1. Who will be using your yard?
Think about who will be using your yard and how they will use it. Will children be using your yard? Do you have pets? Are you hoping to use your yard for outdoor entertaining? Remember you can create different spaces for different uses in your landscape using strategic plantings and hardscapes. Walkways can be used to move people from one area to another.
Since you will be using and maintaining your yard (or hiring someone to maintain it) consider what your maintenance style and budget are. Be as realistic as you can. How much time will you truly have to put into your landscape? Or if you won't have the time will you have the money to pay someone else to put in the time? How much do you have to invest in your landscape? Determining the answer to these questions will help to ensure the success of your landscape for years to come.
2. Think about theme
When deciding on a theme for your yard, a good place to start is looking at the architecture of your home. Try to complement the lines and style of your home's architecture in your yard; after all, your yard is an extension of your home.
Themes can help guide how you place and select plants, decorations, hardscapes, and structures. Are you someone who wants lots of neat, geometric shapes and structures in your landscape? Do you want softer lines and a more natural feel to your space? Do you want a landscape to include only specific colors? Questions like these will help you choose a unified theme for your garden.
3. Know what plants work for you
Early in your planning you should determine how your plants will function in your landscape. Plants can be used in a number of ways, they can provide you with fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables, beautiful scenery, lovely aromas, and much more.
Plants can be used as barriers to define areas within your landscape as well as identify where your landscape ends. You can use plants to create physical barriers in your landscape by blocking both views and access to an area. If you want to keep your views open, but maintain some barriers, low growing plants can be used to create implied barriers, blocking access but not the view.
Correctly placed plants can also be used to alter your landscape site conditions. Temperature, light levels, and wind are greatly affected by the trees and plants in a landscape. The noises in your landscape can be affected by what you put into the design, such as water features or bird houses, as well as any physical barriers that keep your garden insulated from noises beyond your landscape.
4. Highlight important points
Using unique plants, distinct structures, or garden ornaments allows you to highlight a particular area of your landscape. Contrasting shapes, textures, sizes, and colors will help to capture attention and direct it to a specific area.
5. Reach out to a professional
Reaching out to a landscape company who specializes in custom landscape designing, even having their own designing and planning software to better suit your needs. Look at their past work and if it aligns with what you are looking for. A good landscaper will offer different options and suggestions that will better suit you and your landscape.