We had some pretty strong ideas about what we wanted to do in the backyard, but some things are better left to the pros (like digging holes big enough to plant trees in clay soil). Our landscaper offered free design services, so he came out to the house, looked at our yard, and chatted about our likes (hydrangeas, low maintenance) and dislikes (high maintenance, weeding, prickly plants). A few weeks later he had a design.
Along with the design, we had a key to the letters and descriptions of each element and why they were chosen (like, River Birch, because they drink a lot of water and we have a bit of a water issue at the back of our yard)
Then there was a separate booklet that had photos of some of the plants that he recommended in the design:
I totally felt like we were on some HGTV show when I saw these designs. Some of these elements we’ll be doing ourselves, like most of the plantings and some expansion of current mulch areas. There may even be a retaining wall in our future, if I have my way 🙂