Creating a Landscape Design

Posted on 02/01/13 No Comments


Cary, NC – Want a soothing a beautiful garden, but don’t know where to start? Get a landscape design!

Basics of a Landscape Design

A landscape design helps you define the overall look and function of your property. If you figure things out in advance, you can build your landscape over time, spreading out the cost.

Professional landscapers like GreenerConcepts, do landscape plans all the time, and it’s not terribly expensive. But you can take a stab at it yourself, or just start answering some of the questions a professional landscaper might ask.

  1. How do you use your property?
  2. What areas are public (facing the street) and what’s private?
  3. How much regular maintenance do you want to do?
  4. What’s your budget?
  5. Do you have any problem areas that need repair? Bad drainage? Erosion?

Defining Areas in Your Landscape

Different areas of typical home properties have different uses. Most people in Cary like a lush front lawn.

Flowers and ornamental plants are best placed where they can be seen – in front of the house, alongside the driveway and the path to the front door, for example.

In the backyard, you might want a herb garden or a “cutting bed” (a garden for flowers to cut and bring indoors). Or, you might want shade or just a big expanse of lawn for sports.

The important thing is to think about how you want to use your landscape and create unique areas to meet your needs.

Where’s the Sun?

A super-important consideration in landscape design is determining what part of your property is sunny and what part is shady.

Flowers generally like a lot of sun. Common sun-loving flowers in Triangle gardens include petunias, marigolds, zinnias, coreopsis and coneflower.

If you like to eat some of the bounty of your garden, find a sunny spot for the vegetables. Fruiting vegetables like tomatoes and peppers need lots of sun. Basil loves sun.

Floor, Walls and Ceiling

Some landscapers like to think about a garden as if it were an outdoor room. A balanced garden design has a floor (ground cover plants like ivy and sedge), walls (mid-height plants like shrubs and tall flowers) and a ceiling (trees).

Use of Stone and Brick

Many elements of landscape design use stone and brick. These include patios, retaining walls, steps, sidewalks, edging and permanent planters.

Stone and brickwork in the garden are sometimes called hardscapes. Decide where you need stonework and brick in your landscape plan.


Another important consideration in landscape design is succession – the march of plants in your garden across the four seasons.

Put simply, you don’t want all the joy for just a few weeks in springtime. You want four seasons of beauty and interest.

Every month has its own star performer in the garden. Evergreen shrubs like juniper and boxwood lend structure and color in winter, and the tiny flowers of Crocuses brighten up the garden in January.

February is all about Daffodils, best planted in flowing masses.

By March, your garden should be in full swing, with green growth almost everywhere and colorful blossoms on fruit trees and in the flower bed.

During mid-summer, the heat-tolerant plants take over, like cannas, callas, lantana and the aforementioned coneflower et al.

Autumn is a little trickier, but shrubs like Burning Bush put on a magnificent show with bright red leaves and exotic stems. Camellias, a favorite shrub in the South, puts on a long-lasting display of blooms during the late autumn.

Paperwhites and Hellebores flower in December. So there’s always something that can be blooming in your garden.

Getting Your Own Landscape Design

There are a lot of good guides to landscape design online, including the Home Landscape Planning Worksheet: 12 steps to a functional design published by Iowa State University. There are even computer programs that let your visualize different design choices.

If you need more help, get in touch.

(919) 235-5328


Photo of the Page-Walker garden in Cary by Hal Goodtree.