What is landscape design?

Landscape design is the strategic arrangement of elements to create an outdoor space that fits your needs. In more technical terms, landscape design is finding a balance between hardscapes and softscapes, which are exactly as they sound: the hard elements of your landscape (like stones, concrete, and brick) and the soft elements of your landscape (dirt, grass, or water). 

Hardscapes might include your patio, a fireplace, a fire pit, or stones that make up the base of your water feature, and softscapes may include your garden beds, a pond, lawn, or artificial turf. 

Almost all landscape design can be defined by this balance of hardscapes and softscapes, but it’s important to remember that creating a design that is both functional and beautiful is a harder task than it seems, so it’s crucial to work with an expert when designing your space, especially for larger scale backyard transformations.

Learn more: Ultimate Guide to Landscape Design

A quick guide to the landscape planning process

Before we dive into why design is the most important part of any landscaping project, we need to understand where design falls in the larger process. 

Just like interior design and renovation projects, a landscape project should always start with setting expectations. You’ll want to come into this process on the right foot by having a fully fleshed-out wishlist of all the things you want in your space. 

Even better, break this list into smaller sections for “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves,” so you can set more realistic expectations with your designer and construction team. On top of a wishlist, you should also set a budget at this point. How much are you wanting to spend on your project? Is there a contingency fund if something unexpected happens? These are all good questions to kick off your project planning process.

Once you have your budget and requirements set, this is where design comes into play! You’ll want to find a designer that is experienced, knowledgeable, and has all the resources needed to complete the project and meet all your expectations (including timeline and budget). At this stage, your designer will take your wishlist and budget and turn them into an initial design for you to collaborate on and make sure all your needs are met. 

After your general design is agreed upon, it’s time to work with your designer to put together a game plan for execution and construction. This will probably consist of benchmark dates, a more detailed budget breakdown, and some final design decisions, like picking out stones, plants, and structural materials. 

Finally, your designer will take it from here! They will execute your plan, construct the space, and get everything completed and ready for you and your family to enjoy. 

Landscape design can sometimes feel daunting, but with the right partner and a detailed plan and design, it’s not as difficult as it may seem!

Why is landscape design important?

There are a few reasons why design is the most important part of any landscape project. 

First, while putting together an initial design is a fairly large step in and of itself, design actually occurs throughout the entire process, from the initial brainstorm to execution. For example, you’re probably including design elements in your wishlist, like the material for your outdoor fireplace, or choosing other aesthetic elements, like water features or garden beds. Design decisions are also being made after that initial design phase is complete. 

Maybe you’re installing an outdoor kitchen and need to decide on a countertop, or maybe you’re building a cover for your patio and need to decide on the material or color. Depending on your design, you may be making quite a few design decisions as construction progresses.

Second, design is the foundation for ensuring construction can happen efficiently and effectively to accomplish the goals of the project. Landscape construction without a design is like cooking a new meal without a recipe – it can be hard to organize and know exactly what needs to happen to ensure you get a perfect result. 

Lastly, executing based on a design can help ensure the longevity of your space, ensuring future issues are minimal. A well-planned and designed space will be less susceptible to things like flooding, fallen trees or branches, damage to your home, or erosion. 

Landscape design experts in Vancouver, Washington

Because landscape design is so important to the planning, execution, and enjoyment of any landscape project, working with the right partner is crucial.  Greenhaven Landscapes’ team of experts brings knowledge, experience, and passion to all of our projects to help give clients the backyard transformation of their dreams. Contact us to get started on your design today!