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How Do You Prepare A Landscape Garden?

Whether you’re an experienced landscaper or just getting your feet wet, our garden landscaping guide is a solid place to begin. Because making a garden that you love takes more than luck and luck alone, and anyone who has ever created a beautiful garden scape will agree. In all likelihood, if you’ve made it this far, you’re tending a garden at the place you plan to spend the rest of your life. 

Free Gray Concrete Pathway Besides Pink Flower during Day Stock Photo

Following certain ground principles (pun intended) will help you get the most out of your yard area and enjoy it more than just having a neat lawn that was cut with the greatest mower.

How Do You Prepare A Landscape Garden?

Preparing a landscape garden involves several steps to create a visually appealing and functional outdoor space. Here is a general guide on how to prepare a landscape garden:

1. Determine Your Goals

when it comes to landscape gardening, goals can vary depending on individual preferences and needs. Here are some common goals people have when preparing a landscape garden:

Enhancing Aesthetics: 

Many people aim to create a visually pleasing garden by incorporating beautiful plants, colourful flowers, attractive hardscape features, and artistic design elements.

Creating A Functional Outdoor Space: 

Some individuals want to design a garden that serves as an extension of their living space. This may involve incorporating seating areas, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, or other amenities for relaxation, entertainment, and recreation.

Increasing Property Value: 

A well-designed and maintained landscape garden can add value to a property. People may focus on creating an appealing garden to enhance the curb appeal and overall worth of their home.

Promoting Biodiversity And Sustainability: 

Gardening with a focus on ecological principles is becoming increasingly popular. Individuals may aim to create a garden that supports local wildlife, incorporates native plants reduces water consumption, and utilizes organic gardening practices.

Providing Privacy And Security: 

Privacy is important for many homeowners, so creating a garden that offers seclusion through the use of hedges, fences, or strategic plantings is a common goal. Additionally, incorporating security features like lighting or surveillance systems can be part of the garden design.

Low maintenance: 

Some individuals prefer a low-maintenance garden that requires minimal upkeep. This can involve selecting hardy plants, implementing efficient irrigation systems, and incorporating low-maintenance hardscape elements.

It’s essential to determine your specific goals for your landscape garden, as they will guide the design and implementation process. Consider what aspects are most important to you and how you envision utilizing and enjoying your outdoor space.

2. Assess The Site

Assessing the site is a crucial step in preparing a landscape garden. It involves evaluating various factors that can influence the design and functionality of your garden. Here are some key aspects to consider when assessing the site:

Climate and Microclimate: 

Understand the climatic conditions of your region, including average temperatures, rainfall patterns, and prevailing winds. Identify any microclimates within your site, such as areas that receive more or less sunlight, are sheltered from the wind, or are prone to frost or drought.


Examine the topography of your site, including slopes, hills, or flat areas. Determine how the natural contours can be utilized or modified to enhance the design. Take note of any drainage issues or areas prone to erosion.

Soil Quality: 

Assess the soil type and its composition. Soil texture (sandy, loamy, clayey) and fertility can influence plant selection and growth. Conduct a soil test to determine pH levels, nutrient content, and organic matter. This information will help you understand any soil amendments needed for optimal plant health.

Sunlight Exposure: 

Observe the sun’s path throughout the day to identify areas of full sun, partial shade, or deep shade. Consider how sunlight patterns may change with the seasons. This information will guide plant selection and placement.

Existing Vegetation and Features: 

Take note of any existing trees, shrubs, or other vegetation that you want to preserve or workaround. Identify any architectural features like buildings, fences, or walls that can impact the design. Consider how these elements can be integrated or modified within the landscape.

Views and Surroundings: 

Evaluate the views from your site, both within the garden and beyond. Determine if there are any desirable views to frame or unattractive features on the screen. Consider neighbouring properties, structures, or landscape elements that may affect privacy or visual appeal.

Accessibility and Circulation: 

Assess how people will navigate and move through the garden. Identify existing pathways, entry points, and potential areas for new ways or access points. Consider how the garden design can facilitate circulation and create a seamless flow.

Utilities and Infrastructure: 

Locate and consider the placement of utilities such as water supply, electrical lines, or irrigation systems. Ensure they are not obstructed or compromised by the garden design. Factor in any potential requirements for utility access or future maintenance.

By thoroughly assessing the site, you’ll gain a better understanding of its unique characteristics and limitations. This knowledge will inform your design decisions and help you create a landscape garden that harmonizes with the site’s natural features while meeting your goals.

3. Develop A Design Plan

 Developing a design plan is a crucial step in preparing a landscape garden. It involves translating your goals, preferences, and site assessment into a cohesive and visually appealing layout. Here are the key steps to developing a design plan:

Define the Purpose and Style: 

Clarify the purpose of your garden and the desired ambience or style you want to achieve. Determine whether it will be primarily for relaxation, entertainment, gardening, or a combination of these. Choose a design style that suits your preferences, such as formal, informal, modern, traditional, or a specific theme like Japanese or Mediterranean.

Create a Site Analysis: 

Compile the information gathered during the site assessment, including climate conditions, topography, soil quality, sunlight exposure, and existing features. Use this information as a foundation for your design decisions.

Establish Functional Areas:

Identify the functional areas you want to include in your garden based on your goals and activities. This could involve spaces for seating, dining, cooking, playing, gardening, or specific features like water elements, fire pits, or outdoor structures. Determine the relationship and flow between these areas.

Consider Layout and Structure: 

Determine the overall layout and structure of your garden. Decide on the placement of pathways, patios, decks, and other hardscape elements. Consider how these elements will connect different areas and guide the movement within the garden. Incorporate focal points, such as sculptures, specimen plants, or views, to create visual interest.

Plant Selection and Arrangement: 

Choose plants that are suitable for your climate, site conditions, and design style. Consider their size, shape, texture, colour, and seasonal interest. Create plant beds or groupings that complement the overall design and fulfil functional purposes like privacy screening or attracting pollinators. Incorporate a variety of plant types, including trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals, to add depth and visual appeal.

Balance and Proportion: 

Strive for a balanced and proportionate design. Ensure that elements like plants, hardscape features, and open spaces are appropriately scaled and distributed within the garden. Consider the visual weight, height variations, and colour combinations to achieve a harmonious composition.

Sustainability and Maintenance: 

Integrate sustainable practices into your design plan. Select native or drought-tolerant plants to reduce water consumption. Incorporate efficient irrigation systems and consider rainwater harvesting techniques. Plan for appropriate maintenance requirements, such as access for pruning, weeding, and mulching.

Incorporate Lighting and Accessories: 

Enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your garden by incorporating lighting elements. Consider pathways, focal points, and outdoor living areas that would benefit from appropriate lighting. Additionally, think about accessories like furniture, pots, decorative objects, or art installations that complement the design style.

Revise and Refine: 

Review your design plan, considering its feasibility, practicality, and alignment with your goals. Make necessary revisions and refinements to ensure a cohesive and achievable design. Seek input from professionals or experienced gardeners if needed.

Document and Implement: 

Create a detailed drawing or plan that illustrates your design. Include measurements, plant names, and key elements. Use this plan as a guide during the implementation phase of your landscape garden project.

Remember, the design plan is a flexible roadmap that can evolve as you progress. Adjustments may be necessary based on budget limitations, availability of materials, and unforeseen challenges during implementation.

4. Clear The Area

Clearing the area is an essential step in preparing a landscape garden. It involves removing existing vegetation, debris, and obstacles to create a clean and workable space. Here are the general steps to clear the area:

Survey The Area: 

Walk around the garden site and identify any unwanted vegetation, such as weeds, grass, or invasive plants. Take note of any large plants, trees, or shrubs that need to be removed or relocated.

Remove Unwanted Plants: 

Start by manually pulling out weeds and grass from the designated garden area. Use a garden fork or shovel to loosen the soil and facilitate weed removal. For more stubborn or deep-rooted plants, you may need to use a garden hoe or trowel.

Clear Vegetation And Debris: 

Cut down and remove any unwanted trees, shrubs, or plants that are not part of your desired landscape design. If you are removing larger plants or trees, it’s advisable to consult a professional arborist or tree removal service to ensure safe and proper removal.

Dispose Of Plant Materials: 

Gather the plant materials, weeds, and debris and dispose of them appropriately. You can compost organic materials that are free from diseases or pests, while non-compostable waste should be disposed of according to local regulations or guidelines.

Address Obstacles And Structures: 

Identify any obstacles or structures that may hinder your garden design. This could include rocks, stones, old structures, or dilapidated features. Remove or relocate these items as necessary.

Grade The Soil: 

Once the area is cleared of unwanted vegetation and debris, assess the soil grade. Level any uneven areas and create gentle slopes or contours if desired. This step is particularly important if you plan to install hardscape features like patios or pathways.

Preserve Desired Elements: 

Take care to protect any existing plants, trees, or structures that you wish to keep as part of your landscape design. Use protective barriers or temporary fencing if necessary.

Consider Professional Help: 

If the area is large or challenging, or if you need assistance with tree removal or heavy machinery, consider hiring professionals such as landscapers, arborists, or excavation services to ensure safe and efficient clearance.

Remember to prioritize safety during the clearing process. Wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves, eye protection, and sturdy footwear. Follow local regulations and guidelines for waste disposal and adhere to any necessary permits or permissions for tree removal or structural changes.

5. Install Hardscape Elements

Installing hardscape elements is an important part of landscape garden preparation. Hardscape elements include non-living features such as pathways, patios, walls, fences, decks, and other structures that provide functionality, define spaces, and enhance the overall design. Here are the general steps for installing hardscape elements:

Finalize The Design: 

Refer to your landscape design plan and make sure you have a clear vision of where the hardscape elements will be located. Double-check measurements, dimensions, and materials to ensure accuracy.

Mark The Layout: 

Use stakes, string lines, or spray paint to mark the layout of the hardscape elements on the ground. This will serve as a guide during the installation process.


If needed, excavate the designated areas to prepare the ground for the hardscape installation. The depth of excavation will depend on the specific elements being installed. For example, pathways and patios typically require a deeper excavation to accommodate a base layer and ensure stability.

Prepare The Base: 

Create a solid and stable base for the hardscape elements. This typically involves layering different materials such as crushed stone, gravel, or sand. The specific base materials and thickness will depend on the installed element and soil conditions.

Level And Compact The Base: 

Use a compactor or hand tamper to level and compact the base materials. This ensures a stable foundation for the hardscape elements and helps prevent future settling or shifting.

Install The Hardscape Elements: 

Begin installing the hardscape elements according to the design plan. This could involve laying pavers or bricks for pathways and patios, building walls or retaining structures, constructing fences or pergolas, or assembling other structures. Follow manufacturer instructions and employ proper techniques for each specific element.

Ensure Proper Alignment And Leveling: 

Check the alignment, spacing, and levelling of each hardscape element as you install them. Use a level, string lines, or other tools to ensure accuracy and maintain a consistent and visually appealing result.

Secure The Elements: 

Depending on the type of hardscape elements, secure them as necessary. This may involve using adhesives, fasteners, or mortar to secure pavers, stones, or wall units together. Follow manufacturer guidelines and best practices for securing specific elements.

Finishing Touches: 

Once the hardscape elements are installed, make any necessary adjustments and clean the surfaces. Remove excess materials, debris, and stains. Consider applying sealant or protective coatings if recommended for the specific elements to enhance durability and appearance.

Plan For Drainage: 

Ensure proper drainage by incorporating features like drainage channels, weep holes, or slope adjustments. This is particularly important for hardscape elements like patios or retaining walls to prevent water accumulation or damage.

Safety Considerations: 

Install appropriate safety features, such as handrails for elevated structures or non-slip surfaces for pathways and stairs, to ensure a safe environment for users.

Hardscape installation can be a complex process, especially for larger or more intricate elements. If you’re unsure about any aspect of the installation, consider consulting professionals or experienced contractors to ensure a successful and long-lasting outcome.

6. Prepare The Soil

Preparing the soil is a vital step in landscape garden preparation. It creates an optimal growing environment for plants, improves drainage, and promotes healthy root development. Here are the general steps to prepare the soil:

Clear The Area: 

Remove any remaining vegetation, weeds, rocks, or debris from the soil surface. This ensures a clean slate for soil preparation.

Soil Testing: 

Conduct a soil test to determine the current state of your soil. Soil testing kits or professional services can provide valuable information about pH levels, nutrient content, organic matter, and any necessary amendments. This helps you understand the specific needs of your soil and tailor your preparation accordingly.

Amend The Soil: 

Based on the results of the soil test, amend the soil as necessary to improve its structure and fertility. Common soil amendments include:

  • Organic matter: Incorporate compost, well-rotted manure, or other organic materials into the soil. This improves soil structure, enhances moisture retention, and provides nutrients over time. Spread a layer of organic matter and use a garden fork or tiller to incorporate it evenly into the top few inches of soil.
  • pH adjustment: If the soil pH is too high or too low for the plants you intend to grow, adjust it accordingly. Add lime to raise the pH or sulphur to lower it, following the recommended rates based on the soil test results.
  • Nutrient supplementation: If the soil lacks essential nutrients, add organic or synthetic fertilizers to replenish them. Choose fertilizers that match the specific nutrient deficiencies identified in the soil test. Follow the recommended application rates and timing for optimal results.

Soil Cultivation: 

Loosen the soil by cultivating or tilling it to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. This improves aeration, breaks up compacted soil, and facilitates root penetration. Avoid excessive tilling, as it can disrupt the soil structure and damage beneficial microorganisms.

Remove Weeds And Roots: 

Inspect the soil for any remaining weed roots or invasive plant material. Remove them manually to prevent future weed growth and competition with your desired plants.

Level The Soil: 

Smooth out the soil surface and create a level base for planting beds, pathways, or other garden features. Use a rake or levelling tool to achieve an even surface.

Consider Soil Drainage: 

Evaluate the drainage characteristics of the soil and make any necessary adjustments. If the soil is prone to waterlogging, improve drainage by incorporating organic matter or creating raised beds. If the soil drains too quickly, add organic matter and mulch to enhance moisture retention.

Allow The Soil To Settle: 

After preparing the soil, allow it to settle for a few days before planting. This allows any amendments to integrate with the soil and allows you to make final adjustments if needed.

Ongoing Soil Care: 

Maintain the health of your soil by practising good soil management techniques. This includes regular mulching, avoiding overwatering, practising crop rotation, and periodically replenishing organic matter.

Remember, soil preparation is an ongoing process that may require additional amendments and adjustments over time. Regular monitoring, observation, and responding to the needs of your plants will help you maintain healthy soil and promote a thriving landscape garden.

7. Install Irrigation Systems

Installing an irrigation system is an efficient way to provide water to your landscape garden, ensuring that plants receive adequate moisture for healthy growth. Here are the general steps to install an irrigation system:

Design The Irrigation System: 

Determine the type of irrigation system that best suits your garden’s needs and layout. Common options include sprinkler systems, drip irrigation systems, or a combination of both. Consider factors such as water source, water pressure, plant water requirements, soil type, and the layout of your garden.

Gather Materials And Tools: 

Collect all the necessary materials and tools for the irrigation system installation. This typically includes irrigation pipes, fittings, valves, emitters (if using drip irrigation), a backflow preventer, a timer/controller, and tools such as a trenching shovel, pipe cutter, and pipe wrenches.

Prepare The Site: 

Clear the area where the irrigation system will be installed. Remove any obstacles, debris, or vegetation that may interfere with the installation process.

Lay Out The Mainline: 

Determine the mainline path for the irrigation system. This is the main pipe that will carry water throughout the garden. Lay out the main line, making sure it reaches all areas that require irrigation. Use a trenching shovel to dig a trench for the mainline, ensuring it is deep enough to protect the pipes and accommodate any necessary slope for proper water flow.

Install The Mainline And Fittings: 

Place the mainline in the trench, making sure it is properly aligned and connected to any water source, such as a faucet or water supply line. Connect the mainline sections with fittings, such as couplers, elbows, and tees. Secure the fittings tightly using pipe wrenches or adjustable pliers.

Install Valves And Backflow Preventer: 

Install control valves along the mainline to regulate water flow to different zones or sections of the garden. Place a backflow preventer near the water source to ensure that water flows in one direction, preventing contamination of the water supply.

Lay Out And Install Lateral Pipes: 

Determine the layout of lateral pipes that will deliver water to individual plants or areas. Connect the lateral pipes to the control valves using appropriate fittings. Position the pipes in the trenches, ensuring they are properly aligned and sloped for optimal water distribution.

Install Emitters (If Using Drip Irrigation): 

If you’re using a drip irrigation system, install emitters or drip lines near the plants. Place emitters at appropriate distances to ensure adequate coverage and adjust the flow rate as needed.

Install A Timer/Controller: 

Mount a timer or controller near the water source or in a convenient location. Connect the timer/controller to the valves, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Set the watering schedule and duration based on the water requirements of your plants and local climate conditions.

Test And Adjust: 

Before covering the trenches, perform a thorough check of the entire irrigation system. Turn on the water supply and check for any leaks, ensure the proper functioning of valves and emitters, and adjust the timer/controller settings if necessary.

Backfill And Cover Trenches: 

Once you are satisfied with the irrigation system’s functionality, backfill the trenches with soil and cover them securely. Take care not to damage the pipes or fittings during this process.

Ongoing maintenance: 

Regularly inspect and maintain the irrigation system to ensure its optimal performance. Check for leaks, clogs, or damaged components. Clean or replace emitters as needed. Adjust the watering schedule based on seasonal variations in water requirements.

Consider consulting a professional irrigation specialist if you are unsure about any aspect of the installation or if you have a complex landscape design that requires more advanced irrigation solutions. They can provide expertise and ensure that the irrigation system is installed correctly and efficiently.

8. Plant Selection And Installation

Plant selection and installation are crucial steps in creating a beautiful and thriving landscape garden. Here’s a guide to help you with plant selection and installation:

Determine Your Needs And Preferences: 

Consider your desired outcomes for the garden. Do you want flowering plants, evergreens, or a mix of both? Think about the garden’s purpose, such as providing privacy, attracting pollinators, or creating a specific aesthetic.

Assess Site Conditions: 

Evaluate the environmental conditions of your garden, including sunlight exposure, soil type, drainage, and climate. Choose plants that are well-suited to these conditions, ensuring they have the best chance of survival and growth.

Research Plant Options: 

Consult gardening books, websites, or local nurseries to explore different plant options suitable for your region. Look for plants that are known to thrive in similar conditions as your garden and align with your design preferences.

Consider Plant Characteristics: 

Pay attention to the growth habits, sizes, and maintenance requirements of potential plants. Select plants that will fit well in the available space and that are manageable within your desired level of maintenance.

Create A Planting Plan: 

Design a planting plan that incorporates various plant types, sizes, and colours to create an aesthetically pleasing and balanced composition. Consider the plant’s mature size and growth rate to ensure they won’t overcrowd each other as they develop.

Purchase Healthy Plants: 

When buying plants, choose those with healthy foliage, strong stems, and no signs of pests or diseases. Inspect the roots as well to ensure they are well-developed and not root-bound.

Prepare Planting Holes: 

Dig planting holes that are wide and deep enough to accommodate the plant’s root ball. Loosen the soil in the hole and remove any weeds or rocks.

Install The Plants: 

Gently remove the plant from its container and place it in the planting hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with or slightly above the surrounding soil. Backfill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the roots. Water thoroughly to settle the soil.

Mulch The Planting Area: 

Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants, leaving a small space around the stems to prevent moisture buildup and potential rot. Mulch helps retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

Water And Care For The Plants:

Provide adequate water to newly planted plants and continue regular watering until they establish their root systems. Follow the specific watering requirements of each plant. Implement a regular maintenance routine, including fertilizing, pruning, and pest control, as needed.

Monitor And Adjust: 

Regularly observe the plants for signs of stress, pests, diseases, or any other issues. Adjust watering, fertilization, or other care practices accordingly.

Consider Long-Term Growth: 

As the plants mature, monitor their growth and make necessary adjustments to spacing, pruning, or overall garden design to accommodate their development. Regularly assess the health and condition of the plants and replace any that do not thrive or become problematic.

Remember that each plant has specific needs and requirements, so it’s important to research and understand the care instructions for each species. Consider consulting with local gardening experts or landscape professionals for advice specific to your region and garden’s unique conditions.

9. Mulch And Edging

Mulching and edging are essential practices in landscape gardening that help improve the aesthetics, health, and maintenance of your garden. Here’s a guide on mulching and edging:


  • Choose the right mulch: Select a suitable type of mulch based on your garden’s needs and preferences. Common options include organic mulches like wood chips, bark, straw, or compost, as well as inorganic mulches like stone, gravel, or rubber mulch. Consider factors such as moisture retention, weed suppression, temperature regulation, and overall aesthetics.
  • Prepare the area: Clear any debris, weeds, or existing mulch from the area where you plan to apply mulch. Ensure that the soil is adequately watered before mulching.
  • Apply a weed barrier (optional): If weed control is a concern, you may consider laying a weed barrier fabric or newspaper layer directly on the soil surface before applying the mulch. This helps prevent weed growth and promotes a cleaner appearance.
  • Spread the mulch: Evenly distribute the mulch around the garden beds or plantings, aiming for a layer that is 2 to 4 inches thick. Take care not to pile mulch against the stems or trunks of plants, as this can lead to moisture retention and potential rot. Leave a small gap around the base of plants to allow for airflow.
  • Extend the mulch area: Consider extending the mulch beyond the planting beds to cover bare soil areas, such as around trees, shrubs, or pathways. This helps reduce weed growth and soil erosion.
  • Maintain mulch depth: Periodically check the mulch depth and replenish it as needed, especially as it naturally breaks down over time. Reapply mulch to maintain the desired thickness and appearance.


  • Choose the edging material: Select an edging material that suits your garden’s style and purpose. Common options include plastic or metal edging, natural stone, brick, or concrete pavers. Consider the overall design and functionality you want to achieve with the edging.
  • Plan the edging layout: Determine the desired shape and layout of your garden beds or pathways. Use a garden hose, rope, or spray paint to mark the edges, creating a guide for the edging installation.
  • Prepare the area: Clear the area along the marked edges, removing any vegetation, rocks, or debris. Use a spade or shovel to create a clean and defined edge.
  • Install the edging: Place the chosen edging material along the marked edges, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on the material, you may need to secure the edging with stakes, connectors, or adhesive.
  • Adjust and level the edging: Ensure that the edging is straight, level, and at the desired height. Make any necessary adjustments, such as trimming the edging material or adding/removing soil beneath it to achieve a consistent appearance.
  • Backfill and compact: Fill the space behind the edging with soil or gravel, compacting it gently to secure the edging in place. This helps maintain its stability and prevents soil or mulch from spilling over into the adjacent areas.
  • Final touches: After installing the edging, clean up any debris, smooth the surrounding soil, and make sure the edging is visually appealing and well-integrated with the rest of the garden design.

Regular maintenance is important for both mulching and edging. Keep the mulch layer tidy by occasionally raking or fluffing it to prevent compaction or weed growth. Additionally, check the edging periodically to ensure it remains in place and make any necessary repairs or adjustments.

By incorporating mulching and edging into your landscape garden care routine, you can enhance the

10. Maintain And Care For The Garden

Regularly maintain your landscape garden by watering, fertilising, pruning, and weeding as needed. Monitor plant health and make adjustments as necessary. Consider seasonal maintenance tasks such as leaf removal and winter protection.

Remember, preparing a landscape garden can be a complex process that may require professional assistance, especially for larger or more intricate designs. Consulting with a landscape architect or garden designer can provide valuable expertise and help you achieve your desired results.


In conclusion, preparing a landscape garden involves several important steps, including determining your goals, assessing the site, developing a design plan, clearing the area, installing hardscape elements, preparing the soil, installing irrigation systems, selecting and installing plants, and applying mulch and edging. Each step plays a significant role in creating a beautiful, functional, and sustainable garden.

If you want some professionals to cater for the needs of your garden, contact must have maintenance.

How Do You Prepare A Landscape Garden?

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