Planning a Planting: The Function – Some Things to Consider Before Developing a Landscape Renovation Plan


This old planting has become tired and non-functional for the homeowners.  They have decided it’s time to upgrade this area of their backyard’s landscaping.  Before sitting down to develop a plan to renovate an area, there are a few questions that need to be asked.  Here are some basic thoughts:

  • What is the function of the planned renovation: an inviting entrance to your home, a patio garden, a basic foundation planting, or possibly a backyard area that you would like to develop?  Or maybe there is a view that you would like to buffer or screen.
  • What type of seasonal changes need to be considered?  Are you interested in attracting butterflies and hummingbirds in the summer?  Do you plan to feed the birds and is evergreen foliage needed for winter cover?
  • Are there specific colors that you prefer (or not) to see in the garden?
  • Possibly there is a plant that you’ve always wanted in the garden.  Now is the time to determine whether it might work in your design.  Consider mature size, sun or shade preference, resistance to deer (if they are a problem in your neighborhood), hardiness and cost.
  • Would you like to have fragrance in the garden?
  • Are there older plants that may still be of value?  Many times, older plants in the landscape have been improperly pruned and cared for over the years.  Often with corrective pruning and some patience, that “throw-away” plant can be a valuable component of your design.  After all, it is established in the area and likely of a size that might be difficult or costly to replace.
  • Is the renovation of this area meant to be for your enjoyment, or is it simply an upgrade in appearance?

Our next step is to develop a “wish list” of materials you would like to incorporate into your planned renovation.



In this Phase 1 scenario, Norway Spruce were chosen to screen the offending view.  The planting area was raised with topsoil and stone was introduced as a retaining and decorative element.  The empty bed space between the path and the spruce will be planted with perennial plants in Phase 2.