Landscape Architecture Site Analysis: How To Perfect Your Landscape Design

Landscape Architecture Site Analysis: How To Perfect Your Landscape Design

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Landscape architecture site analysis offers a detail-orientated way to start any landscape renovation project. The process takes some time but proves a valuable tool in determining elements and conditions that will challenge and facilitate the right design for your landscaping. 

Using the right guidelines to inspire design results in landscaping that improves the local environment, as well as the longevity, durability and value of your property. New features can be built up around your particular needs, while currently available features can be removed or stay the same-based on overall usefulness. Here are 5 important steps involved in creating a thorough landscape architecture site analysis.

1. Create A Layout Of What You Have & What You Ultimately Want

In order to create a landscape site analysis, you must first identify all of the site elements within your current landscaping by size, material and overall condition. Next, dig up some historical gold and find out what the land was used for in the past. Zoom back to the future to decide what the property needs to accomplish today. Who will use it and what activities or functions will be incorporated into the final design?

2. Locate All Important Landscape Features & Elements

Walk the land with a scale-drawn property survey so that you can get a good idea what elements will go where, such as walkways, seating areas, company billboard, and so forth. Don’t forget to make note of where all of the natural features will go as well, such as trees, shrubs, ponds and so forth.

As you do this, you should also take note of the plants and trees currently on the property. Document all trees that measure over 4” DBH, indicating their type, visual characteristics and defining value. Make note of foliage condition in order to help you decide what needs to be weeded out and what can stay.

3. Locate The Who’s Who Of The Land

Your property, be it big or small, is home to a variety of environments and eco-systems. During your walk through, make a point to jot down the different conditions of your land. Where is the soil moist and shaded from the sun for the majority of the day? Which direction does the sun move in? For instance, a home with southern exposure benefits from deciduous shade trees planted on the southwest corner. As a result of doing so, you reduce the amount of heat and glare casted into your home or office during the summer.

What is the existing topography? What is the soil type like at different parts of the land? Knowing all of this allows you to pick the right foliage and accent designs based upon where they will flourish best. It also allows you to design a more eco-friendly landscape that saves you money every month. For instance, knowing where to plant shade trees will reduce your cooling costs because your building will naturally stay cooler during the hottest months of the year.

4. Identify What Kind Of Soil You Are Working With

Without good fertile soil it’s going to be rather difficult to get anything to grow. Not all soil is created equally; different soils contain different grain size and distribution. Soil also has unique organic content. Soil condition will influence if you can build on it or not. Solid rock and boulders are ideal for supporting any type of construction. On the other hand, you don’t want to build atop fine sand, clay, silt or peat.

In terms of growing things, you want soil to have a nice balance of particles so that water can readily penetrate through soil layers and reach plant roots. Coarse soils tend to absorb water better than fine-grained clay soils, but they are also known to quickly dry up before plants can take in nutrients from the water. By adding organic matter to the soil, you help reduce this issue and improve plant success.

It’s also important to obtain soil pH levels, or the soil’s alkalinity. A rating of a 7 is considered normal. A rating of 5.5 or less is considered very acidic; this prevents plants from obtaining phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, while getting a surplus of iron, boron or manganese. Only some plants can thrive in this type of environment, such as azalea and rhododendron. Different plants prefer unique pH levels, by testing the soil you can pick the best match or modify the soil so that it goes well with the plant you intend to grow there.

If the soil is very poor you can always use planters to add greenery to any space. Shop our complete selection of long-lasting, eco-friendly planters:

5. Put Together All Of The Data

Now that you have a solid overview of your property, it’s time to go back through the data and analyze your findings. What do you want to keep? What do you want to remove? What needs to be altered or included to make the landscape work for you?

Once you know exactly what you need and want, you can go to an architect or landscape designer with the perfect plan of action. Knowing what you want from the get-go helps save a lot of time and money. It also ensures a more accurate estimate for total landscaping costs.

Use Your Site Analysis To Keep Up With Changes & Remain Relevant

Our world is rapidly changing, and not just in terms of technology, we are talking about the natural world here. Super storms continue to grow in power, we are seeing longer drought periods than ever before alongside higher rainfall in other parts of the nation. All of these changes present a growing list of challenges for plants and our environment at large.

You can help reduce pressures on our planet and ensure the long-term survival of your landscaping by planning smart, eco-friendly landscapes that thrive in a variety of conditions. We’d love to join in your commitment to doing right by the planet. Our eco-friendly, long-lasting planters and site furnishings outlast the competition in every way possible. As a result, we are able to save you money and hassles, while decreasing overproduction and waste that harms our planet.