In order to develop and create a successful landscape plan one needs to implement certain processes and procedures. The first part of the process is to perform a site analysis. Secondly, we need to determine the design intent and functionality of the space. Once we establish our design intent we can select our materials (paving, gravel, plants, trees, mulch, etc). As soon as we have completed the steps mentioned above we can start the process of putting together the landscape master plan.

When conducting the site analysis it would be a great help to have a copy of the property survey handy so you can take precise notes on your observations. The first thing I always look for or notice is the amount of sun/shade the property has. This observation is going to determine a lot of planting choices. If there’s too much sun do we bring in some trees to provide some shade? Or if there is too much shade do we do some tree trimming to thin the canopy above? Observe the existing plants to see if they are healthy. If the existing plants are in bad shape a soil analysis should be done. Is there an existing irrigation system? If not, now is the time to plan for one. You want to install your irrigation system prior to planting. It would be a shame to rip up your beautiful landscape because you forgot about the irrigation. Drainage is also a concern. Are there spots that are always wet or muddy? You want the heavily trafficked areas of the yard high and dry.

Landscape design doesn’t have to be complex. When determining your design intent keeping it simple is usually best. It is very easy to overdo it and complicate things. Inspiration is the key. Think of a place where you really enjoyed spending some time outside. Whether, it is friend’s house, hotel, or park. And try to recreate that feeling. You want create something that draws you outside. Create something that makes you want to spend time outdoors and feel happy. We prefer to make spaces functional, useful, as well as beautiful to look at. Ask yourself a few questions. Do you enjoy barbequing or dinner parties? If yes, create a space where you can barbeque or entertain outdoors and hang out with your friends at the same time. Don’t put the barbeque in the back corner far from the kitchen where no one wants to hang out. Think of the big picture first and worry about the little details later. The details are important, but the big picture is of more importance at this point. Imagine how you want the landscape to flow. Do you like straight lines or curves? A great way to do this is with a survey of the property. Make several copies and start drawing. Draw several different layouts. Eventually your final draft will be a combination of a few of your rough drawings.

Once you have the layout put together you can start filling in the details and start choosing the different materials of the garden. Now ask yourself a few more questions. Do you enjoy trees or palms? Or both? Do you like a lot of flowers or more of a green garden? Do you like a manicured garden or more of a free flowing tropical design style?
Your answers to these questions will determine which plants, trees, and/or palms you will choose for your garden. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong. Landscape design is an art. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When you are in the process of plant selection your will have to refer back to your site analysis. Remember you want to put the right plant in the right place. If your space is mostly full sun you can create your own shady areas by grouping some trees or palms together.

Lastly, it is time to start the fun part and put it all together for your enjoyment. At this point you can choose to do it yourself or hire a professional landscape contractor. If you decide to use a professional you have to keep several things in mind. First, always ask for and check their references. Secondly, don’t base your decision solely on price. Cheaper doesn’t mean better. Neither does the most expensive mean it will be the best. Especially when we are talking about landscape construction. Plants and trees can vary greatly in quality and health. Keep in mind we are dealing with something that is perishable. Plants are not made in machines like concrete blocks. It is also very important to get a time line from the contractor as to how long the project will take and always discuss the payment terms. For transparency we always recommend getting an itemized quote so you know exactly what everything costs. Now go out and enjoy your garden.

Cortada Landscape Design is your one stop shop for outdoor living needs. Providing Landscape Design, Landscape Contracting, Irrigation and Landscape Lighting Services. Servicing Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove etc.