Garden design, planning and landscaping

Gardens, yards and landscaping serve a number of different functions. They not only add to the attractiveness of the exterior of your home, but they can also provide an outdoor escape, an organic food source or support an outdoor hobby. How you design the exterior portion of your property depends upon the space available and what activities you intend to engage in while you’re outside. Here are several considerations to take into account as you plan your gardens, yards and landscaping.


The first purpose of the exterior portion of your house is to get water away from your house. With landscape designs, this is also the first thing that you should think of before laying out your yards and gardens. Avoid creating areas where standing water can seep into the foundation of your home, especially if you add a basement. Your builder should properly grade your property for drainage, so when you design your landscaping, you need to integrate it into that grading scheme and avoid creating high cost maintenance problems for yourself in the future. The rule of thumb is to plan how to get water off before planning how to put water on.


Since you’ve already planned for drainage, you’re good to go when it comes to watering. Economically speaking, timed watering systems are the way to go. Whether it is a sprinkler system for the lawn, a drip system or seep system for your gardens and flower beds, you’ll want to be able to set a watering schedule that coincides with the time of day, which is usually late at night or in the early morning hours. Watering during the hours of the day with the least amount of evaporation is both economical and ecological. Remove the hassle of having to schedule yourself and put in a system that can be programmed to do it for you.


Considering how you are going to use the space is of great importance for designing your landscaping. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself before you begin your design:

  • How much play space do I need?
  • What type of equipment do I need in that play space?
  • Do I plan to barbeque often?
  • Do I want or need a pool or hot tub?
  • Is gardening a hobby or necessity for me and my family?
  • What security do I need to provide for?
  • Am I going to add any other structures?

Whether these items are going to be installed along with the construction of your home or if they are going to be added at a later time, make certain that you plan ahead to avoid having to relocate underground plumbing and electrical lines when it comes time for installation. Just as you did with your floor plan design, prioritize these features and make certain that space is provided for them before working other features around them.


Exterior structures are an important part of gardening and landscaping. Structures like decks, patios and gazebos become outdoor living spaces that are made use of often and add to the aesthetic appeal of your home as well. Equally important to outdoor living are lawn and garden storage sheds, play houses, play sets, pools and saunas. Some of these elements need special consideration for power and/or plumbing as well as being sure that they are safe to use. Planning for these elements is an essential part of your home’s exterior design.

Building Codes

Local building codes have setback lines for permanent structures. It is an essential part of planning and design to take those dimensions into account as you layout the exterior design of your home. Knowing where your property lines and set back lines are will help you avoid problems later on.

In addition to property setbacks, many local building codes also have guidelines for a certain percentage of the total area of the property to be landscaped. Landscaping can include grass, trees, shrubberies and other elements. Providing the required landscaping in particular exterior areas is an essential part of designing your yards and gardens.

You might need to consult a professional in order to make certain that your exterior design meets the local code requirements as you plan your landscaping design. Having to move or add additional elements at a later time is often costly.


The aesthetic appeal of the exterior of your home is greatly enhanced by landscaping, but that space is also an important part of living in your home as well. Design your outdoor space with as much care as you do your indoor space, even if you can’t afford it initially, make sure that you have provided for those essential elements at a later date.