How to Plan Your Landscaping for the Long-Term

Your yard is an expansion of your home. Just as a successful home renovation requires careful planning and expert implementation, a landscaping project is always better when it’s properly designed and built.

Before embarking on a landscaping project, here are some of the things you should consider:

Who will be using the space?

For instance, is it for adults, young children, older children or retirees?

How will you use the space?

Consider all the different ways you want to enjoy your outdoor space. Some of those might include entertaining, family time, a play area for the kids, growing food, flower gardening etc.

What elements are important to you?

Think about all the elements you enjoy seeing in other yards, such as patios or decks, fire pits, ponds or other water features, arbours, play structures and so on. Do some research to determine what is most important to you.

What is your style?

When you think of the perfect landscape, do you think of tidy minimalism or beds overflowing with flowers? Do you prefer the look of wood or stone? Do you like lots of colour or something more monochromatic? Do you favour straight lines or curves? Take a look at other yards and try to identify what you like, or don’t like, about them. As designers, these questions are our starting point for working out the type of landscape that will suit your lifestyle and taste.

What about budget?

Once you’ve decided what you want in your landscape, it’s time to set a budget and decide your priorities. This is a critical part of the process as it informs the design parameters.

A definite budget is a helpful starting point, but sometimes that changes when you realize the value that something has for you. If your dream deck will cost more than you expected, you might decide it’s worth the extra money it because it means so much to you. Conversely, you might have a vision for your fire pit, but when you see that the style you’ve chosen will cost $20,000 you might decide that it’s only worth $10,000 to you.

These details give us, as your designers, a starting point for working out what will give you the most joy in your finished landscape.

Another helpful exercise is to put a value to your goals. Let’s say you’ve decided that you want to use the space for entertaining, family and relaxation, and your budget is $50,000. How much are you prepared to spend on entertaining, how much on family and how much on relaxation? Knowing this gives your landscape designer another way to define your priorities and a further tool in finding the best ways to give you the perfect yard within your budget.

Sometimes, sharing your budget can feel awkward, but not having an honest conversation about budget typically has increased design costs attached due to a lack of parameters for the designer who has the challenge of designing based on your dreams with no financial limitations as a guide. Although most homeowners don’t know what landscape improvements typically cost, your professional consultant does. We encourage an open conversation about budget at the beginning of the process to ensure everyone is aligned.

Take your time

If you haven’t got $100,000 to put straight into a landscape makeover, that doesn’t have to be the end of your dreams. Many people take several years to complete their landscape, enjoying the finished components as they go and looking forward to next year’s pieces. There are two ways this can go:

When a project is done piecemeal, it can be tempting to simply plan the first element, and worry about the others for later. A patio goes in this year, and you plan to add a hot tub, or perhaps a fire pit later. It’s easy to end up with a bunch of elements that look pieced together and ill-fitting, with some definite after-thoughts thrown in.

The second way is to draft a masterplan that allocates the right amount of space for everything, takes into account flow and aesthetics and completely captures your ultimate dream space. In this scenario, completely push money to the back burner (in the short term of the planning process). This creates the opportunity to set up a phased installation over a period of time, with a budget over a longer duration (i.e. every two years) as you work away at the master plan. Even if you only get to the patio this year, you know that as elements are added they will feel like part of the whole. This patient approach also gives you the chance to change your mind or evolve your plans as you live with smaller parts of the overall project. Just make sure that any changes are properly integrated into your plan!

Everyone’s perfect landscape is unique, and we hope you have as much fun planning yours as we have helping our clients achieve their dreams. Contact us now to learn more.


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Ready to begin your project? Contact us now to get started.

Let's Go!

Ready to begin your project? Contact us now to get started.

OnGrowing Works Ltd.

Head Office
125 River Avenue
Cochrane, AB T4C 2C2

Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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Canmore, AB T1W 3E9

Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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: (403) 932 3766

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