A landscape plan may include plants, hedges, mulches, flower and ground-cover beds, and shrub or flower borders, which, together, comprise the softscapes. Planning softscapes requires knowledge of plant material and soil quality, plus a good sense of design.
Hardscapes, the other important part of landscape design, include patios, walkways, stairways, decks, walls, fences, pools, driveways, built-in planters, and parking areas. Major changes in hardscape are feats of engineering, requiring precise measurements and knowledge of foundation footings and soil settlement ratios, so it is wise to have the work designed and supervised by a professional landscape architect (unless you have outstanding skill and experience). Gardeners can manage smaller hardscape projects, such as making paths and edging beds, without too much difficulty.
Both softscape and hardscape projects should be planned out on paper before you order gravel and cement and start digging. On the next page, learn about creating your own garden plan.