise measurements and specific instructions for the right materials and accessories.
The BBQ area is located under a covered structure keeping guest dry in a sudden down pour. In this arrangement the cook is stationed behind the island facing his or her guests which are seated on high stools along a raised bar top.