Preparation: It makes good sense to do a little preparation in order to get the most out of your complimentary design meeting. We suggest sitting down and organizing your thoughts. Consider these helpful hints that have worked for many of our clients.

  • Make a folder: Spend a little time flipping through our portfolio of finished work, magazines, and even books. Tag pictures you like that elicit the look and feel you want. A picture conveys 1000 words. Now make a note about what it is you like about each picture.
  • Make a list: Make a list of the components you would like to have. Try making a list together and then make one independent of your significant others. Now prioritize the list from most important to least important. Don’t worry about design style or the details. Compare notes after you’ve finished. You may surprise each other.
  • Remember, designing is a process and a series of problems solved one by one. It can be paralyzing to look at the whole picture. It’s much easier to assemble the components and take the design on item by item, area by area.


Site Analysis: Each site or location offers both subtle and obvious nuances that will affect the design. Considerable issues in the future function of the landscape are good cause for careful site analysis. Give consideration to the following:

  • Screening objectionable views. Create privacy and block from excessive wind.
  • Screening objectionable background noise with water, music or ?
  • Borrow: What features do you see in the background that are not part of your property but could become “borrowed landscape”.Perhaps these items are:
    – Background scenery, views: Try framing the view with plants, columns or posts, etc. to create a picture within a landscape. Borrow dramatic trees or palms from adjacent properties. Design plans that embrace and expose the background as desired.
  • Extract the Most from your Site:
    – Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your site: Utilize its strengths and play down the weaknesses in your design. Make your property work for you.
    – Comfort: Create shelter from excessive heat and wind which can ruin any gathering. Make your design comfortable to spend considerable time within.
  • Identify the cardinal directions and use them to your benefit.
    – Northern exposures offer better shade potential.
    – East facing provides early morning warmth.
    – South facing, the warmest facing direction year round.
    – West facing must contend with heat and glare all afternoon.


Assemblage of Components: Without concern for style or theme of design, bubble or simply circle the area within the plan where you feel the components work best. Give careful consideration to why each location works best for each component. Try arranging components in a triangulated relationship to each other so they will carry a flow.

ϖ Corridors and Angle of View: Remember a landscape is not a static one dimensional painting. It has three dimensions. One can remain static or in motion throughout a landscape changing the angle of view as one moves throughout the garden. Consider how components look and relate to the floor plan of the house and how views are affected out each window from the inside looking out as well as the outside looking in.

Traffic Flow: Create easy flow between areas. Envision the use of your desired components and how they relate to each other. Assemble the bubbles in close proximity or triangulated to each other. Compartmentalize components as desired for certain considerations. Create an easy flow through the garden. Draw arrows between bubbles and create a desired flow pattern for foot traffic throughout the garden, in and out doors, out and around anticipated outdoor furniture, etc.

Select a Theme or Style: Remember you have still not designed anything! You have simply organized your thoughts. You have prioritized and analyzed your site, your needs and wants. You are getting close to beginning a design. Now simply select a theme or style, such as:

  • Mission
  • Craftsman
  • Early California
  • Tuscan
  • Mediterranean
  • Japanese Garden
  • French Country

Often the architecture of the home will do this for you. A home and garden that appear as one harmonious design of theme, style, and color have the broadest sense of appeal.

Select and Limit the Materials: Select some materials for patios, pathways, veneers and caps for walls, etc. Don’t worry about planting, lighting or anything else. Your budget constraints will most likely affect your selection of materials. Consider durability of products and look for timeless, less trendy materials that won’t date your look.

  • A weak design often relies on expensive materials. A creative, well thought out design may utilize interchangeable materials.
  • Limit the selection to a few types of materials and unify them by composing them with complimentary shapes and tones. Create drama and effect with shocking contrasts.
  • Create order and harmony by repeating shapes, elements and materials throughout the design.


Beginning the Design Process: If you’ve completed all of the above steps, you are ready to meet with a member of our design team. Your preparation is invaluable to us in order that we understand the particular nuances and considerations relative to yourselves and your site. All of this information is critical in our endeavor to perform at our highest capacity for you. Thank you!

Complete the Landscape Designer’s Questionnaire: To give us additional
information relative to your project. Please visit our contact page and fill out our Landscape Designer’s Questionnaire.