Landscape Project Planning
Designing and planning for your dream landscaped yard can be a daunting task. At Toemar, we have years of experience of helping our customers achieve the look they want for their yard. Read about our how to plan your landscaping project guide that we have put together for you to help you on your way.
If you still aren’t sure, bring in your plans and we can walk you through our outdoor patio gallery as well as talk you through your design from start to finish (at no additional cost)!
Before you Begin
Things for homeowners to consider before starting any project:
Gather information in regards to style and design. Here are some basic questions you should ask yourself.
- What do you want to accomplish?
- Who is the space for?
- How do you plan to use the space?
- Does it have multiple uses or a single purpose (e.g. driveway, walkway, or patio)
What are you willing to spend? Budgets do dictate that type of products you can use. Not to worry if you can’t use a certain product as there are alternatives to helping you achieve a similar look.
Start by gathering information about products and prices. For an example, all styles of interlocking pavers and walls vary in price (variable expenses) but base materials still remain the same under all circumstances (fixed expenses). Also take into account miscellaneous items to help complete your project such as equipment rentals, bins and accessories (miscellaneous expenses).
Not sure what things cost? Come visit us at Toemar and ask.
Nothing beats a visual representation of what you want accomplish. Start with drawing boxes with measurements on a piece of paper to help you get a birds view of the end goal.
Layer on other ideas that you have to bring your vision a bit closer to reality. For example, if you start off with patio, consider adding a wall or pathway to give your garden some definition.
It is also best to use pencil and paper to allow for the greatest amount of freedom while you sketch away. Also don’t worry if it looks perfect or not. The purpose is to provide an idea of what may or may not work.
Measure all aspects of the project such as length, width, height and depth. Depth may be required if you are building a wall or landscaping on a slope.
Another pointer is to try to keep all your measurements on the same scale. If you are using imperial system, stick with feet and inches. If you are using the metric system, use meters and centimeters.
Consistent units of measurements makes it easy to estimate the amount of material you need.
There are two ways you can get a quote:
- Visit Toemar with your plan and we can help you with getting an estimation of your landscape plan. If you do plan to visit, come prepared with your plan to speak to one of our associates. It will help you help us get to your estimation faster.
- Alternatively, use our online estimation tool. You need to make sure that you have a sketched plan with dimensions. Select the product and enter the dimensions of the area to get an estimated cost.
Once you have your estimation and have confirmed your plan, order your products well in advance of your project start date. This ensures that you’ll be able to complete the project straight through without the need to wait for additional materials arrive. This will save you time, money and avoid frustration.
Contact us to get an estimation of delivery times.
Before you start your project make sure you have the following basic items.
- Tape Measure
- String Line
- Spray Paint (inverted marking paint)
- Wheelbarrow or Muck Truck (motorized wheelbarrow with a large capacity – 3 times)
- Skid Steer (optional)
- Hand Tamper or Plate Vibrator (Compactor)
- Steel Rake
- 3’ Landscape Rake
- Cut-off Saw or Table Saw
- Rubber Mallet
- 3′ or 4’ long piece of lumber (2 x 4”)
- Knee pads
- Paint Rollers with Paint Trays
- Pump Sprayer (for finishing sealer)
- Leaf blower (removing debris)
Before you purchase any landscaping materials, you need to understand how much to purchase. These are the two basic calculations you will need to make to provide a proper estimation.
Square footage refers to the area of material as determined by length and width (L x W).
Cubic yards refers to the square footage with the added dimension of depth/height (L x W x H).
Take the length and multiply it by the width (ex: 10 feet x 12 feet = 120 square feet). From here you can take the square footage and apply it to the desired interlocking paver.
Take the square footage and multiply it by the depth (in inches) and divide that number by 300 (ex: 120 square feet x 4 inches = 480. Take 480 ÷ 300 = 1.6 cubic yards. of 3/4” Crush Run). Before you come up with the final amount consider settling and compaction of 10-15% (ex: 1.6 cubic yards + 15% = 1.84 cubic yards)… by simply rounding up 1.84 to the nearest ½ cubic yard, now you know to order 2 cubic yards of 3/4” Crush Run.
Installing Interlocking Pavers & Retaining Walls
With every project, there is always a base (foundation). The base is the foundation of every project. It is what keeps your project from crumbling apart shortly after installation and becoming a hazard.
Warning: Bypassing the base installation runs the risk of your project failing after one freeze/thaw cycle (winter). You will begin to see that your patio looks uneven or your wall begins to sag or fall over.
- Dig/excavate sanctioned area at the appropriate depth taking into account the application. A driveway will require a minimum of 10 to 12 inches where a walkway or patio will require a minimum of 6 inches.
- Begin to fill up excavated area with the appropriate aggregate.
- Grade the aggregate/base materials with a steel rake and or 3’ landscape rake
- In a series of layers begin to compact the aggregate/base materials using a plate vibrator/compactor or hand tamper.
- For interlocking pavers be sure to check the grade using a level, the area should slope away from the house to the proper exit points (i.e. property lines or catch basins), IF YOU ARE INSTALLING A WALL THE BASE UNDERNEATH THE WALL SHOULD BE 100% LEVEL.
- When you are satisfied with the level and surface of the compacted sub base begin to level out the fine grade.
- The fine grade or bedding should be worked with a 3’ landscape rake or flat edge piece of lumber. Be very intricate at this stage, it is best to be working at ground level to ensure proper level.
- Using string lines and a square, begin to set up the desired starting points.
- If installing pavers with various sizes, segregate all sizes/shapes to avoid problems with ratios.
- Lay the first set of pavers or tiles and work in an outwards direction (ex: from the foundation of the home outwards).
- Check the initial starting point with a square to ensure you have a perfect 90°.
- Install all pavers or tiles and leave all cuts to the very end of the installation.
- Continuously check lines, this will ensure everything is lined up the more you progress outwards, the use of a rubber mallet will help to straighten and tighten up lines.
- Cut pavers at the very end of the project using a cut-off saw or table saw.
- Install Aluminum or Plastic Edge for paver/tile restraint (using spikes).
- Install Polymeric Sand using a broom and then apply water on the surface using a garden hose. The recommended installation temperature is 10° C or higher.
- Apply Sealer to the interlocking pavers or tiles after 30 to 60 days of the initial installation using a paint roller and or pump sprayer. The recommended installation temperature is 10° C or higher.
- Using a string line, begin to set up desired shape and starting point.
- Install all bottom units one block at a time.
- Place a level on the bottom unit, adjust accordingly using a rubber mallet before installing the next bottom unit.
- Leave cutting to the completion of the layer.
- Backfill every layer using 3/4” Clear Gravel, this will add stability and strength to the bottom units.
- Once the first layer is complete begin to install the second layer (if needed) of bottom units.
- You can check the level at this point but all of the work should have been completed on layer one.
- Be sure to stager the next set of bottom units to avoid a block directly on top of a block, this will ensure stability of the wall.
- Make all the cuts necessary to complete final layer.
- Place coping/cap units on the bottom units.
- Make final cuts on coping/cap.
Use adhesive to bound coping/cap units to the bottom units, surface must be free of dust and moisture to ensure the perfect bond.
How to Plan Your Landscaping Projects
Whether you are completely redesigning your landscape or simply making a few changes, planning your landscaping project is a key factor to success and saving time and money.
Heading straight to your local landscape supply store to browse various hardscape products such as interlocking with a plan created beforehand will help you chose the be landscaping products that will best fit your needs and thrive in your yard.
While its tempting to just go out and buy what you see in an outdoor showroom, you’ll soon realize that the product you wanted may not fit into the overall vision for your yard. Avoid this costly mistake and think about these 5 tips for every landscape project.
#1 Understanding your Yard
Before you start planning the gardens, landscape, and other features of your property, you should also start thinking about the position of your home in your area. There are many things that determine the topography of your land as well as the soil type, among them your local climate and the macro-nutrients.
Keep in mind that for a particular yard, there are probably specific conditions that go into it being able to create a hypo-temperature microclimate. Since these conditions are influenced by numerous factors such as the amount and the length of sun and shade exposure the yard receives,
A plant’s microclimatic zone is composed of four general conditions: full sun, part sun, shaded and deeply shaded. Take note of the microclimate of your natural studies when selecting landscape plants.
Your topography and your plumbing plans should be considered when you design. Since your planting should aide in water movement and the landscape should drain itself if used in conjunction with your irrigation system, making these other considerations helps prevent costly landscaping mistakes.
#2 Who Uses the Yard
Think of who will be using your yard. Do you have pets? Children? Are you expecting people to visit you in your yard? Remember you can create a design for different uses in your yard like different spaces for relaxing, cooking, eating, entertaining, and working by planting trees and planting shrubs and flowers. or other landscape element like waterfall rocks. Pathways can also be designed to move people from one area to another with ease.
#3 What’s the Theme or “Look”?
A theme can help guide your landscape decisions and make your yard more cohesive. A cohesive design can really elevate not only your peace of mind, but also the value of your property. So, for example, you could create a comfortable section with a distinct color scheme, theme, and material to create in essence a central region in your yard, with more open space around an interesting, focal point.
Start with how the architecture of your home looks. It is very important to choose a theme for your yard, in a way that complements, or balance’s the architecture of your residence.
Landscape style is about the purpose of the space, as well as its main features. For example, you might look for bright, bold colors in a space where you place flowers. This style should not only be unified but should match the overall goal of your garden.
If you are interested in a cohesive yard design, you should first begin by figuring out what characteristics make your home and its design. You can also be inspired by what you see in yards or gardens next to your own, as they tend to mirror our own design choices.
The themes of a yard can guide you in selecting your hardscape and plants. Will you decorate your garden almost entirely with specific colors? Plants with enormous growth habits will require very specific and limiting guides when you lay them in the ground.
#4 Creating and Linking Spaces
Maximizing the space in your yard means you need to change the way you think about it. Consider the yard like another room(s) or an extension of your home. It should be well defined and planned so that you can use each space in yard to create a single room or multiple rooms.
Once you create these “rooms”, do not forget to forget to think about how you’ll link your spaces. How will people move from one area of your yard to another? Create openings to encourage exploration in your yard and keep people moving throughout the landscape.
#5 Make your plants and hardscape work for you
Early in your planning you should determine how your plants and other landscaping elements like pillars or garden walls will function in your landscape. Plants can be used in a number of ways, they can provide you with fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables, beautiful scenery, lovely aromas, and much more.
Hardscape elements like pillar caps and garden walls can be used as barriers to define areas within your landscape as well as identify where your landscape ends. Using these elements, you can create both physical and visual barriers in your landscape by blocking sight lines and/or access to an area. It is also possible to keep views open, but using low growing plants or low level walls to block access.
Consider where you place these elements can also affect temperature, light levels, wind, and sound in your landscaped area.