“Getting started is half finished” would have to be one of my favourite quotes, and when it applies to designing your landscape plan… well, it proves it to be true.

When I visit people’s homes who wish to either start their landscaping or change it, the most common question I get asked is “where do I begin” My answer to that is nearly always the same to everybody and that is simply this:

“Landscaping is really split up into two categories, first your needs and second, your desires or your own personality”

First in this “Part one” lets discuss your needs… “Part two” will be covered next post,

This is simple, It is really a matter of listing all the practical and hardware requirements that need to be in place for you to be able to live on that property. These can be a hard surface Driveway and Paths, Storage Facilities, access to all areas of the garden, Retaining Walls, Drainage Facilities, Steps and Ramps.

These all fall into the category of the Hard Landscaping… and really should be sorted out before anything else is planned. Now that is easy to say when you have a clear block to work with but the principle still applies even if you are surrounded by plants and such like… remember everything can be changed, Plants can be dug up and placed in pots and re-planted again when the hardware work is done, Walls can be re-built, driveways can be changed etc

Landscaping can be all about stamping you own ideas and personality onto your property just as you would turn your house into a home inside. So REFUSE to be limited by what’s there already and think outside the box if you want to change anything.

There may be obvious things that you have to do, like building a wall to retain some ground or provide a footpath for your visitors or yourself to get to the front door etc. thinking on your hardware needs and then prioritizing them is the first and most important stage to you design.

My priority list would be something like this, and keep in mind it is general and there may be items that would not apply to you…

Retaining Walls where safety is an issue.
> Drainage Plan…If pipes have to be laid.
> Watering system plan…If pipes have to be laid.
> Driveways and Paths, to the front and back doors.
> Storage facilities and utility areas like clothes line and bins etc.
> Steps, Ramps and Paths, to gain access to areas within your garden.

Once these are sorted out you can then start organizing the likes of your garden shape, this will cater for entertainment areas, resting areas, playing areas and equipment for the kids etc.

Try to resist the temptation to be planting anything during this stage of the work unless it is going to be right out of the way of course. Generally hardware work will be messy and more difficult if you have to work around too many plants.

So having an idea of what you need helps then to be able to plan the rest of your design which we will discuss in “Part two”.