Writers: Nima Ahmadi, M. Arch 


Whether you are interested in completely redesigning your landscape or simply making a few changes, there are some important factors to consider before you start planting.

While many people head straight to their local gardening supply store to browse the selections, creating a plan beforehand will help you select plants that will best fit your needs and will thrive in your landscape.

It’s easy to go out and be tempted into buying plants that look beautiful at the garden store, only to get them home and realize they are wrong for your landscape. The following tips will help you take more strategic steps in order to develop a resort style backyard that has a creative, beautiful, cohesive, and thriving ambiance.

Step 1 : Get to know your Site

It is very critical to investigate the site condition and realize what’s the best design for your yard. The topography of your site is important to consider before you plan your backyard project.


Understanding the soil condition and water management of the site is one of the most important and crucial steps that any designer will take at the beginning of a landscaping project. Keep in mind that the specific conditions of your backyard are likely to create a microclimate based on the amount and length of sun and shade exposure the area receives. Microclimates are usually broken into one of four categories: full sun, partial shade, shade, or deep shade; pay specific attention to these details because this will determine the location of your pool, outdoor seating area, natural plants, BBQ area and so on.


Step 2 : Bring on Creative Design

A design can unify your landscape and help guide your material selections and plants. Themes can be as simple as using consistent shapes or forms throughout your project or as complex as creating a relaxation garden or an Oriental garden.

When deciding on a design for your backyard project, a good place to start is looking at the architecture of your home. Try to compliment the lines and style of your home’s architecture in your yard; after all, your yard is an extension of your home. I usually start with customized mood boards that can help to select the hardscapes, pool layout, outdoor kitchen design, outdoor cabana structures, plants, furniture and decorations.

A good design strategy always starts with asking the right questions such as Are you someone who wants lots of neat, geometric shapes and structures in your landscape? or Do you want softer lines and a more natural feel to your space? or Do you want a landscape to include only specific colors? Questions like these will help you choose a unified theme for your garden.


In order to get the most out of your yard, think of it as another room, or rooms, in your home. Just as a home has well defined and carefully planned rooms, so should your landscape; using your materials wisely allows you to create different “rooms” in your landscape. Don’t forget to think about how you’ll link your spaces. How will people move from one area of your yard to another? Create openings to encourage exploration in your yard and keep people moving throughout the landscape. So always you can create different spaces for different uses in your landscape design by asking the right questions and implementing the right strategy.


Step 3: Detail Matters

Many landscaping concepts appeal to us at first, however, design and construction limitations often surface only after studying the concept in more detail. Ideas that seems terrific may prove to be technically or financially unfeasible. As in the case with other creative endeavours, a good design is typically 30% inspiration and 70% preparation and development.

After selecting the most appealing design for your backyard it’s time to pay attention to details and study the key design that can make your space unique to yourself. At this stage having the right information, preparing the correct construction drawing and specification is really important. This level of detail will help the client to obtain correct price and avoid any surprises along the way.

Step 4: Landscaping budget

Having an accurate landscaping construction budget and clear financial road map is the key to a successful landscape project. As a common practice you should always run series of cost estimates for your client to make sure that the proposed design is meeting the clients budget and you can deliver their wish list without any financial surprises along the way.


Be as realistic as you can and explain the entire cost cycle from design to implementation, delivery, and ultimately the maintenance cost to your client. Lately Clients are able to get all kinds of information from online resources but as an effective designer you need to arm yourself with full financial information in order to help your client to get informed and accurate decisions at the earliest possible stage.


Step 4: Quality Matters

Quality can be defined in many ways, such as excellence of services rendered or good value provided for the price paid. It is also important to realize that the definition of quality is somewhat unique to your service and is intricately related to the success of your project.


It is crucial to define the things that show quality in your job. You will need to spend some time defining who you are and who you are not, recognizing that you cannot be everything to everyone and still do everything well. Typical items to consider include superior design and installation, well-defined scope of work, use of trained team members specialized in hard or soft landscaping. Even more important is to ask your customer to help you define quality. Landscape firms tend to think in terms of product rendered, but the client is probably also concerned about the quality of your workers.


Lastly, after developing a QC policy, make sure that it is visible to your current and potential customers by posting it on your website and/or social media page. Also post it in a prominent place in your business and refer to it when training or tasking employees.


So any successful landscaping project begins with site meetings and discussing your creative vision then entering a detailed process for design development and cost estimation, and ultimately having a system in place to monitor the quality and the deliverables of the project.