landscaping plan

A Fresh Start by Brooke

It's already mid-January and it feels good to get a nice, clean start on everything.  And since we are not doing a whole lot of landscaping projects in the dead of winter (go figure, right?) it is a good time for me to start working on landscaping plans for the upcoming spring.  

Here is one I have been putting together lately.  Colored Landscaping Plans


Aren't these colored plans pretty?  Designing them in color makes a big difference, I think.  For this client, we are redoing the front walk and driveway areas, as well as the patio and retention walls.  Also, some planted terraces.  It's a very classic/formal style and I love how it is coming together.


Nice to add some color to a sometimes dreary time of year.

another mood board by Brooke

I have to admit, I love putting these together.  Here is a mood board from one of the landscaping projects we are working on now.  The plans for these projects always come in a few pieces.  The mood board (like this one), then the actual landscaping plans, as well as pictures and inspiration of the plants and trees we are using.  

This is usually the most fun part, looking at the features of the plan and finding pieces that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

inspiration board


1. I love these pavers.  This particular style is called Urbana Pavers.  Very beautiful.  We've used these on a number of our projects and are always happy with them.

2. Another option for pavers, particularly for the firepit area.

3. Large planters out front and around the house.  Great accent piece.

4. Fence.  I like the horizontal slats here.  Still a classic look but a bit more modern and interesting than the traditional vertical fence slats.

5. Pergola over the garage.

6. My client really wanted a fire pit with permanent outdoor seating.  I love this take on it.  Really creates an outdoor living space.

7. Raised garden boxes.

8. Boulder wall.

9. Love these stone steps and the flagstone.

10.  I designed this shed to have barn doors on either side so it's easy to move equipment or bikes in one door and out the other.


3D Models by Brooke

Normally, I always draw out my landscape plans by hand.  I love doing them this way.  They are more aesthetically pleasing.  Really, like a piece of art.  And more fun for me to do rather than using a computer program.  However, there are some aspects of landscape and design that a 3D model is much more useful.  And fun to do for a change, too.  

Like this one I have been working on for a client.

3D Model

A design plan for a pergola.  The 3D Model is nice here because it has a more engaging design and much easier to see the proportions (like with my lovely virtual model standing here).  It also ensures that the client and I understand the intentions perfectly.

And another one for the same project:

3D Model

You get the full effect here with raised planter boxes, pergola, arbor and fencing and various levels and heights of each.



Then, the inspiration photos for the project.  I like using these with the models because it adds life and personality.

Here, the raised planter boxes:

Planter box

See the fence here:

And the arbor:

The whole thing fits together so nicely, and the models help with scale and proportion.  So fun to see it all come together.

Landscaping dilemma: retention pond by Brooke

  One of my favorite things about landscape design is being forced to think. I like a good challenge. This home in Millville was certainly that. Here is what we were up against:

The home: a beautiful three-story house with a contemporary-classic style

The family: 4 young kids, 2 busy parents, and 1 dog.  Looking for outdoor space to send the kids and dog, as well as room to entertain company.

The dilemma: The backyard of this newly built home holds a retention pond to catch storm water and water runoff with a (ahem) lovely oversized drain. And this giant eyesore (as well as the retention pond itself) is required to stay in their backyard with lots and lots of restrictions by the city. What to do?


I admit, I spent a few sleepless nights tossing this one over. But I think we were all pleased with the end result.  So here is what we came up with:

First, we tried to use these restrictions to our advantage. Instead of trying to hide it, we decided to use the shape of the retention pond to become the usable space of their yard. So we put in some concrete walls but terraced them in two levels (so it didn't appear to be a massive concrete wall).

In between the levels, we put grass. Which is perfect for entertaining since the grass “steps” can double as lawn furniture. Because they have young kids, it also becomes a child's dream summer stage and play area. But with a sophisticated, classic look. The grass keeps maintenance low and softens the look.


The concrete also makes room for some planter boxes, so we could fill those with some nice boxwoods and beautiful spring snow crab trees, giving a formal, classic look.

We opted to do concrete walls on the east side only, to keep cost lows but more importantly to save the space from looking like an empty swimming pool.

Also we put in two sets of stairs for easy access to patio areas and lawn furniture. The wide stairs give a nice, dramatic look.

The result is a charming backyard with great space for young kids but still perfect for entertaining large groups.  Isn't it lovely?  I am picturing lots of casual summer parties and fourth of July barbecues but you could do something more formal, too -- like a wedding, I think.

Such great view.




Nice when it all comes together.