Plan Your Planting
Ready to start your H2Overhaul?
Learn how to plan and design your own water-wise landscape with these step-by-step instructions.
|Use Google Earth, or any online map app, to get a birds-eye view of your property.|
|Print it out and place tracing paper over the image.|
|With a pencil, trace a map of your property, including large structures, and any existing plants, trees, shrubs and features you’d like to keep.|
|Mark changes in grade (for example, where there is a hill or a slope) and draw contour lines on the land areas. You’ll need this to plan proper drainage.|
|Be sure to also mark your irrigation layout, too. Click here for more on irrigation.|
Your new landscape or garden area will need to be on a different irrigation zone from the rest of the lawn due to lower water requirements. Choose a section of your lawn that:
- Can easily be converted to a drip system using a drip conversion kit.
- Is tough to keep green, or is rarely used by kids and/or pets.
- Could be a nice spot to enjoy in a new way! (For example, a garden or entertainment space.)
Make it yours.
Think about what’s important to you and what you like to do in your yard and then design a landscape that’s a perfect fit.
Some landscapes require lots of maintenance. If you don’t have much time for that sort of thing, go easy on yourself! Look for lower-maintenance options, there are plenty to choose from.
Follow the sun.
Note the amount of sun your landscape will receive throughout the day (full, partial or shade) and select plants that will do well in the amount of sun they will be exposed to.
Group plants with similar water and sun requirements to save water and help plants reach their full potential.
Choose a space where plants won’t be exposed to too much wind, moisture or sun, based on their needs.
Design with the future in mind.
Remember, plants grow! Plan a landscape that allows room for mature-sized plants, trees and shrubs, as well as existing or added irrigation systems and mulch.
Work with what you already have.
Design your landscape around large trees or interesting features that already exist. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater so to speak. (We could use that bathwater!)
Keep your mind and your options open.
Use your tracing paper to draw a few alternate designs of the map you made in Step 1. Don’t be afraid to edit or make mistakes, it’s all part of the creative process! It’s easier to erase on paper, than to correct mistakes after the fact.
Add your largest features first. Draw in trees, shrubs and hardscapes, then fill in open areas with smaller plants, native grasses and accents like boulders or benches. Check out Plants & Alternative Turf to find options that are just the right size.
Plant outside the lines.
Create visual interest by adding curves and nonlinear elements your design.
Keep a schedule.
Create a timeline for each phase of your H2Overhaul, from sod removal through final planting. (Some methods of sod removal take longer than others. Check out Removing Your Turf for options.)
Plant Select’s local designers provide sample free, downloadable water-wise garden designs with plant lists.
CSU Extension’s Sustainable Landscape guide to creating balance with the local climate with minimal resource inputs.
Better Homes & Garden’s Free Garden Planning App.
Free Online or Downloadable Garden Planning Programs.
Apple App – Home Outside: Landscape Design for Everyone.