From Blank Slate to Beautiful Landscape

August 10, 2020

Every artist loves a blank canvas. Well, the same holds true for landscape designers. An empty piece of land holds so many possibilities – no matter the size. We understand, though if the possibilities and bringing them to life seem a little overwhelming. But turning your dreamscape into reality is not as difficult as you might think. The secret is knowing where to start and how to start and doing things in the right order. And all of this just takes a bit of planning!

So, where should you start?

  1.       Start with purpose.

Think about how you want to live in your yard and what purpose you want it to serve. Do you want a playground for kids, family, and pets? What about entertaining space? Maybe you’d like a private oasis or a garden to raise herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Or, maybe you just want to improve the curb appeal of your home. Having some clarity on what you want to get out of your yard will help you decide what to put into your yard.

  1.       Find your style.

With an idea of how you want to live or play in your yard, you are free to start dreaming about what it could look like. What have you seen in other yards or landscapes that you like? What colors, textures, and elements appeal to you? Take a stroll or drive through neighborhoods, browse magazines or photo galleries, search the web for inspiration—sites like Pinterest are full of ideas! Don’t be surprised if you discover new ideas about how to use your yard, that’s just part of the process of coming up with a design you will love for years to come.

  1.       Know your limits.

This is good advice before you embark on any project, but especially true when it comes to a yard transformation. Yes, letting your imagination run wild a bit is fine, but you also need to be practical in how the dream becomes real. Key questions you need to answer before you begin are:

BUDGET – How much do you want to spend? Having a budget in place will help you make decisions about what to include, what materials to use, and how much you can get done at once or if the project should be done in phases.

TIMING – When do you want to start and when do you want to be done? Knowing both dates is important to planning, especially the target end date. Time constraints like changing seasons or special events, as well as the schedule of any contractors hired to do the job and delivery of materials all come into play. Knowing your time limits will help you make smart decisions to keep your project moving forward, or pausing it until the timing is right. 

EXPERTISE – Do you know what you are doing? We see it all the time. An ambitious DIYer with a great idea gets derailed due to a lack of knowledge or understanding of what the project requires to be safe and in compliance with city or HOA regulations; what materials should be used, or how the site should be prepped or amended before a project can even start. The average homeowner also doesn’t know in what order things should be done and runs the risk of wasting time and money having to tear things out and start over.

Hint: These are the questions a professional landscape designer is going to ask you and answering these questions upfront will help you avoid problems, will save you time, and will save you money. So as excited as you may be to jump into a project, don’t skip this step!

  1.       Create your plan!

Armed with the answers and information you gathered in steps 1-3, which is really just the pre-planning phase, you are finally ready to get to the fun of creating a plan! Whether you are going to create your own design, or hire a professional, you will need the answers to all of the questions above. A complete plan will include a cohesive design, necessary site prep, materials selection, installation sequencing, scheduling, and possibly phases depending on the scope of the project and your budget or time constraints.

 At Landscape East & West our professional design and installation teams have years of experience turning dreamscapes into landscapes. We love the possibilities offered here in the Pacific Northwest with our climate and natural resources, and we appreciate the creativity and ideas our clients bring to the table. If you need a little inspiration and professional expertise to get started on your project, we can provide that in spades! Contact us today to learn more about our design-build process and how we can help you.