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Landscape Planning

Set Goals

Plan ahead: Clearly identify goals for your landscape.


  • What are your outdoor activities? Do you need areas for recreation, outdoor dining or relaxation?
  • Identify and record where you plan on incorporating a patio or additional structures.
  • How can you incorporate low or non-water-using plants or hardscapes?
  • Determine any special features like a sculpture, rock or vegetable garden you'd like to incorporate in your landscape.

flower and shrub garden.








gravel path through a garden.








lawn chair in a garden.








Site Evaluation

Conduct a site evaluation to record environmental and site characteristics. Walk through the landscape, take notes and record the following information on your map.


  • Amount of sunlight; full sun (8 or more hours of sun), part sun (4 to 8 hours per day), or shade (less than 4 hours a day).
  • Existing vegetation, fences and walkways. Identify any above or below ground utilities that may interfere with construction and planting.
  • Determine the areas where water collects or areas that are usually dry (under roof overhangs).


rough sketch of a backyard landscape plan.

Minimize irrigated grass to play areas and use drought tolerant plants to reduce water demand.






Develop a Plan

  • Work in pencil and remove any vegetation you plan on taking out the landscape.
  • Draw circles to represent the different areas you plan on incorporating into your landscape.
  • Create several bubble diagrams and select the best one.
  • Consider how you intend to water the landscape. Can you hand water or use drip irrigation in flower beds, vegetable beds and containers?
  • Consider location of the sprinkler heads and how to incorporate or remove them.


backyard landscape draft.

Keep mature plant height in mind and allow space for large plants to grow. Use annuals to fill in gaps until plants are mature height.

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