How to Strike the Right Balance of Form and Function in Your Landscape Design

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How to Strike the Right Balance of Form and Function in Your Landscape Design

Landscape renovation done right can add value to your property and provide an environment that can be enjoyed by family and guests. A poorly designed landscape will consume endless quantities of your money and ensure maintenance and upkeep headaches are part of your weekends for years to come. One of the key components of any landscape renovation project is a well thought out (and documented) plan that adheres to the fundamental premise that form needs to follow function. Let’s take a look at how best to accomplish this task:

Follow a Formal Landscape Design Process This is an activity you can either do by yourself or with the help of experienced landscaping companies. If you live in Aurora, Newmarket, Caledon or King City, the professionals at M&S Architectural Ltd. will be glad to assist or consult in the process. Here are the four basic steps of a well-balanced landscape design process:

  • Do a Site Inventory – This means taking an in depth look at the vegetation that is currently there as well as understanding drainage issues and soil limitations. The reason this step is so important is to help with the selection of new plants and shrubs as well as defining where activities will take place. Cooking, eating, and recreation areas need to be planned around permanent objects.
  • Figure Out What You Actually NeedLandscape renovation means different things to people. Pool landscape design considerations are a moot point if you don’t want or already own a pool, but the need to focus on an outdoor kitchen design is very important for someone who loves to barbecue and host parties. These steps will help you define the size and scope of the project and will make it easier for your contractor to offer advice and guidance.
  • Allocate Space – The next step is to actually draw out a plan that shows where the different activity spaces will be located. From this drawing you and/or your landscape design contractor can create concept plans. These plans are primarily of value as communication tools between you and your contractor.
  • Final Plan – The last step combines all of the above into a detailed drawing that quantifies the size and shape of all the main features as well as the location of each area. It should also result in a list of items and materials that will become part of the finished product. Be sure to take time into consideration as plants are dynamic and tend to grow and spread out as they age.

These steps and recommendations may seem a bit stilted but attention to detail and good communication between you and your contractor regarding those details will determine your level of satisfaction with the finished product. Don’t assume that your ideas or requirements are the same as what your landscape design provider is thinking. If there is any doubt about a feature or concept, use paper and pencil to spell it out. You will find the extra effort will be well rewarded.

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