Landscape Design Plans – The Foundation of Unique Outdoor Living Space

Landscape design plans are critical to any beautiful outdoor area. These detailed diagrams contain all the information needed to construct and install the landscape of your dreams, including scaled representation of everything within your property. Your design plan will illustrate the size of your property, as well as any special terrain features, and will display existing structures, existing hardscape designs, and plants and trees that will remain in your outdoor space.

Creating Design Plans

Some homeowners use special software programs to help produce an accurate, detailed landscape design plan, while others attempt to draw the plans by hand based on a plot map. There are a number of free design plans that can aid in the process as well, but the best way to get a professional and precise plan is to hire the services of a professional designer.

There are many different elements within a complete landscape design. Specialty designs, like lighting or irrigation, are typically illustrated with a separate plan. Swimming pool design, hardscapes, and even planting layouts each have their own design plan as well. Your plan set may include just one or two types of designs or could contain several, depending on exactly what your landscape design entails.

Types of Landscape Design Plans

  • Plot plans are the foundation of every other design plan for your yard. Extremely precise, these topography charts are usually obtained from a surveyor to ensure accuracy. Plot plans map out the existing structures and land elements on your property, including:
    • Accurate property lines, adjacent roads, driveways and sidewalks, walls, and fencing.
    • Buildings, storage sheds, your house, and other elements that may interfere with your design, like a play set or heating unit.
    • Natural features, including slopes, drainage issues, and both natural and man-made water elements.
  • Concept plans are the master design plans that bring everything together into a single diagram. Also called a site plan, this design is typically in AutoCAD format, but may be drawn by hand, and is often a resource used by contractors to develop an estimate on installation.
  • Elevation plans are typically integrated into other landscape design plans to provide more detail on vertical features. Structures like gazebos, walls, and fireplaces can be seen more clearly to ensure a more accurate installation.
  • Hardscape plans are often found within the concept plan but can be illustrated in a separate design plan as well. These plans are important for precise installation measurements on sidewalks, drives, fencing, and other structural landscaping elements. The appropriate materials, colors, and related details are outlined on the plan as well.
  • Planting plans are extremely detailed instructions for the installation of the vegetation within your landscape design. Using symbols and a comprehensive legend, the exact location of each plant is noted and the types of planting materials required are clearly stated. Planting plans can include shrubbery, hedges, flower beds, trees, and any other vegetation in your outdoor area.
  • Irrigation plans are not a part of every landscape design and are often integrated into an existing outdoor design. These plans include the layout of piping and the placement of sprinkler heads, helpful illustrations, and details on the necessary parts and equipment for installation.
  • Drainage plans are necessary parts of many landscape designs to eliminate excess water after a rain. These plans are also quite detailed, containing measurements on the exact grade needed and information on the best materials.
  • Lighting plans are optional as well, but are usually seen in most high-end outdoor designs. Illustrations and diagrams detail the types of lighting fixtures, along with their placement and positioning throughout the yard. Wiring and installation instructions are outlined and special lighting techniques are also noted.

There are many different things involved in creating a beautiful outdoor plan that blends with your home while reflecting your own personality. Every design plan begins with an accurate plot plan and can include nearly any outdoor feature you can imagine. A number of contractors can provide you with professional landscape design plans as well as quality installations for a convenient way to give your outdoor space just the right look.

California Landscape Design – Mediterranean Lifestyle on the Pacific West Coast

The Father of California Landscape Designs

Today’s elaborate and stylish high-end landscape designs first appeared in affluent areas of Southern California at the beginning of the 1930’s. An educated landscape architect with experience in the popular garden styles of Europe in this era, Thomas Church, began a landscape design firm in downtown San Francisco and quickly became a household name in Southern California outdoor planning.

During his 45 year career in California landscape design, Church created more than 2,000 custom garden designs in some of the most prosperous areas and developments of Orange County, Los Angeles, and Riverside, all during the prime of modern architectural development. These functional, yet beautiful, outdoor living spaces resulted in a trend that is still growing in popularity across the nation of extending the living space of a home into the openness of nature.

The Many Faces of this Unique Design Style

The homes of Southern California are some of the most remarkable structures in the world and represent a variety of unique architectural styles. California landscape designs complement these fine homes with carefully selected plants, materials, and accessories to create a central theme that blends outdoor charm with sophisticated style for a magnificent outdoor living area.

While most of the various landscape designs seen across Southern California possess a rustic, Old World appearance, there are also classy, formal garden styles that reflect a more contemporary atmosphere. The influence of the European Mediterranean can also be seen in many California garden styles.

With so many different garden styles and influences seen in the landscape designs of of this area, there is one common thread among them all. Each and every California landscape design is carefully planned to reflect the relaxed, natural lifestyle of the warm Mediterranean coast while complementing the style of the most lavish homes.

These Mediterranean styled designs are simple, but sophisticated, functional, as well as ornate, and these outdoor living spaces are truly designed for outdoor living.

Elements of a California style garden may include:

  • Natural accessories, like unfinished furniture or terra cotta planters
  • Colorful cushions, patio ware, lighting, and flower pots, with bright, vivid colors
  • Simple materials, like bark, gravel, and stone, accent water features and create walkways

Because of the wonderful diversity throughout Southern California, the landscape designs are also unique but they are all carefully planned to make outdoor living at home convenient, relaxing, and a beautiful part of your residence. With so many different garden styles to choose from, it is often best to employ the services of an experienced California landscape design firm.

Choosing a Landscaping Design Company

Like most people, your home is probably the biggest investment you have made in your life. A great way to enhance this investment is to landscape your yard or garden. Again, if you are like most people, you may have only a small knowledge about the principles of landscaping so it may be a better idea to hire a landscaping design company rather than attempt to create a design yourself.

Whether it is your first time to landscape your garden or you are looking into changing the look of your existing garden landscape, hiring a landscaping design company is the easiest way to get the job done. Designing a garden or yard landscape can be an overwhelming task. Fortunately, there are many competent and reliable landscaping professionals that can handle the work for you and ensure you achieve the results you want.

A landscaping design company will work with you to create a landscape design tailored to your needs and preferences. However, it is also the responsibility of the designer to give you expert advice and ensure that you make the right choices from selecting plants and other materials to proper layout, lighting and other concerns.

A landscaping design company consists of landscape professionals such as designers and architects. A professional landscape designer may or may not have a landscaping degree or a license. On the other hand, a landscape architect should have both in order to practice landscaping. In the project has many “issues” such as slopes and high terrain, the services of a landscape architect may be necessary.

If you would also require landscape construction or installation services in addition to design, the landscaping design company will be able to refer to you to a landscape contractor. Alternatively, you can choose to work with a design-build company, which is a firm that employs both designers and contractors.

When choosing a landscaping design company, do not forget to request for references from past clients and ask to see their work portfolio. It would also be good if you can check the sites that they designed. Find out how long the company has been in the business, their professional affiliations and if they are insured and licensed.

It is recommended to evaluate a few companies before making a decision. Be sure to let the company know how much you are willing to spend. Your chosen landscaping design company should present to you a written service contract with detailed project specifications, costing, and schedule.