When faced with a yard that’s a blank slate – or one you want to seriously overhaul – the task of planning everything out by yourself can feel overwhelming. That’s where a professional landscape plan comes in.
“A well-thought-out garden requires a drawing,” says landscape designer Michael Dimitriadis, who believes that homeowners should consider their entire property to be part of the home, not just the indoor space.
Just as it’s best to entrust a professional architect with major structural decisions for home renovations, an experienced landscape designer is best suited to assess your yard and provide recommendations for both the built environment (known as “hardscaping”) and the gardens.
A proper landscape plan not only provides a design with measurements, but it also charts a timeline, splitting the project into manageable chunks according to resources, scope of the project and, of course, budget.
“Paying for a landscape plan as part of the ultimate vision for your property can help save money in the long run, because you won’t end up ripping out sections of your garden to accommodate a new idea,” Dimitriadis explains.
Dimitriadis says that his process for drawing up a landscape design starts with meeting with clients to get a sense of their wish list and budget. “We’ll have a conversation about lifestyle to discuss what you’ll use the space for, what you want in the design and your budget,” he explains.
Dimitriadis will then come back with a detailed drawing that translates the homeowner’s ideas into a workable plan. He’ll outline the workflow of the project and point out any challenges and their solutions – for example, having to negotiate borrowing space from a neighbour to move in heavy machinery. He’ll then work on revising the plan until clients are fully satisfied.
When it comes to deciding what to work on first, some scenarios depend on what you want as a client. Perhaps you’d prefer to start with the front yard this year and the backyard next year; or maybe you most urgently want a finished deck for entertaining.
Complex elements in the design require more planning. For instance, big features such as a retaining wall or terraced gardens will have to be built first, even if they’re not planted right away. Dimitriadis may also advise planting the big trees and shrubs that are part of the plan before the rest of the hardscaping goes in.
For the gardens, Dimitriadis recommends digging your garden beds and planting as you go, so you’re never left with big open spaces (unless you’re accommodating the big to-dos listed above). “A beautiful garden is always evolving, so you want to be flexible,” he says.
While Dimitriadis recommends seeing the project through with the landscape designer, he does provide a few areas where homeowners can find cost savings. For instance, they can:
• Measure spaces;
• Prep the garden beds;
• Shop for plants and be on the lookout for sales;
• Buy materials such as soil in bulk;
• Source inexpensive hardscaping materials like rectangular 4x8 pavers.
When it comes to your home, you want to create both indoor and outdoor spaces that you’ll enjoy for years to come. A professional landscape plan created by a landscape design firm such as Dimi Design Build will help you get there. Think of it like shopping for groceries with a list and meal plan as opposed to just heading to the supermarket and buying what strikes your fancy. Not only will you end up sticking to your budget, but you’ll enjoy the results more, too.