5 Steps to Design The Yard of Your Dreams

Having a beautiful yard is not just a sign of pride; it’s also a great way to increase the curb appeal and value of your home (and perhaps, get some longing looks from your neighbours). When it comes to landscape design and building projects, it’s always a great idea to enlist a professional’s help. Using a landscape architect is the best way to make sure that you’ll have a beautifully designed yard that’s both gorgeous and functional. 

If you’re thinking of a design and build project, it’s always great to have some ideas and goals set out. Knowing what you want will help a landscape architect balance your wants with your needs to ensure you’ve got a fantastic backyard you’ll love for years to come. To help you understand your design wants and needs, and make a design consultation that much more enjoyable, we’ve put together five simple ways you can start designing the yard of your dreams before you meet with a landscape architect. 

How to start turning your design dreams into a reality

Maybe you’ve been waiting to take the first step in a backyard redesign. Perhaps the warm weather has you longing for a beautiful backyard oasis. It’s even possible that you’re ready to take the plunge and purchase a pool for your yard. Whatever your motivation for a backyard redesign, knowing where to start can often be the hardest part, but don’t worry; with a pen, some paper, and a few simple tips, you’ll quickly be able to plan your backyard design dreams. Want to know how design & build strategies work to create an amazing backyard? Check out our blog

Step 1: Draw a plan of your yard

You don’t have to be a landscape architect or professional designer to start planning your backyard makeover. A basic sketch of your existing yard, including your home & major permanent features like a patio, shed, or large trees, will help you understand what you’re working with.

Use this opportunity to define the permanent features that will remain a part of your landscape design. Perhaps moving your shed is part of your backyard redesign goals, if that’s the case, leave anything that won’t be a permanent feature of your basic design plan. 

You’ll also want to note key features like hills and slopes and sunny and shady areas of your yard. Don’t worry about being precise or having a perfectly drawn plan. The first step is just an opportunity to help you define the canvas you’ll be working with. 

Step 2: Make a list of goals

Once you’ve got a basic plan sketched out, you’ll be able to determine what is and isn’t possible in your yard. For example, a large garden might not be a great goal if you’ve got a yard full of large trees casting shade throughout the day. 

When it comes to defining your goals, don’t get caught up in the specific features you’re looking for. Rather than specifying your goals as a deck, a patio, a garden, or a water feature, try to think about the benefits or activities you want to do in your new yard. A certified landscape architect will be able to take these goals and suggest the best features to make these a reality. 

Looking for a great resource to help you define your goals? Download our free design checklist.

How does that work?

  • Instead of “deck,” think “backyard dinner parties.”
  • Instead of “large open space,” think “a place for the kids to play.”
  • Instead of “shady patio,” think “a peaceful, private place to drink my morning coffee.”

It’s best to write down your goals and set a general timeline for them. What are the immediate, medium-term, and long-term goals for your yard?

Step 3: Start bringing your goals to life

Once you’ve got a basic sketch and list of goals, it’s time to bring them together. Using your sketch, start defining where you might want to position your landscape features, starting with the largest items first. 

This is simply an opportunity to help you think through your goals and how they’ll work in your backyard. It’s good to remember that a landscape architect will be able to design these features taking in to account all the resources and requirements necessary to provide you with exactly what you’re looking for. 

Step 4: Make a style wishlist

One important thing that can’t be overlooked in your backyard design plans is the style or aesthetic you’re hoping to achieve. While it’s always fun to make a statement, you want your yard’s designed features to appear natural. 

If you’ve got a more traditional style house, it’s better to keep your designed features in that style. If you’ve got a more modern home, you can be more daring in your design choices. The same goes for plants as well. The first place to look for inspiration should be the other parts of your home and yard. 

Start a scrapbook or a Pinterest board to track the features and designs that catch your eye. When you meet with a landscape designer or landscape architect, you’ll be able to communicate what you’re hoping to achieve with more clarity. 

Step 5: Book a design consultation

Once you’ve got your plan in place and you’re ready to bring your backyard dreams to life, it’s time to book a design consultation with a certified landscape architect.

Now that you’ve defined a clear vision and goal, a landscape architect is a person best suited to help you bring your goals to life and achieve your vision. Working with a certified landscape architect means that you’ll benefit from the training and expertise that situates form and function at the heart of landscape design. For a full exploration of the benefits of working with a landscape designer, check out our blog

Having a plan will help you communicate your needs, wants, and desires and make the consultation process much more straightforward. Working together, you’ll form a collaboration committed to creating something truly wonderful: a beautiful and functional backyard you’ll enjoy for years to come. 

If you’re ready to take your yard from blah to bliss, we’d love to help!

Download our our backyard design checklist and start planning the backyard of your dreams! 

Still looking for some inspiration? We’ve got you covered with a free lookbook.


Need inspiration?

When you start to think about designing the perfect yard, deck, patio or backyard oasis, it can be helpful to have some solid ideas of what you want to achieve. We can help with that.

Download our Free Design Guide