Top 5 Tips When Planning Your Yard

No doubt about it – Canadians are spending more quality time in their own backyards. And as a result, they’re also spending more time and money to plan their outdoor spaces. If you’re considering upgrades, here is my best advice about how to approach your project.

#1. Consider how you want to use the space.

Do you want to entertain, relax, play with kids, have a space for your pet, play sports, or sit around a fire pit? List everything you can think of and label each item as a ‘must have’ or a ‘nice to have’.

#2. Find some pictures of yards that you like.

What is it that you like about these yards? The layout, use of space, function, look, design style, materials used, and so on – list these items. Check my portfolio.

#3. Put together a budget.

What can you realistically afford? How much are you willing to spend to achieve the look, functionality and feel of your ideal yard?  This will help determine the design plan/materials/installation.

#4. Hire a landscape designer to plan your yard.

A landscape designer’s specialty is to look at your yard and provide recommendations that will help you achieve the functionality and visual appearance that your desire. This is a landscape designer’s area of expertise. I have completed University-level training to learn how to properly design your landscape given all aspects of site conditions, drainage, climate, plant material, budget, and so on. Just as you would not build your house without using experienced professionals and tradespeople who know what they are doing… why should your yard be any different? Poor planning of your landscaping can result in more expense and re-doing work in future.

#5. Determine an installation plan.

Will you hire a landscaper for the entire project? Can you take a phased approach? Is timing/budget more important than quality? Are you capable to DIY? A design for your dream yard is only the first step. You also need to be realistic about what you are willing and able to spend, if you are willing and capable of installing the landscape design, and if you have the time, ability, and desire to maintain the finished space.

In your eagerness to get your project going, you might be tempted to dash out to the garden centres and home improvement stores. It’ll serve you well if, first, you do this planning.

At Palazzo Landscape Design, we can help through every step of the process: Design. Build. Maintain. Let’s chat about your dream backyard.

Palazzo landscpae design

Preparing for Your Consultation

Whether you’ve been dreaming about your new yard for a long time, or just decided that it’s time to do something new, we know you want the process to go as quickly and smoothly as possible so you get start enjoying the end result. While we can’t control the weather or many other factors, there are some things you can do to make the process a breeze.

In fact, many of these steps can be done any time of year, and you can start before you even reach out to us! It’s especially important to do some thinking and fact-finding before our first consultation so we can make the most of that time together.

You can do this in whatever order you like, but we find most things fall into two categories: what you want, and what you have.

What You Want

This is your chance to dream about what you want your space to be. We can help provide inspiration and ideas, but we want your yard to reflect you.

How do you want it to look?

Find some pictures of yards you like. Pinterest and Houzz are great places to find and save inspiration photos, but keep your eye out for ideas around your neighbourhood, in magazines and catalogues, or browse our portfolio for local ideas.

Try to pinpoint what you like about these yards. It might be the layout, the way the space is used, the overall look and style, or just a particular element or material you love. The more specific you can be, the easier it is for us to incorporate your ideas into our design.

How will you use the space?

Think about what you want to do in your yard. Who will use your yard and how? The kids might need space to play that’s separate from where your dog…goes. Maybe you want to entertain, or create a relaxing sanctuary. If you want a fire pit or a space for your hammock, this is the time to dream big. List every use you can think of.

Then prioritize. Once you have a list of how you want to use your space, prioritize that list into “must haves” and “nice to haves.”

Consider maintenance. Not everyone loves gardening, or even mowing the lawn. Spend some time thinking about how much work you want to put into maintaining your yard, so we can create a plan and select plants that allow you to enjoy your yard instead of resenting how much work it involves—or worse yet, ignoring it!

What You Have

Get your site plan. To create a landscape plan, we need the measurements, layout, and location of what’s in the yard now. If you have a copy of the surveyor’s certificate, that’s great! If you don’t, we can work with a rough drawing that includes:

  • measurements;
  • where the property lines are;
  • where the utility lines are; and
  • any easements.

Do a mental and visual inventory. Take some pictures/video from various angles, since we will ask for these before the consultation. While you’re out there, think about what you like and don’t like in the yard. There may be some things you absolutely want to keep…or absolutely want gone. Note this alongside the “must haves” and “nice to haves” you jotted down.

Put together a budget. We know how to use your dollars well, so think about what you can realistically afford for this project. Knowing what you’re willing to spend to achieve the look, functionality, and feel of your ideal yard helps us make the best plan, choose the right materials, and get the most out of every penny.

Getting all the details ready in advance means we can make the most of our consultation and that we can create a yard you’re excited to make memories in. It’s also a great way to get through a Saskatchewan winter as you imagine soaking up the sun in your outdoor paradise.

Did all this dreaming about your yard motivate you to get in touch to start designing? Get in touch, and we will see you soon!

Collaborating to Bring Your Design Dreams to Life

Palazzo Landscape Designs + Backyard Escapes = A Full-Service Landscaping Experience

The unique skill we bring to a landscaping project is the ability to create an overall vision for your space that combines your wants and needs with our knowledge of flow, scale, functionality, and plant materials. We are here to provide you with a plan to achieve the look and feel you want, while working within your budget and the natural constraints of the space.

Installation is a key part of bringing that carefully crafted vision to life. And after many years of working with landscapers around Regina, we are proud to have a partnership with Backyard Escapes to give our clients an easy, design-build landscaping experience in Regina. This collaboration puts a landscape designer and horticulture expert on-site as part of the installation team, ensuring you get a high-quality installation and easy communication with a single point of contact.

We trust our partners at Backyard Escapes to execute the vision we create with our clients. We know they have the skills to handle the installation, while staying true to the design principles and aesthetic details we’ve discussed with our clients. Add in the in-depth knowledge of horticulture that we bring, and you can rest assured that the end result will be a yard you’ll love to use.

This collaboration makes everyone’s life easier: the client, the designer, and the installer. You don’t have to manage the installation; we visit the site daily to oversee the site layout, plant placement, and finishing details. Our installation partners get the answers they need quickly and have an expert on-site to tackle any issues that may come up. And as designers, we take comfort in knowing that Backyard Escapes have the technical skills to ensure you get the outdoor paradise we’ve dreamt up together.

When our clients tell us they need installation help, we will always recommend Backyard Escapes. If you hire us to coordinate the project, we handle the details. Imagine someone else doing all this for you:

  • Preparing price information
  • Spray painting the site layout as per our design plan
  • Finalizing paving stone style and colour
  • Finalizing lighting fixtures and placement
  • Plant placement
  • Selecting finishing details, such as water features, boulders, etc.
  • Site supervision to ensure installation follows the intent of the design and handle last-minute issues or changes

Sounds good, right? Hiring Palazzo Landscape Design to coordinate installation with Backyard Escapes, gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your designer understands what you want and communicates well with a quality installer. You just get to enjoy the end result without all the hassle in the middle.

Like the sound of a full-service landscaping experience? We’d love to chat!

Palazzo - design build

Flexible Design Process

After creating hundreds of landscape designs over the last decade, we’ve learned that our process always depends a bit on the client. Some clients need a hand through the whole process, from finding inspiration to planting the final annual. Others just need someone to help them finesse the details. And there are many somewhere in between.

Palazzo Landscape Design has a process that we can tweak and adjust to fit your needs, expertise, and comfort level. You might go through the whole process with us, or just a couple pieces. But we always start with some important first steps.

1: Contact and questionnaire

So you’ve looked at the website and social media, been referred by a past client, or otherwise decided that we are the landscape design firm for you. Awesome! Thanks for your vote of confidence; now it’s time to get in touch.

The beginning of the process involves a tonne of questions. Our design questionnaire helps us understand two big things:

  • what you need from us; and
  • what you want from your yard.

Your answers help us understand what services suit your needs and budget. Then we can decide what comes next, and how to make the most of every dollar.

It’s also the first step to getting you an outdoor space you love so much that you actually use it. We want you to be proud of your front yard when you pull into your driveway, and for your backyard to beckon you into it. To create a yard that reflects your style and personality, and serves as a usable, enjoyable outdoor space, we need get to know you—hence all the questions. To help you prepare for the questionnaire and the consultation, check out this article that explains what information we need to know.

2: Consultation (on-site or virtual)

Once we’ve gone over the questionnaire, it’s time to book a consultation and look at the site. Whenever possible, we aim for an on-site consultation, but we also offer virtual design services.

For us, this consultation is the most crucial step in our process. It gives us a chance to take a good look at the site, discuss your vision, and share thoughts about layout, site conditions, materials—so be prepared for more questions!

3: Initial Design Concept

At this point, the ball is in our court. By now, we will have decided what type of concept you’ll receive. They range from a basic hand-drawn sketch, to scaled 2D drawings, detailed planting plans, and 3D renderings. What type of plan you need depends on factors such as budget, who will do the installation, and how easily we can envision the new space.

It usually takes us a few weeks to get the initial design concept to you. The more prepared you are during the questionnaire and consultation phases (having inspiration photos, access to a site plan/surveyor’s certificate, etc.), the smoother it is for us to prepare the initial design.

4: Client review & Design revisions

Next up, it’s your turn to tell us what you think of the initial design. It is your yard, after all! Though we treat every design with as much care as we would our own, you need to love the design too—so this is your chance to let us know what you love and what you would change. You can give us your feedback by phone or email, or we can come out to the site if necessary.

And of course, the sooner you can give us your revisions, the sooner we can tackle them and move on to the next step.

5: Final plan

We take your feedback and incorporate it into the final design plan. A full yard design (i.e., not a hand-drawn sketch) includes all the information you need to prepare for installation of your new yard!

  • Final design plan with dimensions
  • If requested, 3D renderings
  • Detailed planting plan, including how many of each plant you need
  • Plant catalogue, including images
  • Suggested materials and design concepts
  • Materials list, including approximate amounts for paving stones, rock, soil, etc.
  • Suggestions for contractors and suppliers, tailored to your design, budget, and timeline
  • If you’re planning to hire a landscaper, a quote from our exclusive partner, Backyard Escapes

6: Installation

Yep, we can even help you bring the design to life. After many years of working with landscapers around Regina, we developed a partnership with Backyard Escapes to give our clients the full-service landscape experience. We provide the expert plan and project coordination; they bring the equipment and do the heavy lifting (literally!).

Hiring Palazzo Landscape Design to coordinate the project means experts working together to make your outdoor paradise a reality. You get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your designer understands what you want, communicates well with the installer, and you just get to enjoy the end result without all the hassle in the middle.

7: Check-ins and Maintenance

We already check in periodically on all plant materials we install during the one-year warranty period, but sometimes our clients need a hand with planting, shaping or trimming their shrubs and trees, or getting the yard ready for big seasonal changes. It’s kind of like teachers or babysitters checking in on kids as they get older; we just want them to do well and grow up right, so we will do what we can to help.

At Palazzo Landscape Design, we can help through every step of the process: Design. Build. Maintain.

Ready to start the design process? Get in touch!