The Importance of Designing Before You Plant

With an abundance of home and landscape improvement shows on major television networks, not to mention any number of magazines devoted to garden and landscape design, many homeowners have turned into avid do-it-yourself weekend warriors. While it’s good for both the body and soul to get outside and work in the yard, it is important not to overlook the importance of thoughtful design and planning before the shovel breaks ground. Take a walk down your street and we bet you can pick out those who enlisted the expertise of a professional for planning and/or execution.

Planting is an Art

Planting design is an art form. A landscape designer considers the characteristics of each plant species that becomes part a composition: foliage and flower colour, texture, size, shape and season of interest. Plants should be arranged in a way that is pleasing to the eye while also fulfilling other intended functions such as providing shade, screening views to provide privacy or serving as a food source for wildlife. The fourth dimension of time must also be considered; plants not only grow larger, but change characteristics from season to season.

When considering a planting project for one part of your yard, it is worth thinking about the entire yard at the same time. Your property can be viewed as one canvas or large painting. What you plant in one area should relate to the rest of the larger picture. What is the main focus in the yard? Is there an overall colour scheme, and how will the different colours work together? Are the planting beds formal or informal? Is there a consistent feel or style throughout the yard? A lot of thought goes into the composition of a planting design.

Plan for the Future

An overall landscape design for your yard helps you plan for the future. Most landscapes are put in place a year or project at a time. Without planning ahead, it’s all too easy to put a number of plants in a particular place and realize, a year or two later, that was actually the perfect spot for a patio or playset. Plants can usually be moved, but it takes a lot of work and time and should be done at the right time of year.

Matching Plants with Growing Conditions

Like people, some plants are very picky and some are easy going. Many plant species have very specific preferences for soil type, moisture, sun and temperature. Some yards are more or less the same throughout and some have a variety of different conditions. An analysis of the growing conditions in your yard will help you select the best plants for your needs. Putting the right plant in the right place increases the chances of the plant growing and thriving as it should.

Many people have both an artistic eye and a green thumb. They seem to be able to put the right combination of plants together and have a yard that is the envy of neighbours and friends. Others are great at doing the work, but get better results when someone else creates the plan and directs their efforts. Whether you draw one yourself or hire a professional designer, if you are the do-it-yourself type for backyard landscape projects, make sure you have a long-range design plan. It will save you time and money and result in a more beautiful backyard with every plant and feature working together to create a harmonious space. .

When in doubt, give us a call at Lawrence Park Complete Garden Care. We’ve been doing this for more than two decades, and we can help.