DIY Landscape Design: Wants vs Needs

When creating a client's landscape design, I start with their wants and needs.  And, this is also the first step I recommend homeowners do if they want to DIY a landscape design for their own property!  

Knowing your wants and needs creates a foundation for the rest of the design process.  There are a lot of choice to make, and defining things up front gives you a framework that helps you all along the way.

Take A Walk, Create A List

This whole wants versus needs things starts with some writing, or perhaps a walk. Your goal is to make a list of all your landscape ideas.  All the things you'd like to change (or keep), all the things you like or dislike.  If you have trouble just sitting down and writing that list, I recommend taking a walk around your property for inspiration!

Let's say you take that walk, and you notice that there is a lot of noise coming from a busy road near your home.  You might write down "noise reduction" as something that is important to you.  

You continue walking around, and notice that there is a large swampy area close to your home, and you've also noticed that sometimes there's flooding in your basement near this area.  So, you write down "improve drainage near home." on your list.

Is It a Want? A Need? I Just Don't Know!

Out of these two, which are needs, and which are wants?  Well, it can be kind of subjective! If you spend a lot of time outside, and all the roadway noise is really impacting your quality of life and enjoyment of your home, then perhaps that is a need.  But, if you don't spend much time outside, and don't notice the noise from indoors, perhaps noise reduction is a want.

On the other hand, swampy areas in your yard that cause flooding into your basement is pretty serious! That kind of list item, the kind that relates to potential property damage, I almost always classify that as a need.  

It's All Very Subjective. . .Except When It Isn't

Wants and needs are subjective, but generally anything that puts you, your family, or your home in danger, or that's causing serious damage. . .those  kind of things are on the need side of the spectrum.

Things that you might like, or that would improve your property but don't represent a necessity. . .those are more on the want side of the spectrum.

What Comes After Wants and Needs?

A list of wants and needs is just the beginning, the first of several steps that will help you create a design.  I'll be covering each of those steps in future posts!


Linda KelsoComment