Site Design & Development

Every property owner has a vision for their landscape – the design, layout, the elements they want to install, the plants and flowers they want to plant, what the landscape will be used for, etc. The first step in Down To Earth Landscape & Irrigation’s site design process is understanding this vision of the client and the purpose for which the landscape is being developed as every client uses their landscape differently.

Other factors that need to be considered when designing a landscape are the zoning regulations set by local authorities and site requirements. Down To Earth professionals perform comprehensive walk-throughs of the entire site to analyze the requirements and then design a plan that will meet the zoning regulations set by the local authorities.

Down To Earth has been serving the landscaping industry in Florida for 30 years. In this period, we have developed experience with the local councils and, therefore, can provide a site design and development plan that will receive all the approvals and permits necessary with limited, if any obstacles.

In the walk-through, Down To Earth also analyzes the environmental impact of the construction and installation process. We develop site plans while making a conscious effort to minimize the implications to the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Local zoning regulations generally involve the following aspects:

  • Clearing and Demolition: If this is a newly acquired property, there might be regulations against clearing or removing any existing structures.
  • Fencing: There might be regulations about the material, placement, height, and maintenance of fences.
  • Retaining Walls: Any changes to the site might have to be supported by constructing retaining walls or maintaining existing ones.
  • Decking and Other Hardscapes: Addition of major hardscapes like decks, patios, pergolas, etc., might be forbidden or might require special permits.
  • Drainage, Irrigation, Fertilizer Usage: These regulations will influence the type of plants you can plant in your landscape as different plants have different irrigation and fertilizer requirements.

While doing comprehensive on-site walk-throughs, Down To Earth professionals look for the following factors:

  • Dimensions: A knowledge of property limits helps us understand what we are working with.
  • Topography: The high and low points – steep slopes that might cause mudslides or low-lying areas that might get flooded.
  • Existing Elements: We make a note of any existing constructions or trees, plants, fences on the landscapes.
  • Drainage: Analyzing the drainage patterns gives an idea of how to group plants with similar watering requirements together and make any amendments if necessary.
  • Planting Zone: The planting zone a region belongs to according to the Horticultural Society’s Heat Zone Map and USDA’s Hardiness Zone Map.
  • Soil Type: A soil test will reveal the soil type and help determine which plants can be planted, and amendments can be made if necessary.
  • Sun and Shade: The amount of sun exposure a site receives will determine the microclimate of the landscape.
  • Utility Lines: Simple digging jobs can damage the utility lines present below the site. Therefore, we make a note of these to avoid accidents.

When a client consults Down To Earth for landscape design, our representative first meets with the client for a site walk-through and to understand their requirements and vision. Based on this, the first concept plan is sketched according to the client’s needs, aesthetic requirements, and budget. Amendments are made to the concept plan after discussions, and once everything is agreed upon, a master plan is created. This final master plan contains a complete spatial layout of the landscape according to scale. Planting plans are created separately. They include the botanical names of the plants and their planting locations. If the client needs additional installations like outdoor lighting, a separate plan is created for that as well.

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