Once you are armed with the knowledge of your year-round climatic patterns, it's time to consider the existing structures on your property and how these elements relate practically and aesthetically.
At this stage, you'll analyze the physical elements, from plants to paved areas and from storage space to utility locations. The checklist on page 19 provides a guide to various fixed objects in a typical landscape. Although your base map may already include many of these elements, this is the time to make a comprehensive map. Use the symbols below or develop your own set of symbols.
To create a true map of your existing landscape, you'll need to accurately locate all of the structural elements on your site analysis. Double-check all measurements once you have them on your drawing. This step can save you time and money during construction.
Go back to your list of pros and cons. Chances are, by now you've become much more aware of what works and what doesn't work in your landscape, as well as what you like and don't like. This is the perfect opportunity to make note of any additional insights.
The variations of climate and terrain across the continent provide some difficult landscaping challenges. It helps to remember that each challenge presents opportunities, whether you must deal with a steep slope and erosion issues or harsh weather and poor soil. Perhaps you'll discover that terracing the slope would make room for the patio you've always wanted or that the flat expanse of mucky soil offers just the spot for the water garden of your dreams.