Patio Planning: First Steps to Plotting Your Outdoor Overhaul |
Anne Roberts Gardens patio-planning

Patio Planning: First Steps to Plotting Your Outdoor Overhaul

Patio planning – or any kind of large outdoor overhaul – can seem downright intimidating. Your focus can jump from the exciting thought of finally creating the perfect outdoor space to worrying about screwing up by not adequately knowing what you really want in the new design or how to communicate what you do want.

That’s understandable. After all, creating your outdoor oasis involves a significant financial investment. When you’re ready to commit, you’ll want to feel assured that you’re getting the design right.

Well, you can get rid of some of those nerves by doing a little prep work on your own. Read on to find out what we recommend to get started.

How to Not Screw Up in the Planning Stages

First Things First: Take an Inventory of Your Space, Needs, Wants & Considerations

To begin, we suggest that you make things easy on yourself by downloading and printing our Landscape Planning and Assessment Guide. This simple tick list can be completed in just a few minutes and is a quick and easy-to-use tool for communicating your likes and needs. As well, you’ll find a host of considerations listed that you’d probably miss if they weren’t pointed out to you. We recommend that you print one copy for yourself as a reference and then prepare a second copy for your landscaper.

Second, Collect Visual Ideas

We mentioned in a previous post on planning a rooftop garden that you may want to create a Pinterest Board or Houzz Idea Book to collect visual inspiration. Once you have mulled over your collection of inspirational ideas, you can print off the ones that contain elements you’d like to incorporate in your design.

Optional Third Step: Gather Your Property and Home Blueprints

If you have blueprints that show your property lines and home design, you can make copies and then draw out any initial thoughts of your own, if you have ideas and the motivation to do so. Alternately, you could use a tool like Google SketchUp or AutoCad to play around with designs. But remember: You can also rely on your landscape designer to do this work for you. Still, it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about your ideas if you have the time and inclination.

Next, Get a Landscape Designer Involved

Whittle down your list of prospective landscape professionals and reach out. Don’t be reluctant to share what your budget range is when you talk. Everyone has a budget, and you’ll need your team to work within those parameters. If you are thinking of doing the job in stages or think that you can do some of the work yourself, mention that.

Most (but not all) landscapers will provide hard copy design renderings and offer revamps of the ones they’ve created. Everyone works a little differently, so ask how your team handles planning, design work and design alterations.


Remember, if you need help, our team is highly experienced in patios, rooftop gardens, landscape design and greenroofts (see the services we offer for hardscaping). We’ll be happy to talk with you in person or over the phone to discuss how we can help you with your patio planning or outdoor overhaul.

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About The Author

Anne Roberts
Anne Roberts
Chicago Landscaper, Master Gardener, Green Roof Specialist & Degreed Horticulturist at Anne Roberts Gardens

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