Preparing For My Meeting With The Landscape Designer

Hey there! I didn’t intentionally ghost y’all last week. 😀 Tuesday was my birthday, and we had some plans for that, and then I had other fun things planned throughout the week. So I just gave up on the idea of working on the house and having progress to share with you. But I did get back to working on the bathroom on Saturday and Sunday, so progress is being made. But today is my meeting with the landscape designer, and I’m so excited to hand over my jumbled mess of ideas and see how he puts them together and makes sense of them.

I was working on the bathroom yesterday, and around 7:30pm, I had a bit of a panic. I realized that I had nothing on paper (or online) to show the landscape designer the future plans we have for the house as it relates to the lot. And I didn’t have that because I didn’t even know that information myself. I mean, I have general ideas, but nothing really concrete. But the last thing I want is for someone to hand me landscaping ideas based on what the back of our house and our empty lot looks like right now since we have so many changes planned.

This is what our house looks like now…

floor plan - 2-2021 - current

But that little room off of the master bathroom was the original master bathroom, and it’s actually completely closed off now. There’s no way to access it from inside the house, but it’ll stay there until we build the addition. And then that huge sunroom will also be torn down.

After those are removed, we’ll add on a new master bedroom, laundry room, and family/media room. So the floor plan will eventually look like this…

So I wanted to get an idea of the new layout in relation to the lot size, including things that I hadn’t really nailed down, like a deck. And since we’re keeping the carport as a carport, I needed to decide where I want to eventually build my workshop. (Note: There’s always confusion about my studio vs. my workshop. The studio is where I have my home office area, and where I work on projects like sewing, art, etc. The workshop is where my woodworking tools will go — saws, sanders, etc. Anything that produces sawdust and mess will go in the workshop.)

After taking some very rough measurements of our lot (which is not easy to do with a 20-foot tape measure on a one-acre lot 😀 ), I got out my graph paper and started drawing. Here’s what I came up with…

Where the back of our house currently has a lot of angles and turns, the final layout will be squared off on the back. And then off of the back of the house, I want a large deck that can be accessed from the French doors in the master bedroom as well as the French doors in the family/media room.

The driveway was originally pretty short, and was just a straight shot from the street to the front of the studio, which was originally the garage. So the new driveway (which I’m pretty sure will be gravel) will have to curve around to the side of the house, missing a pecan tree that sits to the right (and that I hope to keep since it still produces lots of pecans), to the side of the house, to the carport, and even way beyond to the workshop. Now you see why it would cost a fortune to use concrete for all of that. 🙂

As far as the workshop goes, I’d like it to be about 20′ x 30′. I’d like the back of it that faces the driveway and side fence to have a garage door on it so that I can easily get large items like full sheets of plywood/MDF into the workshop from the truck. And then I’d like a side door that’s a straight shot from the back French doors in the studio for easy access that way. And then I’d like the “front” of the workshop to face towards the yard with a very cute front door, maybe a little porch, windows, etc. I want it to look like a little cottage sitting there facing the in towards the open area in the back yard.

And then you can see the walking trail circling the whole lot. I still have my heard set on that. I can envision flower beds, sitting areas, etc., all along that walking trail.

So hopefully this will give the landscape designer a jumping off point, and he can help me fill in the rest. And of course, he can tell me what kinds of plants I need to put all throughout, because that’s where I get completely lost. I don’t know plants at all, and I have no idea what will grow where. I’m in desperate need of some professional help. 😀



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  1. When discussing landscaping along the path go for bushes, maybe small flowering trees, ground covers and easy care. Grass is the easiest. Flower beds grow weeds and you don’t seem like the weeding and gardening type. I just worked in my garden and am tired.

    1. Yes, I agree. Yard work on an acre could take DAYS, mowing, weeding, pruning. Be sure to tell him you want a low maintenance yard scape and be honest with how many hours you are willing to devote to yard care! It can get away from you quickly! Make sure he is willing to do this in stages if need be, landscape is expensive.

  2. I hope to get some landscaping done at our Arizona house and really look forward to reading about the process you’re about to go through. My husband is reluctant to do anything, so I hope he’ll come around when I have more information on what’s involved (beyond showing him pretty pictures of desert lanscaping, lol)

  3. For the future—we rented a walk behind tape measure for less than $10 when we had to measure our yard—local True Value store. Love your idea, can’t wait to see what the landscaper works up!!

  4. Hi Kristi,
    I was looking at your floor plans and trying to visualize your guest bedroom that you are now using. Do you feel like you have adequate room to maneuver around with Matt’s equipment and a full?/queen?/king? bed? Or is it too tight? I was looking at the dimensions. Is it 11’4″ x 15’10”? Or something different? (The floor plan shows 5’10” and I know it’s not that.) We have used a Hoyer lift and wheelchair in toooo tight spaces and am just trying to plan for future needs.

    Thanks a bunch.

    PS. Your yard plans sound so exciting!

  5. If you haven’t already added them, placing trees(and any plants)you plan to keep on your mock up would be good info for the landscape person. LOVE your walking path idea!

  6. This is a good guide for him/her. Do you want any more trees? Shade is always a good thing, trees transpire and really cool things off. And I’m sure you’ll want some low maintenance plantings. Good luck; I can’t wait to see what they come up with

  7. Will your workshop be built before the house extension, so you can use it for that big project? Once the house is finished, will you need such a large workshop? Would it make sense to design it so it can be modified in the future? Maybe part workshop, part charming potting or she shed? (I seem to have a lot of questions….)

  8. Off-topic, I know, but my mind got stuck there: why are the WC and shower placed like that on the drawing? Hurried sketch or do you have plans for the future?

  9. I look forward to your updates every week. It’s so fun to follow along while you update, renovate, and create new space inside and outside. I love the drawing and I love the walking path. Have fun with that landscape designer! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  10. I can’t speak to Texas plants but I can offer the following after an evolving 32 years of 2.5 acres:
    o. follow plant recommendations, if it says sun/shade, it means it really means that for optimal plant life do as directed…. same with anything else horticulture has to say about the plant/tree/shrub species, look at fine print for any issues, prone to diseases or maintenance requirements
    o. think about mature life plant size. Learned that lesson as now have some trees in decline due to encroachment of others… shade, too close, etc. Have seen lots of trees planted too close much to their detriment
    o. native species get first place for me, others follow…. lost some pine trees as our winter is wee bit too long for the species we planted… they needed water access before our frost was out.
    o. check out current plant issues with diseases and problems for your area.
    o. your university/extension service/local arboretum are a great resource for above & more
    o. the appeal of pretty or exotic plants can have issues on the back side
    o. plants, esp. trees are impacted by hard surfaces like foundations, side walks, driveways… lost one beautiful tree because roots couldn’t access what it needed, got boxed in
    o. plan for future maintenance you will have or if hiring out. We got behind while focused on some construction. Invasive species or even weeds can really grow fast. I was sick a month back, even in those couple weeks things got out of hand, catch up was time consuming. Even things like biting bugs, high heat can impact yard & garden maintenance time.
    o. I found defining smaller spaces, interest points, visual horizons within larger makes it more interesting.
    o. do you want to attract butterflies, birds? Some plant species are their happy place.
    o. do you need any specifics for your dog? A friend trained their’s to bathroom on a specific mulch patch. Do you need a buried dog fence?
    Just a few of the things I would explore. H ave fun

    1. These are excellent points, especially about checking with your county extension service about what plants might struggle in your climate. Even though you are working with a professional landscape designer, it’s good to pick brains of other experts. Think shrubs, low-maintenance perennials, and trees rather than annuals unless they are in pots where you can easily water them daily. Plenty of shrubs have flowers, too.

  11. Let the landscaper who is supposedly the professional, design your property with only your “needs”. Then allow him/her to include your “wants.” There is a difference in my opinion and keeps you from getting overwhelmed. This is from my own experience. The landscape architect should be able to give you a unique design suited for your unique property.

  12. Something to think about and work into the budget: irrigation. As you know it can get HOT in Texas! When we landscaped several years ago we checked into an in-ground sprinkler system. It was no where near as expensive as I had expected, around $2000 out of our $12,000 budget. We’ve never regretted it plants aren’t cheap and we’re 3+ weeks it’s no rain inN Alabama.

  13. Happy Birthday Kristi…hope your fun things were relaxing and enjoyable for you both. And the yard seems like a good plan and hoping your landscaping guy is helpful with the things you need from him.

  14. Just curious, will you build the workshop before the addition to the house so you can use it for all the work on the addition? If not how much use would it get if the addition is already done? You might have already addressed this before but I don’t remember.

  15. Happy Belated Birthday, Kristi! I hope you had a great one!

    There are programs on the web that use Google Earth to guess-timate square footage of front yards plus backyards. As I’m getting ready for work, I can’t think of any of these off the top of my head to give to you, and I apologize for that.

    But your landscape designer should know, or even use their own. It will give them a chance to plan how to work in the driveway, the walking trail, plants and flowers.

    Zoysia is the softest slow-growing warm season turf, but Bermuda, mowed nicely, also feels good on the bare feet.

    Definitely tell your designer do everything to save that pecan tree. It kills me when people easily dismiss something because it’s in the way.

    Now I’m growing excited to read your next post regarding this meeting! Good luck, and have fun!

  16. I’m excited for you! Having a landscape designer would be a dream for me. Completely off topic, but what happened to the disaster house next door? Still on the market?

    1. It’s still sitting there for sale. They’ve come down on the price $100,000 since the first day it went on the market six months ago, but still no takers. I mean, the current price of $350,000 is still absurd considering that the kitchen will need to be torn out and completely remodeled.

  17. Kristi, If you’re going to become a Gardner you may want to include a garden shed in your plans for the many supplies required. Good luck!

  18. Hi Kristi, Perhaps I’m missing something, but I see only one exit for the wheelchair, and that is at the far rear. I am thinking of emergencies, where you would need at least one other exit for Matt. The most likely emergency (in the house) is a fire in the kitchen, which would cut out access to that rear wheelchair ramp. I guess you’ve thought of that already and are planning an exit from the bedroom to the deck. At the present moment though, you have only one exit – I know it’s a worry

    1. After the addition, Matt will be able to get out easily through the bedroom, the living room, and the studio. And in a pinch, I’d get him out the front door and down the steps if necessary.

      For now, we have two exits for him — the studio, which has the wheelchair ramp, and the sunroom, which has a ramp down down to the back patio.

      1. Yes, of course, thanks for the reply. If it really came to that, I’m sure you both could manage a front door exit and struggle down the steps. If you had to. Let us hope it isn’t