Landscape design plans

Planning your landscaping

If you are considering organizing your outdoor space, at J&S Landscape in Boulder, we have prepared some garden design considerations for you. Whether you want to renovate the landscape or just make some small additions, there are some important things that can help you get the outdoor space you want.

Know Your Environment

Before you head to your local garden center for plants, you should consider several important items and make a plan. One of the most important considerations is soil. Your soil determines a great deal about what plants will work in your landscape design. If your soil is sandy, your plant choices may be dramatically different from your neighbor who has silt soil in his backyard.

Additionally, you should consider climate, your landscape’s topography, as well as your yard’s microclimate. The microclimate of your yard can fall into four general categories: full sun, partial sun, shade, or deep shade. Topography, on the other hand, takes into consideration how water moves along your landscape as well as how it drains and where the water tends to pool.

Think about Function

If your yard is going to be used mostly by your children, your landscape design will be very different than if the space is used mostly for entertaining guests. This type of consideration may dictate how walkways may or may not be used to move people from one area to another, or how you divide your space – bigger deck for entertaining versus more green space for the kids.

Consider Your Budget

While your landscape design ideas certainly need to take your budget for the initial project into consideration, you should also determine the cost of upkeep and maintenance. If you plan to take care of the upkeep yourself, think about how much of your time would be required and how valuable that time is to you. If you plan to hire professionals for maintenance, what cost fits comfortably in your budget? Your best bet is to bring in a company such as J&S Landscaping to help you design a landscape with maintenance needs suitable for your long-term budget.

Use a Theme

For landscape design ideas and considerations, choosing a theme can be a very good way to guide your selections for materials and plants. For example, if you think you want your landscape space to be used for quiet contemplation, you may consider a relaxation garden, such as a Zen Garden. This type of theme would determine everything from shapes and colors used, to what style of water feature to install. Themes are useful for creating a cohesive landscape.

Create Spaces and Join Them

Sometimes when you are designing a landscape, it is useful to think of your yard as though it is a house with rooms. Much like the rooms in your house are connected, you can create “rooms” or spaces in your yard and link your spaces by using “hallways” or an open plan so that people will move from one outdoor room to another. Thinking about ways to invite people to use and enjoy your outdoor spaces will help you make choices about how to design it.

Use Your Plants Wisely

When it comes to landscape design considerations, it’s important to determine how plants will be featured and function in your landscaping. Do you want flowers or fruits? Scenery or aromas? Maybe you want a combination of a few or all of these. Think about the function of your potential plants. Will you use them as barriers? Maybe you prefer native landscapes that reflect the beauty of Colorado. If you have water features, you may want plants to highlight or spotlight such features. A landscaping professional, such as the ones we have at J&S Landscape, can help you with such considerations.

Highlight Special Areas

If you have a particular area of your landscape that you want to highlight, such as a cozy outdoor seating area with a fireplace or a bubbling spa, you may want to choose unique plants, either in color or shape, to help draw people to that spot. Contrasting plants in shape and texture can help highlight special areas of your landscape.

Plant Using Planes


In addition to highlighting special areas and choosing specific plants to use, your landscape design considerations should include the visual planes when people look out at your outdoor space—both horizontal and vertical. Remember to look up to fully envision what things will look like overhead.

Will you have archways or trees? How will your plantings help create shade? Do you even want shade? Be sure to stagger your plants so that they have space to grow and also so that they fill your landscape appropriately. It is useful to layer plants so that tall plants are behind shorter plants to ensure that nothing is obscured unless you want it to be.

Help Protect Your Resources

When it comes to landscape design considerations, it is important to also think about being eco-friendly. Choosing plants and hardscapes that are environmentally sound helps you to become a good steward of your surroundings. Being resource conscious can help steer your choices. Also, consider what of your existing landscape can be used. This can help keep native and often perennial plants in your garden. Finding plants that will not require heavy water, fertilizers, or pesticides are useful considerations to keep in mind. Such considerations can help your local pollinators (bees and other insects) and can protect your local water resources.

Remember the Future

It is always unfortunate when a tree or shrub is planted without consideration to its eventual size or shape. When you plant, think of your growing conditions. Will your plant have the type of conditions that will help it achieve its optimal size? Will its eventual size become a problem? The more thought you give to the future, the easier your long-term landscape maintenance will be.

If all these landscape design considerations seem a little overwhelming or if you would appreciate using a professional to help you better envision a landscape plan for your home in Boulder, Longmont, Fort Collins, or the surrounding areas, give us a call at J&S Landscape. We can help you design the landscape you’ve been dreaming about and bring it to life.

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