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How do you go about landscaping your yard? Former Extension Specialist Kim Powell wrote a wonderful guide going over the steps for landscaping which I have edited for our area in the Southeast. The process takes you through the necessary steps to determine just how to succeed in transforming your yard into a beautiful, well thought-out planned garden.
Landscape design is the conscious arrangement of outdoor space for human enjoyment and satisfaction. A well-designed home landscape is aesthetically pleasing and functional. It offers pleasure to the family, enhances the neighborhood, and adds to the property's resale value. With a little forethought and planning, you can organize your home site for maximum use and pleasure, and create a visual relationship between the house, its site, and the neighborhood.
The planning process, possibly the most important aspect of residential landscaping, is often neglected. We frequently see the evidence: a few scattered shade trees, overgrown foundation shrubs, a narrow concrete walk, and a fenced-in backyard. The resulting landscape rarely looks good, can be fairly expensive, and may not serve family needs. Good planning can save you time, effort, and money and can lead to a much more satisfying environment.
When you begin planning the landscape of your home grounds, think about the entire space and the overall effect you want to achieve. Don't limit your ideas to trees, shrubs, and grass. Consider a patio, deck, mailbox, screening wall, outdoor lighting, a new walk, or a parking area as possible landscape features.
There are several basic steps to creating your landscape.
Steps in the Landscape Design Process
•Develop a Plot Plan.
•Conduct a Site Analysis.
•Assess family needs.
•Locate use areas.
•Design, construct and plant.
If you follow these steps the finished product will be a personal landscape that reflects your family’s wants and needs and allows for growth and change in the future. Over the next couple of weeks, we will go over each of the steps for landscaping your yard. The first step that we will cover today is to “Develop a Plot Plan.”
Develop a Plot Plan
The first step in landscape design is to draw a plot plan of the site showing the boundaries and physical features that will affect your design. The plan should include property lines and angles; show the placement of the house on the property; and indicate the location of driveways, utilities, easements, and any other limitations.
Locate one corner of the house by measuring the distance from the nearest property line and from the back edge of the curb. Measure the distance from each corner on the side of the house to get the correct orientation. Use a 50- or 100-foot flexible steel tape to make accurate measurements of the property. If a plat is available, use it to obtain more accurate dimensions.
When all of your information has been gathered and marked on a rough sketch, transfer it to a final plot plan drawn accurately to scale. A suitable scale is one-inch per 10 feet. Be sure to indicate compass directions on your plan.
Next, locate any existing features on the property and the house. Be sure to include the following:
•Windows, doors and other openings, including height off the ground.
•Aboveground and underground utility lines.
•Existing trees and shrubs.
•Utility meters, drain pipes, water spigots, outlets and septic tank.
•Features on or near the property line.
•Anything else prominent on the site.
Next week, we will cover the site analysis step.
If you have any questions about landscaping, call your local Cooperative Extension Office. In Brunswick County, call 253-2610.