Landscaping Planning - Part 2: Bubble Diagrams

The first step of a landscaping plan is called the“Bubble Diagram” phase.  A bubble diagram is not a complex drawing and is essentially a top-down view of the existing home and property footprint, including: trees, shrubs, mailboxes, sheds, fences and anything else that takes up space on the home’s lot. Since we’re encompassing both old and new in our landscape plan, we’ll call this Bubble Diagram #1.

Now you’re ready to move into Bubble Diagram #2, which uses the existing layout from #1 as well as knowledge of the six principles of design for a landscape plan.

These principles are:  Simplicity, Variety, Balance, Emphasis, Sequence and Scale.

Despite the numerous facets of design, they all are interrelated and must be taken into consideration before removing, replacing or adding plants. Bubble Diagram #2 encompasses the existing plan from #1 and adds in bubbles to the desired areas where additions will be made as well as the removal of anything existing that is no longer wanted on the property. This also takes into account the very rough measurements of the various locations, but as you can see in [Figure #2], this is not to a precise scale and solely preliminary.

Mapping these bubbles out will give you a general idea of location and sizing of future beds, which both pertain to both Balance and Scale. Going to the site with a measuring tape is a good starting place to plot out how far from the house the planting beds should be as well as the surrounding beds like the ones we placed to the right of the driveway as well as to the left of the neighbor’s fence.

Variety and Emphasis also come hand-in-hand when creating Bubble Diagram #2 to make sure that the land uses an equal amount of planting areas as well as regular green grass space. This ties back to Balance as well, utilizing the land in the most attractive way possible without being overrun with too many different types.

The last principles of design are Simplicity and Variety, which once again can be tied back to the aforementioned other principles. Simplicity is always key; determine what the space allows and then use this knowledge to once again use Balance and Scale to create a Variety of different styles of planting whether it be shrubs, flowers, trees or ground cover.

All of these principles may seem redundant, but are integral to creating a well thought-out landscape plan. Once you’ve completed Bubble Diagram #2, you’re ready to move onto the Concept Plan.

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