What are landscape plans?

Article By:

Principal | Chief Executive Officer

Have you ever wondered how college campuses, playgrounds, and the functional parks in your locality were built? 

Well, it was built on paper before the foundation was even laid on the ground. In other words, a floor plan was created for the outdoor space using scaled dimensions. Natural and man-made elements were then added to the layout to create a structural design. 

Using this design plan as a reference, engineers and skilled construction site workers brought the vision and idea to life. What am I referring to? A landscape plan!

In this guide, I’ll be explaining all about landscape plans, their basic definition, and their uses in landscape architecture. Furthermore, I’ll be highlighting the importance of having a landscape architect create a landscape plan.

Let’s get right to it!

What is a landscape plan?

Let me start by addressing the question, which forms the primary basis of this guide. Landscape plans are a set of technical drawings used to communicate the construction and design created by a landscape architect or a team of architects.

When supplemented with other drawings like sections, elevation details, images, perspectives and other diagrams, they serve as detailed visual representations. In fact, architects might also include natural elements like trees and grass along with man-made elements like sheds and furniture to provide a proper layout of the space.

Landscape plans and their uses

If you ask me, landscape plans can help provide structure to the sparking ideas of architects, giving them the power to start and finish a project. They make the construction process efficient and allow you to envision an outcome devoid of errors.

That said, here are a few areas where creating an architectural plan will prove beneficial:

1. Schematic design development-construction process

Landscape plans help architects describe their ideas in the form of a 3D design. Accordingly, the project team can determine the layout, scale and physical requirements of commercial or residential outdoor space. 

This also makes prioritizing resources and allocating them as per the development and construction requirements easy.  

Furthermore, the schematic design facilitates conversations between the client and the architectural team. The pros and cons of the design are discussed;

2. Raising awareness

Think about it; how can you present ideas without visual representation? As a landscape designer myself, I know the importance of promoting my work. And landscape plans have helped me do just that. 

The designs and layouts interpreted on paper can help educate the community on the role played by landscape architecture in the physical well-being and quality of life. Of course, it also explains the contrast between the design and natural elements of the surrounding, including plants and water features. 

3. Raising excitement

You might create one of the best design plans in your head, sparking excitement from within. But you can’t really expect the same level of excitement from clients unless they can visualize your landscape design. The only way to do this is by creating a proper landscape plan so that clients know what they are in for and what they can expect. 

4. Acquiring funding

Every project requires adequate funding for completion and with landscape plans, architects can reach out to the required sources to gain those resources. The designs and layout can aid decision-making when it comes to investing in materials, tools, equipment and other components for the construction process. 

Consequently, you’ll have a cost estimate to move forward with, allowing you to complete the project within the budget constraints.

5. City approval

Landscape projects require permits; in other words, you’ll need to seek approval from the authorities to construct.  A landscape plan will help prove that the project meets the standard rules and regulations. 

Then again, make sure that the design plan is in line with the regulations set by the state or city. For that, it’s crucial to hire a landscape architect for the job; they’ll be able to find creative ways to acquire city approval without compromising on the vision.

Why is it important for a landscape architect on the team to create a landscape plan?

You must be wondering - why is it that only a landscape architect can/should create the landscape plan? Well, to address this query, I’ll have to explain the difference between an architect and a landscape architect.

First things first, keep in mind that while an architect specializes in designing buildings, interior spaces and construction; landscape architects work with the outdoor realm of architecture. In other words, they specialize in striking a balance between nature and architectural structures to add value to the outdoor private or public space.

Being architects of spaces between spaces, landscape architects know how to go about creating areas from busy, bustling squares to serene gardens. Whether it’s to create design plans to conserve water resources in drought-prone areas or create green roofs to reduce air and water pollution, landscape architects can do it all.

Final thoughts

Even if you understand the outdoor property’s basic permit requirements, creating a landscape plan is important. Of course, you’ll need to add a landscape architect to your team for that. 

They know the rules and how to add value to the landscape in a creative way. Once the project is handed over, the architect will make it a point to understand the surroundings. Taking slopes, soil, trees, and the natural water features into account, they will create a landscape plan that will bring ideas to life. 

Moreover, the design plan will help allocate space and resources without compromising on any aspect. This, in turn, will leave no room for error during the final outcome of the project.

Feel free to share your thoughts on landscape architecture in the comment section down below.

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