The first step in residential landscaping is drawing the design of your plot. This plot plan should include all of the physical features and boundaries that are present on the property. Include all of the angles and lines and include the position of the house on the lot. Don't forget to include driveways, easements and any other limitations that may affect your landscaping.
This process will require a lot of measuring. You need to measure from a corner of your house to your property line, then from the curb to the same corner. You will need at least a 50' tape to measure the property. If you have a plat of the lot, it will be accurate in all of its dimensions.
Take into consideration:
Doors, windows and their height from the ground Utility lines Trees and shrubs that are already in place Meters, septic tank, water spigots, outlets and drain pipes. Each of these steps is important.
Next you will need to conduct a site analysis. This will allow you to analyze all of the environmental features of the property. You will need a piece of tracing paper over your plan to use for the analysis. How does the sun affect your house and the various parts of your property. The influence of the sun will affect the design. You will need to determine the areas that you want to have shade in the summer and sun in the winter.
Prevailing winds also play a part in your landscaping. The soft breezes of summer should not be blocked intentionally from your outdoor spaces. Take a walk around your property and take note of what you see. Look at the view from the front porch and the back door. Do you like what you see? Consider the need for blocking out some noises as well.
Is your soil clay, sand, rocky or perfect? Consult with the extension agent in your county to determine what your soil needs before you start planting. It can make a big difference in the ultimate results. This may give pause to a homeowner at this point. Many times, they will choose to hire a professional at this point. If not, they will proceed to assessing the needs of their families.
Consider your families access to the home and their activities. Consider entertaining, seating, playing and whether you need parking for a boat or travel trailer. If you do your own yardwork, where will you store your equipment? Include space for trashcans, clotheslines, firewood and pet pens on your plan. What areas are used for specific purposes? You do not want to plant your prize begonias where the tennis players will trod or the dog will do his business.
Add a focal point to each of your entryways. Planters, shrubs in pots or in the ground or smaller trees work well. You can incorporate outdoor lighting to emphasize these areas. Residential landscaping is not an easy task. It takes planning and endurance to complete. If you have a large plot of land it will take even more time. Perhaps you are rethinking your plan and may want to consider a professional to do the job.