Garden Design - Landscape Blueprints

Why do we need blueprints for landscape design?

A landscape blueprint (detailed plan of a garden or landscape’s finished design) can be an important communication and planning tool. Depending on the complexity of the job, a landscape blueprint may not be required. Some residential landscape designs are simple enough that a formal “blueprint” is not necessary; however, if an owner prefers to have one created, we are always willing to oblige. For more complicated jobs, which includes several details and landscape design features that require extensive communication, a blueprint is extremely beneficial.

Before the landscape blueprint is created, we first need to hear what features the homeowner wants in their garden design. It is often challenging to describe exactly what something should looks like when complete, especially if there are specific details. A landscape blueprint removes the unknowns and creates a visual that helps both homeowner and landscaper.

A visual of the final product is created and logistics are communicated in writing before installation begins.

One reason a homeowner who hires us to install a simplegarden design may want to avoid having a blueprint is because these plans require additional time and expense. If budget is your primary concern, I recommend you first consider how importantthe specific garden design is to you. Each homeowner is different – some want the end result to be very close to their expectations, some are content to let us create and make our own decisions. If you are looking to save money and go without a landscape blue-print, here are few ideas that may work for you:

  • Create a list of detailed instructions with clear details and measurements. This is a good way to communicate the details of a landscape project that is large but not too complicated.
  • If there is a lot of detail and the "where" is not easily described in text, create your own landscape blue-print by making a map of your yard and draw in the landscape design details you want installed. It is often a helpful to print a copy of your property lot (this is usually easily accessible on your county website.) It is important to ensure that everyone is in agreement with what the final landscape design should look like.
  • If drawing is not your forte, another method of communication homeowners may consider is to collect pictures and photos of landscape features and areas of landscape designs that interest them. Then piece together, like a puzzle, and tape to a poster board with a sketch or photo of your own home in the center. This visual can be very helpful when describing where a walkway or fountain or pergola should be positioned in the garden. Collecting photos of preferred plants and placing them in the desired location is also helpful.

Some form of communication is almost always necessary. When a landscape blueprint is not required, we often create a sketch as an alternative. We may even draw several sketches in order to show what the landscape might look like from a particular vantage point.

In addition to blue-prints and sketches, there are other types of drawings that may be necessary or desired. It is possible to get an "onion skin" overlay that will show what the plant growth would be in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years -- lighting/shade (natural or artificial), water flow, existing features that need to be incorporated, easements, soil quality, terrain, and traffic use. These additional overlays are often not part of the base blueprint as the base has to communicate what work needs to be done and what the eventual result will be. When too much information is displayed on one blueprint, the information is difficult to read.

Landscape blueprint differ from architectural mechanical blueprints because the features in a landscape design are not precisely measureable. It is not always possible to measure something on the blueprint and then find the exact result in the final production. It is just a bit too hard to find a rock that is exactly the same shape and size as one that can be drawn. And try finding a living plant that will be the same as a specified blueprinted plant. Hardscapes and landscape elements, on the other hand, that are constructed from wood, metal, glass, ceramics or rock can be specified to the fraction of an inch. The sole purpose for putting plants and rough elements on a blueprint is to communicate the approximate size, quantity, and position of these landscape items.

The positioning of plants is especially difficult to communicate, even with the help of a blueprint. Occasionally you will see a plant specified on a blue print with particular size. Once the landscaping begins, that size of plant may not be available within a set budget or a smaller plant is selected and may need to grow into place. Landscape plans can also be drawn to show how a plant will grow. Sometimes "temporary" plants need to be added to a landscape with a note to remove them at a later date.

The bones of a landscape design must be communicated and a blueprint (with possible overlays) is an effective tool to use. Although blueprints are not the only option available, landscape master plans must show planting boundaries, hardscapes, built-in furniture and structures, artificial lighting, any built-in irrigation systems, water features, drainage, and elevations.

Category: Landscape Design

Environmental Construction, Inc.

It's not simply about designing and building beautiful garden spaces, it's about providing a landscape oasis where you can relax from the daily grind and recharge. Let us create an outdoor space that will enhance your home and quality of life.

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