Ecology + Design

Backyard Site Analysis – Site Specific Landscape Designs – Westchester County

Backyard Landscape Design

Creative landscape design and development can improve your life and lifestyle. Winter and early spring is an ideal time to begin the process of envisioning and activating your backyard ideas; such as plans to create, design, develop, install and construct a new landscape or renovate an old and tired landscape. Most of what we do as landscape design professionals (see American Society of Landscape Architects) qualifies as ‘Green’ on some level (see Sustainable Sites Initiative). We are often presented with challenges involving unattractive views, non-functioning or low functioning spaces for dining, entertaining or playing. Sometimes we need to generate fresh, creative ideas for a landscape in need of improvement because it is unusable or unstable due to physical characteristics such as steep slopes, poorly drained wet areas, etc.

Landscape Design Begins with Proper Site Analysis

Just as developing a program for managing an organic lawn or landscape starts out with real information, professional landscape design starts out with proper site analysis.

For soil testing, see Soil Foodweb Labs or Cornell Cooperative Extension.

For professional landscaping, see Association of Professional Landscape Designers

These essential first steps inform the clients and the designer as to the fixed physical features and characteristics. This will determine the unique factors involved in developing the landscape design master-plan, ideally suited to the needs and desires of the client/users. This may include, but is not limited to, amount of sunlight affecting plant growth and selection (see USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service), the hydrology (wet/dry), soil conditions etc..

Much of this information is verifiable scientific fact and field observations. Much of the remaining information is primarily subjective based upon the intentions to develop a property or site for specific land use.

For more info on low impact landscape design and construction, see Low Impact Development Center or Urban Design Tools.

Each Landscaping Project is Unique

Each and every backyard has unique, one of a kind aspects. Some are more or less challenged by views or landscape features surrounding and affecting the landscape we are working to improve. Too often we are brought to a project after significant alterations and ‘improvements’ are made. This sometimes restricts our creativity and ability to alter and improve the site due to a limitation of resources and access.

Jay Archer, President


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