The First Step to Creating a Landscape Design
What’s the first step to develop ideas for a landscape design? Before working with a professional or going it on your own, building a landscape portfolio of ideas will help the designer visualize the look and elements that can ultimately be created. This 'idea booklet' should contain a collection of design ideas with written notes, photos, and possibly sketches.
The garden booklet does not have to be fancy but should contain favorite photos and stories from magazines and books, pictures or links to internet media, and pictures you have personally taken of landscapes that show the type of outdoor environment you want to emulate. Try to include photos and pictures from your local area, and local architectural styles along with plantscapes that thrive in your community. Regional newspapers and magazines, local garden tours and shows, and simply driving local neighborhoods are especially good sources for inspiration. Add to this the wealth of photos and information available on the internet: personal websites like mine have dozens of photos of landscape photos locales in which the designer resides (my photos are all from San Diego and its surroundings). Mix in design sites like Houzz and Pinterest and the possibilities are endless.
It may take months of casual research, but this scrapbook of landscape ideas will show others working on the project the kind of landscapes that impress you, the types of styles and features to be included, and the quality of work expected. A professional with creativity and training should welcome this extra work you have undertaken and then take those visual ideas, introduce new concepts, and make a plan that meets or even surpasses expectations. If you as the homeowner decide to become the designer, the portfolio will serve as a reminder of the intent of the concept and act as a handy resource whenever choosing materials from suppliers and when conveying ideas to the contractor. Cutting and clipping should take weeks or months, then go through your collection and select the 10 or 12 photos that convey your ideas the best. Too many photos can be confusing – so only keep the very best examples of the look you want to achieve. Add lists of materials, including plants to be included, if you have favorites already decided, and your landscape designer has clear insight into your perfect outdoor space.