To plan or not to plan…

I am asked time and time again what is the benefit of doing a landscape plan. As a landscape designer, to me, the answer is obvious – you wouldn’t build a house without a plan so why would you build your landscape without a plan?

When you think about your dream backyard what elements would you include? A patio? Deck? Pool? Gardens? Large shade trees? A shed? The list can go on and on, and the cost can go up and up. Due to the nature of these types of projects and the construction involved it is very beneficial to have a set of plans available to work from. By having a set of plans you can accuratly receive quotes from contractors (and be sure that contractors are all quoting on the same thing!), compile lists of materials needed for the project as well as plan the work out in phases all while having an overall vision of the project.

While the initial investment of a landscape plan may seem expensive and perhaps like an unnecessary expense, if you consider the probability of planting a shrub in the wrong location and it needing to be replaced or completing one part of the project only to have to redo it later when completing another part of the project (ie: the first part needs to be taken out to put in the second part), a landscpe plan is a very worthwhile investment. I have been to many sites where someone has started work on their garden, suffered many failures and became increasingly frustrated.

A landscape designer is well versed in not just the design aspects of planning your yard but also in plant materials. We can help you to select the right plants for your yard based on lighting conditions, soil conditions and how much water the plants will receive – this is critical to your gardens success! Knowing where to place elements in your landscape so that they are best enjoyed, thrive the best and can be phased into the landscape in the best possible manner are all skills your landscape designer can bring to the table.

When I meet with a client who is planning a new landscape that involves any hardscaping (patios, decks, walkways, pools, etc) I strongly urge them to consider a landscape plan. As many of these clients are approaching their landscape in phases this gives them an overall view of their project from the start and allows them a vision of each phase as they move along the project. It also gives us something to hand to contractors for quoting so that we can ensure that everyone is quoting on the same part of the project and on the same aspects.

When I complete a landscape plan for a client I always visit the site – this gives me the best opportunity to understand the site and all it’s conditions. site conditions such as grade changes, existing trees both on the property and on the neighbouring properties, locations of swales and catch basins, heights of windows, locations of vents, etc are critical to the overall development of the landscape plan and generally can not be determined without being onsite. While visiting the client I not only take photographs and measurements but also conduct an interview asking questions regarding the needs and wants for the space, getting a feel for the style that my client is after. Often the client has certain plants or certain colours they would like to see incorporated into the plan. Once this is completed the design phase begins. My landscape plans are always drawn to scale and include recommendations as to what the materials in the plan should be (ie: what paving materials to use) as well as naming each and every plant with a genus, species and variety. Having the complete names of the plants is very useful in years to come in case you need to replace a plant or if a friend drops by and asks you what that fantastic shrub in the corner is!

If you are interested in finding out more about the landscape plan process, please contact me at jodiemunshawcld@gmail.com or 647 381 2758.

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One Response to To plan or not to plan…

  1. Great advice Jodie. A plan gives the client a visual roadmap that allows them to make changes and additions. Without a plan, you are flying blind. You need to see it on paper to visualize the space needed to fulfil the project.

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