Your 2021 Landscape Design Planner

Outdoor oasis by Belgard with brick fireplace, seating area and pergola
This landscape design planner is the interactive help you need to outline your vision for a new dream getaway in your own yard and garden. We’ve broken it down into categories: Lawn/Garden, Hardscape, Kids/Pets, Outdoor Kitchens, Water Features and Fire Features. Consider these questions and get your creative juices flowing. Use this planner to partner with a professional for the bigger projects on your wish list.



Beautiful landscape design with plants from Pike Nursery

Before deciding what to plant, the experts at Pike Nurseries recommend homeowners
get acquainted with their landscape to determine their sun exposure.
Pictured above are plant varieties that require full (six to eight hours) to partial sun (three to six hours).
Foreground: Hosta “August Moon,” caladium “Classic Pink,” vinca, crossandra, celosia and coleus “Kong Jr.”

Background: Rudbeckia, coneflowers and verbena.


Overview – What’s Your Landscape Design Vision

What is the size of the proposed project’s area in square feet?
______Front yard   sq. ft.   _____Back yard   sq. ft.  _____Side yards   sq. ft.
Do you plan to use the outdoor space for:
____Parties or gatherings:
____Less than 10 guests:   _____Seated   ____Unseated
____10–30 guests:    _____Seated   ____Unseated
____More than 30 guests: #   ____Seated   ____Unseated
Outdoor kitchen/grill area
____Patio with seating (for how many people?)
____Quiet meditation.    ____Yard for pets
____Children’s garden or play area.  ____Pool  ____Spa
____Containers with plants
____Garden space to grow: ____Herbs ____Cut flowers ____Vegetables/fruit
____Outdoor games or sports (please list)
If you have a budget in mind, what is it? 
Do any of your family members suffer from allergies?   Yes   No
Does anyone who will use the site have mobility issues (use a stroller or wheelchair)?   Yes   No
Will your yard need to be fenced for safety or privacy?   Yes   No
Any noise issues (loud neighbors, busy streets)?   Yes   No
Is there a need to block any undesirable views from your property?   Yes   No
Are your property lines agreed upon by your neighbors and the city?   Yes   No
Are there any buried utilities on the property (septic systems or utility lines)?   Yes   No
Do you want an outdoor sound system?   Yes   No
What is the sun exposure in your yard (full sun, partial shade, full shade)?
Front yard       Back yard         Side yards
Does sun exposure cause problems inside the house (like too much heat from south-facing windows)?   Yes   No
Does sun exposure limit outdoor use (too hot to play outside, too shady to grow vegetables)?   Yes   No 
What time of day will the site be used most?
What are the primary materials used in the existing landscape and/or exterior of your home?
____Natural stone
____Fiber cement siding
____Vinyl siding
____Cedar shingle siding
____Wood clapboard siding Aluminum or steel
What elements would most help improve the curb appeal of your home?
____Improved lawn
____Hardscape repair
____New hardscape
____New landscape design

Well maintained turf, from Super-Sod, around pool

Choose turfgrasses that withstand active playing, possibly to the point of wearing down.
TifTuf Bermuda grass or Zenith and Zeon (pictured above) zoysia can handle high traffic
and quickly grow back to fix any damage that occurs.
Learn more by searching “pools” at

Lawn/Garden Landscape Design

What do you like about your existing landscape?
Are there existing plants that you want to stay in the yard?   Yes   No
What plants do you want removed?
What don’t you like about your existing landscape?
____overgrown plants   ____dated architectural elements 
Are there other features you want addressed?
____unusable steep space
____drainage issues  
What are your favorite flower colors?
Is there wildlife you want to keep out of your yard?
____coyotes  ____snakes   ____raccoons     ____possums    
____moles/voles     ____deer
Is there wildlife you want to encourage coming to your yard?
____birds   ____hummingbirds   ____butterflies   ____bees    
____squirrels   ____deer
Are there pests you want to discourage?
____ants   ____bees   ____cockroaches   ____spiders  
____mosquitoes   ____flies   Other
How much gardening work will you likely do yourself?
____I won’t do anything myself
____I will hire someone to do some tasks, like mowing
____I will do it all myself 
Which, if any, of the following edible garden options do you want?
____Vegetable garden    ____Herb garden    ____Fruit trees
How much turfgrass (if any) do you want in your yard?
____Front yard    ____ % of the yard          
____Back yard    ____% of the yard 
Do you want an evergreen lawn, or is a lawn that goes dormant (turns brown) in winter OK?
Do you have an irrigation system?   Yes   No
Is it working correctly?   Yes   No
Do you need a new irrigation system installed?   Yes   No
Prioritize the following landscape items as
(1) very important    (2) important    (3) not important:
  ____Drought-tolerant plants
  ____Native plants
  ____Low-maintenance plants
  ____Fruit-bearing plants
  ____Organic and/or vegetable/fruit
  ____Food and habitat for pollinators and birds
  ____Eco-friendly landscape (i.e., reducing water, fertilizers,pesticides and mowing)
What water-saving features most interest you?
____Planting groundcover to reduce water needs
____Installing a rainwater-catch system
____Installing a greywater-capture system

Hardscape Design

(Man-made parts of the landscape)
Are there existing hardscape features in your yard that must stay in the design?   Yes   No
Do you prefer a type of paving material?
____Stamped with patterns
____Glossy finish
____Matte finish
____Natural shapes
____Cut stone (squares or rectangles)
____Decomposed granite (ground gravel)
Describe the colors, texture and style of the furniture you want to use in the space (either existing or new).

Planning Your Landscape Design to Accommodate Your Kids/Pets

How many children will use the space and what are their ages?
What activities do your kids enjoy?
If any, what sports will be played in the yard?
Do you have playground equipment already?   Yes   No
Do you want new play equipment?   Yes   No
Do any of these options for play areas interest you?
____Natural boulders to climb
____Tree swing or rope to climb
____Sandbox (with a lid if you have pets)
____Sidewalk or path for tricycle/bicycle use
____Inground wading pool or freestanding pool
____Basketball hoop
____Batting cages/goal nets
Will pets use the area?   Yes   No
Describe the breed, age and size of your pets:  Dog    Cat
Describe your pet’s habits (i.e., the dog digs or the cat gets stuck in trees).
Are there any pet habits that you want to discourage?

Planning for an Outdoor Kitchen in Your Landscape Design

How often do you cook outdoors?
____Rarely—I just want a gathering place for entertainment
____Occasionally, in nice weather
____Often, in nice weather
____Several times a week no matter what the weather
____As often as possible
Do you want the outdoor kitchen to be adjacent to your house or out in the yard?
Is the area where you envision the outdoor kitchen already plumbed for:
____Water.    ____Electrical      ____Gas
Will you need storage for:
____Dishes or linens
____Cooking ingredients and supplies
____Wood for oven or fireplace
What countertop material do you prefer?
____Natural stone
____Stainless steel
____Eco-friendly materials
What wall material do you prefer?
____Natural stone  ____Brick  ____Tile
____Stucco. ____ Wood
Will you need cold and hot runnning water at a sink?   Yes   No
What type of cooking unit would you like?
____Pizza oven
____BBQ grill
____Traditional oven 
____Traditional stove with _____ burners
Do you want an outdoor refrigerator/freezer?   Yes   No
If so, how many cubic feet of capacity do you need?
Do you want beverage storage or service in the outdoor kitchen?
____Wine/beer storage or service
____Undercounter fridge for snacks/drinks
Will you serve food or drinks at a:
____Patio table   ____Bar counter
What heating elements appeal to you?
____Permanent overhead heaters
____Freestanding (portable) heaters
____Wood-burning fireplace in the outdoor kitchen
Will your outdoor kitchen need sun/rain protection?   Yes   No
____Partially open roof     ____Solid roof
Would you want a misting system for cooling?   Yes   No
Will you want an integrated TV/sound system in the outdoor kitchen?   Yes   No

Water Features Landscape Design

Will you use a new pool or spa for:
____Exercise   ____Relaxation   ____Entertaining
Are you interested in these optional extras?
____Waterfall     ____Fountain
____Diving board or slide    ____Grotto
____Safety fence   ____Integrated fire feature
____TV/sound system.   ____Cabana/bathroom
____Saltwater pool   ____Vanishing-edge pool
How many people will use the pool or spa at one time?
Where in the yard will the new water feature be placed?
Will messy trees or plants impact the area near the pool?   Yes   No

How to Incorporate Fire pits and Fireplaces in Your Landscape Design

Do you want a: Firepit or a Fireplace
How many people will be seated nearby to enjoy the fire’s warmth or ambiance?
Will you use furniture for seating or do you want built-in seating?
____Furniture     ____Built-in seating
What fuel source do you prefer for the fire feature?
____Real wood logs   ____Natural gas
____Hidden propane tank
Do you have kids or pets that need to be protected from the fire element (say, by a hearth)?   Yes   No
Would you like a firepit that is:
____Flush with the ground  ____Raised   ____Portable
Do you want a fire feature that:
____Connects with the patio or other hardscape?
____Stands alone and is placed out in the yard?
____Is covered by a patio cover or pergola?
What optional extras would you consider for your fire feature?
____Fire/water combination (fire feature with an integrated fountain, for instance)
____Hearth for seating


The plants and their blooming seasons to beautify your landscape design

Full-Sun Flowering Perennials for Your Garden

The plantAchillea — Summer
Alyssum — Spring
Artemisia — Summer
Asclepias — Summer
Aster  — Summer/Fall
Buddleia — Summer/Fall
Caryopteris — Summer
Ceratostigma — Summer
Chrysogonum — Spring/Summer
Coreopsis — Summer
Delphinium — Spring/Summer
Dianthus — Spring/Summer
Foxglove — Spring
Gaillardia — Summer/Fall
Gaura — Summer
Goldenrod — Summer/Fall
Gypsophila — Summer/Fall
Hemerocallis — Summer
Hollyhock — Spring/Summer
Lantana — All year
Liatris — Summer/Fall
Peony — Spring
Salvia — Summer/Fall
Sedum — Spring/Fall
Shasta Daisy — Summer
Swamp — Sunflower Fall
Verbena — Spring/Fall

Best Time to Plant Spring Veggie Seeds

Beans – Mar. 27–Apr. 4
Cantaloupe – Mar. 13–27
Carrots – Feb. 14–Mar. 13
Corn – Mar. 27–Apr. 10
Cucumbers – Mar. 27–Apr. 10
Eggplant (seedlings) – Mar. 27–Apr. 10
Lettuce – Feb. 14–Mar. 13
Mustard (seedlings) – Feb. 28–Mar. 13
Okra – Mar. 27–Apr. 10
Peas (Southern) – Mar. 27–Apr. 24
Peppers (seedlings) – Mar. 27–Apr. 10
Pumpkins – Mar. 27–Apr. 10
Radishes – Feb. 11–Apr. 10
Spinach – Feb. 11–Mar. 13
Squash – Mar. 27–Apr. 10
Sweet Potatoes (seedlings) – Mar. 27–Apr. 17
Tomatoes (seedlings) – Mar. 27–Apr. 10
Watermelon – Mar. 27–Apr. 10 

Landscape Design – What is the best turfgrass for your lifestyle?

• Requires less water
• Does best in full sun
• Fine, bright green color
• Recovers fast from traffic
• Easy to maintain
• Requires regular water
• Great for sun or shade
• Fine bright-green blades are soft underfoot
• Stays green over a long season
• Requires regular water
• More shade tolerant than other varieties
• Slow growing (hence the name), so needs less mowing
• Chokes out competing weeds
• Very drought and heat tolerant
• Can take moderate shade
• Good traffic tolerance
• Green throughout the year

Outdoor Living Trends

Home is where the hearth is
Modern outdoor living combines these two traditions into one with outdoor fireplaces and firepits. This trend will continue to be one of the fastest growing phenomenons in outdoor living for 2017. 
Mimicking the indoor environment
Outdoor living room designs continue to mimic the look of their indoor counterparts, including furniture design, lighting fixtures, decorative accessories and flooring. Expect to see an increase in the popularity of larger format pavers with natural textures and design elements.
Rise of the outdoor chef
Expect to see an increase in brick ovens as more homeowners learn that these attractive fixtures can be used for more than just cooking pizza, but can actually function as a full-use outdoor oven.
Turns out, it is easy being “green”
As homeowners learn about the benefits of permeable pavers, the trend is beginning to make its way into the residential arena, particularly for driveways, and is expected to continue to grow. 

Outdoor Grill Guide

• Propane cylinder is cost-effective, but pay attention! It can run out just when you need it the most!
• Cost: $140 to $3,000
• Easy to adjust grill temps
• Little wait time for grill to be ready
• Considered to offer the best flavor for food
• Cost: $100 to $400
• Briquettes provide consistent heat
• Lighting fluid can be dangerous to use
• Longest heat time of any type of grill
Wood Pellet
• Pellets are eco-friendly and energy efficient
• Smoke from wood infuses food with flavor
• Cost: $600 to $2,500
• Even temperature distribution
• Never run out of fuel—heat source is home’s electricity
• Cost: $170 to $250
• Safe for use in small spaces or balcony
• Not as easy to adjust heat temp quickly
• Cook with gas or charcoal—offers more food flavor options
• Cost: $300 to $3,000
• Gas option allows fast startup
• Doesn’t get as hot as gas grills

Friends enjoy their pool area while sitting on bean bag furniture

Make the most of Mother Nature with a modern outdoor bean bag furniture line featuring
sunshine-safe Sunbrella® fabric.
This covetable collection provides a seating experience
that matches the beauty of the outdoors. Turn your patio into the

go-to spot for outdoor entertaining that you’ll be eager to show off to friends and family.



What’s Hot in Pools and Spas in 2021


These water features are much smaller than traditional swimming pools, but are longer than the usual spa. Strong jets of water allow the user to swim “upstream” to get a workout in a relatively small area. The temperature can be kept cooler than a spa so that the swimmer isn’t uncomfortable but, post-workout, you can raise the water temperature and relax those tired muscles.

Lounge Ledge

This simple feature lets you stay cool and soak up the sun. It’s perfect for reading a book while dipping your toes or giving your little ones a spot to splash in. You can also purchase specially made lounge chairs that sit partially below the water’s edge, while keeping the rest of you nice and dry.

Fire/Water Feature Combo

A fire feature incorporated into a pool design makes perfect sense. What’s better than a nighttime dip lit by the glow of a firepit or fireplace? When the temps plummet, you can still enjoy the water’s edge with a fire feature that has seating for everyone, whether you’re roasting s’mores or warming your feet by the fire.

Tile Inlay

Give your pool some pop by installing a tile inlay. Available in fun colors and plenty of beautiful patterns, this is a simple way to bring some of your own style to your pool. Darker shades and hues of blue and green are predicted to make a big comeback.

Is It Time to Remove Your Tree?

“Sick trees can often be saved,” says Chris Heim, district manager and certified arborist for the Davey Tree Expert Company in Atlanta, “but a damaged or dead tree on your property that goes unaddressed is a serious safety risk. Homeowners may be surprised to know that with a few easy steps each spring, you can play an important role in keeping your trees healthy.”

So how to determine whether you and your tree are going through a rough patch, or whether your tree has a serious issue and it’s time to “break up?” In as little as 15 minutes, homeowners can do an easy four-step inspection to spot some of the major signs of tree health problems.

The key is being able to tell the difference between a dead and declining tree by using your eyes and hands to spot common issues.


Step 1: Scratch beneath the surface. Using a knife or your fingernail, scratch a twig of the tree. If it’s moist and green underneath, your tree’s alive. If it’s brown and brittle, try scraping a few more twigs to see if any are with fresh, moist green underneath. If there’s no green to be found, your tree is likely sick or dying.

Step 2: Find the root. Start low and take a look at the base of your tree. Examine the tree’s roots, seeking out any soft spots, decay, mushrooms or other fungi as these are signs of rot.

Step 3: Check the support. The next step is to examine the tree’s collar, the area where the trunk and roots meet at the soil surface. Pull back the grass to scan for any signs of decay. If the bark is missing, falling off or broken, that’s an indicator that your tree needs attention.

Step 4: Take a good look. Scan for any large cracks or splits in the trunk, these indicate structural weakness in the tree and require careful evaluation.
Trunk swelling, which is an overgrowth area of bark, is also a sign of advanced decay. Determining the extent of deterioration is a task best left to a certified arborist, who can use tools and expert knowledge to assess.

If any of the above steps revealed an issue, you’ll need to know the potential hazard and figure out the best next steps. A certified arborist can determine whether the tree can be saved and support you in removing or replacing dead or decaying trees. This important work will ensure that your yard is healthy and vibrant when spring rolls around.

Have more questions about your trees’ health? Chris Heim and the Davey Tree Expert Company are here to help.

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