Enhancing existing landscapes

Many of our clients have existing landscapes that they love. And they love them for good reason…because they hold lots of happy memories. Often, there is a great deal of nostalgia attached to them.

Here at Plants Creative, we frequently have clients who are excited to transform their yard — but are also mindful of changing a place with so many memories.

When we meet, we spend time helping you navigate through options that perhaps you have not considered before — like designing around your existing landscape, reusing elements, or simply breathing a bit of new life into an aging space.  

How to create a new design with an old design in place

Before I start designing anything, I use trees as a starting point. Gauging where the sun is during the day — and where the most shade will fall — will help with plant and turf choices. Shade and shade-tolerant plants are best for yards with large, mature trees already in place.

Next, I take a look at the existing hardscaping that might be in place. This might be a retaining wall, a deck or patio, or a walkway. Funny enough, one of my professors in college once told me: “If you’re having trouble creating a design, start with a winding path.” So if there’s an existing pathway, it can actually be a little fun to design around — planting beds and other design elements can be formed around the curves of the path.

Aspects that usually need to be removed are plants that have outgrown the space they were planted in. I also remove things that aren’t functional. For instance, if a planting bed is raised or has a paver border that’s not allowing water to flow properly, it makes sense to take it out.

Don’t toss...transform!

I love to repurpose existing materials because it gives me a chance to complement what you already have. When I meet with you, we’ll work together to identify what can be reused, whether it’s plants, boulders, or stepping stones. If the quality of the material is there, we’re happy to reuse it. If the material doesn't fit your desired look, we’ll discuss other options.

Sometimes, you might be attached to a certain plant. Depending on the location of the plant — and whether or not it’s thriving in its current location — it’s usually possible to transplant it to another location in the yard.

Other times, when homes are enlarged to accommodate growing families, it also makes sense to increase the square footage of an existing patio. When this happens, one of the big questions is: Can the existing patio material can be matched, or does the whole patio need to be replaced? It really depends on whether it has been discontinued or not. If the patio’s stones or pavers are still produced, it’s typically no problem for me to source materials that match up.

Whether it’s plants or patios, the real bonus for you is that rather than spending money on a completely new patio or plants, you can instead direct more of your budget towards other, more important parts of your landscape.

A great example from Grant Park

Plants Creative renovated a backyard in Grant Park a few years ago, designing and building around an existing landscape.

The patio already existed, but the boulder retaining wall, plantings on the side and backyard, and the dry creek bed were all installed by our team. This is a great example of how we can integrate seamlessly with existing landscape elements.

So if you’re on the fence about a new landscape, remember that parts of what you already have can be reused and transformed. If you’d like to hear more about how we can renovate around your existing landscape, get in touch!