Today I completed the site analysis for a landscape design in Newtown, Connecticut. A site analysis is the first, and most vital step, when you measure and assess the site you are designing.
Landscape design is about getting a feel for the site. How much sun does the space get? What type of soil is on the site? How does water flow over the site? What type of emotion do I feel when on the site? How can I enhance, or negate, that emotion?
It takes an hour or two for the site analysis of a basic landscape design. Yes, I could rush in, take some measurements, snap a few pictures and be gone in half an hour. A little extra time getting to know the site will lead to a better landscape design for this Newtown, Connecticut home. I look at the area from many different angles. Constantly asking myself, “What if I…?”
While completing the site analysis I start with the big picture and work down to the details.
First, I take pictures of the site from every possible angle. Digital pictures are cheap and I can extrapolate a measurement I missed or recall the view from the road.
Next, I draw a sketch of the area and take measurements of the site. While taking pictures and measuring the site I am keeping an eye out for elements of the site that will affect the design. Are there any obstacles to move or work around? Is there a better way to design this walkway? How much sun does this space get?
At last I am ready to start drafting a preliminary landscape design. It does not have to be perfect right now. My goal is to jot down my thoughts quickly before they disappear. I write the names of some plants I will use, most plants names are generic, such as small flowering shrub, large evergreen, perennial etc. My goal is to have a rough idea what size and type plants I need.
Once I leave the job site the design mostly completed. It’s a matter of going to the drafting table and drawing a scaled base plan and filling the spaces with my thoughts. I also do some research on plants and materials to use during the design process.
All decisions for this landscape design in Newtown, Connecticut, are based on the site analysis. Doesn’t it make sense to spend a little extra time getting a feel for the site?