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Backyard Design Plan

Whether you plan to do your backyard landscaping yourself or have a landscape contractor do it, these backyard design plan questions will help your backyard landscape design.

Landscape contractors don't have any idea of what their potential clients are wanting, so in order to start a design they must get to know what their client needs, wants, likes, and much more.

By answering these questions thoughtfully and in good detail you will be starting the process of an backyard design.

Remember landscaping has many processes by doing each process right and when you should, will make your project much easier.

If you are doing the landscape yourself this will be your brain pad, if you are going to hire a contractor you will be one step ahead of him/her.

What Will The Backyard Be Used For?

It sounds silly asking yourself what your backyard will be used for, but by knowing exactly what you will be using the backyard for will help in in determining the size of each room or area and a overall feel of your backyard.
  • What will be the main uses for the Backyard? (Examples include: entertainment, visual only enjoyment , increase re-sale value, child play areas, gardening, sports, swimming, outdoor cooking, reading places, romantic places)
  • When will the backyard be used the most? (ie: Morning, Day time or Night time, All year around, only in summer etc)
  • If entertainment is a main use. What is the average number of people you entertain at one time?
  • Will you need an designated outdoor cooking area? Or just a grill area?
  • Do you need a utility area?

Structures and Features

Structures and Features are great focal points and your backyard theme could evolve around them.


This answers whether sub contractors may be needed and when they need to be added in the landscape process.

  • Do you know where the cable and phone utilities are buried in your yard?
  • Do you have any other buried lines excluding gas and water. (dog fence, propane, yard lights, ect.)
  • Will any of your structures require electric, plumbing or phone?
  • Do you want backyard lighting?
  • Do you want a Sprinkler System?
  • Do you already have a Sprinkler System?

Plants...Likes and Dislikes

This lets you focus on only what you like, which will reduce the selection process of finding plants and materials.

  • What colors or color combinations do you like?
  • Do you want fragrant plants?
  • What plants do you like or dislike?
  • What type of materials do you prefer for walks, walls and fences?

To help you in selecting plants I suggest you get a plant encyclopedia.

Problems and Legal

You also need to check all city and county codes that may apply to what you are doing.

  • Do you have any existing problems? (e.g. Drainage, steep slopes)
  • Do you live in an area with covenants?

Other Information

  • Does anyone have allergies?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • What's the best view from the house to the backyard?
  • Do you have a backyard theme?

Whats your Landscape Budget

Money usually plays a key role in landscaping. Go ahead and design your landscaping the way you want it to be. If you can't afford to do it all at one time, break it up into sections or phases and landscape it when you have the money.

If you have to do it in sections think of the overall plan now, some things such as utilities might be added at the beginning before any construction can be done.

Your backyard should be for what's important to you. After you have completed this backyard design plan questionnaire and decided on the uses of your backyard, you'll be ready to move on to the 3 Step Backyard Design

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