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These are the 5 Steps to Thinking Through Your Life-Scape

Posted by : on Sep 19,2022 08:50 AM
These are the 5 Steps to Thinking Through Your Life-Scape

Landscapes are living entities. This is a simple, but important fact that everyone who cares about their landscapes must remember. These landscapes are complex, interconnected ecosystems that include plants that grow, die, sprout and then grow again; and creatures large and small who live in and around them; and rocks, soil and minerals that can retain moisture, dry out and erode. To remind you of this fact, I refer to landscapes as "Life-Scapes", which is a more realistic term. They are dynamic and can't be considered static set-pieces.

Here's the problem. We tend to view landscape design like a finite project. We want permanence, which is finished, complete. We want to be able to buy, build, and forget about anything once we feel the urge to do something. This is not the way it works. This mindset is indicative of a larger problem: we see landscapes as a thing, a project that is finite, and not as a process.  A landscaping might able to aid you.

Do not rush to finish a project. Instead, take your time and look at the landscape. What is it now? What do you want it to become? How will it evolve naturally? In terms of a future life. Think about why you want to do something for the land. What is your ultimate experience after you have created your landscape? Accept the process of creating that experience, and the finality of what you believe is permanent. After all, there is no finality to life except death.


You can think of a few things to change your mindset before you begin any type of work:

Find your "why". What motivates you to spend the time, money and effort necessary to create a landscape design that is unique? What are you hoping to gain from it? It will be used by who and when. What will change once this transformation is complete? These questions will change the landscape's status from "thing" to something that is dynamic and interactive. It will offer new experiences for everyone who uses it.

Get to know your land. Take a walk around to determine where water is coming from. Pay attention to the type of soil. What is typography? What is the existing vegetation and why? You'll be able assess the viability and feasibility of your proposed landscape once you have a good understanding of the land. It is easy to fixate on one or more features, without understanding the terrain and environmental conditions that will support them. If your ideas don't fit with the land, it is likely that you will end up spending a lot of money to create something that is labor-intensive or even unsustainable.

Identify your limiting factors. You can now accurately identify the factors that may affect your landscape plans. Is your vision in line with the land's natural resources and what it can do? What will it take to achieve your goals?

If you picture a large, open lawn for your children to play touch football on, but your back door opens onto forested land, then you will understand how difficult it is to get a great lawn. Unfortunately, difficult is often synonymous with costly. But if you have been dreaming of woodland paths and tranquil meditation gardens with shade plants, and you walk out into the woods, your goal will be easier and cheaper.

Get an idea of what ideas might work. This will help you come up with realistic ideas that will suit your budget, lifestyle, and environment. You'll be able to see what is feasible and what needs more thought. This foundational information may help you accept the limitations and allow you to think about a different approach that might work better.

Get to know your team. Nearly all landscape designs involve some heavy lifting. Is it possible to do the construction yourself? If so, how much time and how long does it take? If your answers are no, then you should determine which outside skills and resources are needed to create the landscape you desire. You can realistically assess your capabilities so that you can realistically determine the size of the team you will need.


Landscape development is not a single project. This is the key takeaway. There are many projects in the process. However, I hope you'll see those projects as part of a larger system. It's easier to have peace of mind when you know exactly what you want and how it will work. It becomes an exciting and fun endeavor to put your effort and money into something that you believe has the potential to transform your outdoor experience.

Landscape development is a complex process that involves thinking about succession and maintenance. Nothing is permanent. Accept the impermanent nature of nature. Although it may appear static, the planet is constantly evolving and breathing under our feet.


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