Landscape Design: Dream Big, but Start out Small

Have you ever bitten off more than you can chew?  Creating or redesigning a landscape can feel overwhelming, particularly if the yard is large.

One way to avoid feeling overwhelmed when planning a landscape design is to dream big but start small. Think about what is needed right now; perhaps a fresh new entryway or a pleasant entertaining area.

Before and after of a backyard redo
Big alterations can be done to a yard by making a full plan but working on it pieces. Photo credit: Gregor Kovacic

Starting with a small area close to the house is a great way to start small. For instance, if there is an area in the back of the house where an eating or entertaining area is desired, start by answering these questions.

  • Where will the area be located?
  • How and where will the area be accessed from the house?
  • What will the area be used for?
  • How big does it need to be for the intended use(s)?
  • What elements are desired? Include size, shade, privacy and seating locations
  • What plants can be used? Remember to group plants with similar water needs and sun/shade requirements together.
  • What hardscape materials are desired?
  • Will you do it yourself or hire someone else to do it?


Landscape design plan with grass, trees, and a play set.
This “kid-friendly” design could be done in sections. The vegetable garden could be done the year and then following projects could happen over time. Photo credit: Conservation Garden Park

Additional Resources:

Find a QWEL Pro


Utah – Ready Made Plans


Florida – Starting your Landscape Design