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Gardening: Planning Your Landscape

Landscaping your block or garden is a major project, and one in which you should spend a lot of time on the planning and drafting of ideas before you even take a mattock to the ground.

Before drafting your plans, you need to consider what exactly you want from your garden. Having decided your priorities it's time to start planning.

Types of Landscape Plans:

Professional landscape designers use four types of plans when designing a new project. The plans are prepared in stages:

  1. Site plan or base plan - the initial plan showing the existing features of the site
  2. . Concept plan or draft plan - a sketch of the overall concept of the new design including broad activity areas and major traffic routes through the garden.
  3. . Final plan - the new design.
  4. . Planting plan - detailed plan showing the layout of plants.
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The initial site plan is drawn on plain white paper or graph paper. Subsequent plans are prepared as overlays, drawn on tracing paper. For each new plan, place a new sheet of tracing paper over the site plan and trace the building outlines, boundaries, paths, etc.

Garden Rooms

A current concept in landscape design is the idea of a garden as a series of 'rooms'. When you decided what you want from your ideal garden, there were probably several different functions, such as children's play area, entertaining/barbecue area, water feature, maybe a vegetable garden, or a specialty flower garden.

These different functions can be accommodated in different garden rooms. These 'rooms' may be laid out as an open plan like in a house, with each area largely open to the area beside it. For instance, a verandah is like an outdoor living room, and an area of lawn next to it can act as a playroom for children.

In another, more formal garden, the outdoor rooms might be separated by a hedge or fence with a gate or narrow path providing a doorway from one area to another.

So, an important part of your planning is to envisage how you want your garden rooms to be laid out and connected.

Be Practical and Flexible

It's unlikely that your budget or your space will allow you to have absolutely everything you decided was important. So once again you will have to prioritise. But this doesn't mean you have to be disappointed with the final design.

While you will probably have to make some compromises on the cost, aesthetics and the function you want each area of the garden to achieve, you can simply go back to your concept plan and redraw it.

There are no rules about what can be altered or added to a concept plan. The shape and size of each room or area can be changed, the components of each may be changed or added to, and the boundaries between each room can also be changed.

In the end, your concept plan will reflect what realistically you can create of your dream landscape and you can draw up your final plan and get started!

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