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.

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!

The COVID-19 stay-at-home order has disrupted lives across our region and the world, but you can still enjoy family time and outdoor recreation with a well designed and appointed outdoor living space.

As we head into the warmer months, your yard becomes its own outdoor living area -- an extension of your home’s interior that, with intuitive design and comfortable, functional furniture and supplies, is transformed into an oasis that provides you and your family relaxation, recreation, and time with each other.

Create your outdoor living oasis

Here are relatively inexpensive ideas to easily upgrade your property from “just a yard” to an outdoor oasis:

" Nature is a popular interior decorating theme, and the term "bringing the outside in" is often used to describe using natural features like plants and rocks inside—but what about "bringing the inside out"? "


hgtv outdoor living spaces

Connect with Nature

Invite birds (or squirrels, if that’s your thing) with strategically placed and well-stocked feeders. Provide bird baths, which are both functional and decorative. Watching birds and other wildlife is endlessly entertaining, and a fun family pastime.

Consider adding or installing a water feature, which adds beauty and soothing sound.

" For centuries man has been obsessed with birds and flight. These bird-watching activities for kids will help to increase knowledge about birds and their daily activities. And, more importantly, they're just plain fun to do! "


Pacific Northwest Water Features

Connect with Each Other

Being at home doesn’t mean being stuck! There are outdoor activities galore that can be enjoyed by the whole family -- from barbecuing to playing sports to gathering around a nighttime fire (check the burn bans in your area).

Just like your main housing structure, your outdoor property is an investment, and, depending on lot size, increases your outdoor living space exponentially. Make the most of that investment with a few simple steps, upgrades, and additions that will create a warm and welcoming retreat with endless potential.

" Exterior upgrades enhance the look of your property and can offer recreational benefits. Not every renovation, however, produces a return on investment, and some upgrades (like swimming pools) make your home less attractive to potential buyers. "


Outdoor Living Space With Family


Get Started On Your Dream Backyard!

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