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How do landscapers analyze sites?

Finding a Landscape's Functional Areas


­A landscaper should take into account the ways you currently use your property and the ways the land's natural layout lends itself to use. Light, shade, elevation, rainfall, soil composition and wind expos­ure can all mean that one corner of the land is better suited to a certain purpose than is another corner.

Manmade features also affect the way you use the landscape. For example, you probably can't change the location of your back door, or where your driveway opens onto the street. So the landscaper should think about smart ways to create functional areas in relation to those unchangeable factors. It wouldn't make sense to put a play area for small children right next to the street or the driveway.

The landscape analysis should also address how you want to use the property. For example, depending on your budget, goals and acreage, you might want to add:

  • A patio or deck, maybe with an outdoor cooking, grilling or entertaining area
  • A swimming pool and/or hot tub with a seating area
  • A tea area such as a gazebo
  • An area or enclosure for pets
  • A play set for kids
  • A putting green or other sports area
  • A kitchen, meditation or cutting garden
  • An orchard
  • A grape arbor
  • A pond or other water formation­
  • A potting table or shed
  • Storage for gardening tools
  • Parking
  • A windbreak
  • A privacy hedge or screen
  • A woodpile
  • A compost heap
  • A lawn

This means your landscaper should ask a lot of questions about your lifestyle. How much time do you want to spend on lawn maintenance? Do you anticipate a lot of pool parties? How close is the neighbors' house, and do you like to leave your blinds up? Do you expect to be in this house long enough that not just the children but also the grandchildren will use the swing set?

As you analyze your own environment, you might also be thinking about the planet's environment. Read on to find out how your garden can help the world.