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Below are the seven most important things to consider when planning your new landscape.

As warmer weather arrives, garden fever takes hold and sure enough, eye-catching blooms from local nurseries and home improvement stores find their way into your cart.

But once you make it home you’re suddenly at a loss with what exactly to do with them. How much sun do they need? How much water? Ultimately, they end up getting planted without a real plan in place.

Over time, these impulsive and unplanned attempts create a hodgepodge landscape that can leave you wondering how to bring it all together. Our landscapes often become an afterthought when they can –and should– be an extension of our living space. 

Working with a licensed landscape architect to create a master plan will give you the knowledge you need to build your space purposefully and logically over time.

Designed and installed by Roussel Outdoors in 2018, this Uptown front yard features low maintenance planting.

What are your dream plans?

It’s important to step back and think about the overall form and function of your space. You can start by asking yourself, “how do I love to use my space?” You may envision a wonderful place to entertain, an outdoor kitchen, or a fun play space for the kids. More often than not, it’s a combination of several needs.

Figuring out how all of these different areas can work cohesively in one space can be overwhelming, and that’s where a professional can help.

Big things come in little packages

While a masterplan may sound like something reserved for large-scale projects, it’s often most important in smaller spaces, where utilizing every square foot is essential. A landscape architect can offer creative and effective solutions to make the most of your landscape.

Hidden issues

Other considerations include, “What are elements of your space that you want to preserve and what are issues that need to be addressed?” A cherished oak tree, drainage issues, or privacy concerns can inform how your plan will take shape. A landscape architect will also be able to identify issues a homeowner may not notice and take these items into account as well.

Measure twice, cut once

Once your dream list is done and a full site survey is completed, your landscape architect will create a masterplan drawing. This drawing will convey the shape and scale of the space. It is a broad look at the entire site and how all of these spaces will work together holistically.

Envisioning it all coming together will likely spark further discussion to hone in on just what works best for your family.

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Unique to you

Next comes the fun part. Your landscape architect can work with you to select hardscape and plant materials that will work best for your site conditions and particular design tastes and architectural style. Unique planting compositions, paired with stone or tile can give your space a unique identity. 

A fall color accent-garden or a spring pollinator-meadow aflutter with butterflies and songbirds can give your landscape a unique and personal feel.


Finally, with a plan in place, you will be able to get an overall construction budget for your plan and timeline for your project. You know the saying, ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’ Working with a professional will allow you to phase the work properly, so that you are never redoing a past project in order to begin the next phase.

The key takeaway here is: it doesn’t need to be done all at one time. Your needs and budget are key parts of your plan and should always be considered.

Enjoy your new space!

At the end of the process you are left with a game-plan and a space you can enjoy for many years to come. Whether you’re prepping your property for sale, accommodating for children or the elderly (or both!) or simply tired of not using your space, the smart way is to move forward with a plan.  And then feel free to grab those gorgeous looking flowers and put them right where you planned for them to go!  

Jason Roussel, owner, Roussel Outdoors, 981 Hickory Ave., Harahan, La. 504.353.1694     

Jason Roussel, owner of Roussel Outdoors.

Pilar Barnes, senior landscape architect with Roussel Outdoors.


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