Landscape Design Essentials for Project Success

June 23, 2020
Why You Need to Start Your Landscape Project with a Design

Landscape Design Considerations

The beloved Pacific Northwest sunshine and warmer temperatures are back...for the most part...and, that means more time outside with family and friends. Your exterior living spaces are as much a reflection of your style and needs and function as your interior living spaces. This should be accounted for with a well-thought-out landscape design that serves you and your family throughout the year -- and for years to come. Whether you’re updating your current garden and yard or starting from square one, there are aspects to consider before breaking ground. 

How Much Landscape is Available?

Postage stamp, multi-acre, and everything in-between, any outdoor space lend itself to enhanced design and function. Your first order of business is to determine the precise square footage and perimeters. This may involve careful measuring and perhaps a call to the county to check on property lines, but it’s worth the upfront effort to know precisely what, and how much, you have available.

  • Will there be room for all of the elements you envision?
  • Will the plants you want to fit the space (size, water usage)?

How Will the landscape be Used?

Your landscape design is unique to the needs and desires of you and your family. It reflects how you live. Your goal may be to create an extended living space, grow your own food, or create an award-winning species garden. Without a defined purpose and a plan to get there, you’ll likely end up with something less. The end result will not be a space you love.

Vital Landscape Design Considerations


Depending on site slope and drainage, grading may be necessary. It can affect where plants are located as well as which ones are used in the project.


Will the area you envision see much sunlight? That can affect the growth of algae on hardscape surfaces. In time, they can create slick surfaces. 

The proximity of the landscape to the house

Skillful landscape design extends beyond the design itself to consideration of safety and preservation. The proximity of your landscape to your house or dwelling matters: wind damage, falling trees and branches, pests, and water damage are legitimate concerns. 

Future care and maintenance

Are you planning to keep up with the yard work on your own or hire a professional? This can dictate the type of plants used, the number of them, or the variety. 

Upkeep for your new outdoor living space will take time. How maintenance-intensive it is an important consideration. 

Will the landscape be developed in stages? Your budget may not allow everything to be done at once. A plan is needed to ensure future updates are possible. 

What are your plans - or possible plans - for the future? You may not be able to predict future use or need for space, but careful planning can help with insights. A well-developed plan can take unseen possibilities into account. It is always easier to plan for the future than to ‘retrofit’ later.

Does my landscape design have Pacific Northwest-specific needs?

It can be tempting to source ideas on the internet and start on your own DIY project. Beyond the above considerations - many of which aren’t as easy to accomplish on your own or may not be accounted for in online guides, there are some specific needs in the Pacific Northwest

  1. Our weather. 
  2. Soil composition.
  3. Your elevation. 

All dictate what can be planted and expected to survive. Developing a thorough landscape design before you begin, especially from a professional, means no guesswork and better results.

When it comes to planting choices, the Pacific Northwest lies in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7 through 9 and American Horticulture Society (AHA) Heat Zones 1 through 6. 

It’s advisable to keep plantings native when creating your landscape. Pacific Northwest species abound, including classics such as rhododendrons, various conifers along with gardening favorites like leafy greens, berries, and orchard fruit.

How PCL's Landscape Design Service Works With You

First, we’ll complete a site visit. We meet with you to determine your goals and expectations for a final design. Then, we get to work determining feasibility. We evaluate drainage, existing restrictions, and other limitations.   

PCL then works with you throughout the design process from concept to implementation. Our team creates sketched concepts based on your needs and desires, then we get to work on a first draft, working with what is currently in place and the achievable outcome. We then provide a detailed version of the first draft for you to review.

Our commitment to you is end-to-end delivery of top quality design and expert implementation. 

Get Started Today!

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