Gather Site Info

List of items needed to produce a functional and attractive landscaping plan:

1) Pictures
2) Measurements
3) Layout Drawing
4) Information Sheet

1) Pictures - I would suggest a wide angle (25mm for example) digital camera. Shooting pictures on the sides of a home for example sometimes won't allow you to back up enough to get anything but small sections of the house. Cameras can be set to a low picture quality if you're not printing them out and you're comfortable looking at them on a computer monitor. Be sure to take close up, detailed pictures as well as pictures taken farther away showing the “big picture”. As an example, lets say your project is a planting job across the front of a typical size home. Take one picture showing the whole house and extending out about ten to twenty feet beyond each corner. Then about three close-up, more detailed pictures across the front of the house. Something to consider if you're not at your own home - pictures are cheap and quick to take. Let's say you forget to get a measurement of the height or position of a window. Good picture taken can mean the difference between seeing the window in a picture and making a good guess of the measurements, or driving all the way back to the house for a couple of measurements. Click To See Sample

2) Measurements - Sketch out a quick layout of the project site, take your measurements and write them down. Click To See Sample

3) Layout Drawing - Sketch out not only what is existing, like the house or a property line or a tree for example, but also the project layout. If the work is a patio and plantings in the backyard for example, after sketching the house, property line and tree, sketch out the proposed patio. Don't worry about the exact shape but show about where you think the patio should go. If for example, additional privacy on one side of the patio is desired, show about where the screening should be. A layout drawing is quick and easy to produce but communicates volumes of information. Click To See Sample

4) Information Sheet- The following is a partial list of general information needed for most projects. Add to and customize this list relevant to each project.

A) Name
B) Budget
C) Project items (plantings, patio, pond, fire pit, outdoor lighting, etc.)
D) Type of mulch
E) Favorite colors
F) Sun or shade area
G) Privacy
H) Formal or informal plants
I)  Other pertinent information

Suggestion: Throughout the plan development process, consider first; functionality, then aesthetics.