The most important factor for the planning of any backyard landscape is the homeowner’s vision for the space. Other important natural factors include the climate, topography, existing vegetation, views, soils and wind. We always like to work with the existing site conditions to enhance them and build upon them; rather than change a site’s eco-system completely. For instance; if a homeowner has a very undulating backyard we’d suggest creating terraces or different patio levels; as opposed to making a completely flat surface. Another important element to focus upon is the end user.

Knowing how many people will be using the site, their ages, as well as if they need any specific accommodations will help to dictate the size of the outdoor room as well as the design when it comes to the function-ability aspect of it. We also consider areas of use that the client would like to have and how to connect them; such as a barbecue area, play area, entertainment area, garden areas; etc. The client’s taste and style are also important. Once we figure out what the function and size of the space will be we have to design it. This is where we turn to our clients for some direction. We have to know their style whether they like formal or informal spaces; if they like straight or curvy lines or if they would like a specific “theme” for their space. Finally; but maybe most importantly a budget as well as a maintenance plan have to be established. Once established it will help the designer to choose the materials and elements for the backyard.