The following questionnaire can assist with the design and planning of your yard or garden. There are several questions regarding your preferences, wants, and needs that may be necessary to incorporate into your design. Not all questions will apply, but several may give you food for thought. Print and use it as a reminder or guide for your project. If a landscape professional will be involved, supply him or her with a copy.

  1. List plants types definitely not wanted in your garden (poisonous, thorny, allergy).


  2. List plants types you definitely do want in your garden (color, fragrance, shade).


  3. Do you prefer bold, bright colors (red, yellow, white, purple, pink)?
    If yes, do you have specific colors in mind?


  4. Do you prefer softer, muted colors (silver, blue, yellow, peach, lavender)?


  5. Have you a preference for colorful foliage (red, bronze, gold, blue, variegated)?


  6. Would you prefer flower color rather than a foliage display? A little of both?


  7. Is it important to coordinate the plants with the interior or exterior color scheme of your home?
    If yes, what are the dominant colors?


  8. Are cuttings for flower arrangements important to you?
    If yes, is fragrance or color more important?


Do you want or have any of the following features?

  Want Have
  1. Arbor (latticework attached to the house)

  2. Pergola (arbor with an open roof)

  3. Trellis (a latticework screen)

  4. Containers/pots

  5. Rocks/boulders

  6. Water feature (pond, waterfall, birdbath)

  7. Sculpture (gazing ball, sun dial, statues)

  8. Gate

  9. Outdoor Lighting

  10. A quiet area for reading or napping?

  11. Private areas for reflection or sunning?

  12. Active play equipment (swing set, trampoline)?
    If yes, what is it, or what would you like?


  13. What passive play equipment (sand box, etc)?


  14. Lawn for heavy use?

    For visual enjoyment only?
    (Remember, lawns are some of the biggest water
    users in home landscapes. If you do not have a
    specific use for your lawn, such as a play area
    for children or pets, consider groundcovers,
    Mediterranean grasses and shrubs instead of turf
    grass to reduce water use and add visual intrigue
    to your landscape.)

    How large a lawn area do you visualize?


  15. Walkways that double for play areas?
    (tricycle, skating, etc.)

  16. Pool, hot tub, fishpond, or waterfall?

  17. An outdoor sink for clean up?

  18. Area to prepare meals outdoors?

  19. Will the area need electricity?

  20. Areas for vegetable, herbs, or fruit trees?

  21. Compost bin?

  22. Decking?
    If yes, how large? _________

  23. Patio area?

  24. Outdoor sound system?

  25. Outdoor heating or cooling?

If you have outdoor furniture, note the shape, material, and quantity.

Wood ____ Iron ____ Plastic ____
Round ____ Square ____ Rectangle ____

Picnic Table/Benches: color ______ Wood ____ Iron ____ Plastic ____

Chairs: how many _____ color ______ Wood ____ Iron ____ Plastic ____

Benches: how many _____ color ______ Wood ____ Iron ____ Plastic ____

Lounge Chairs: how many _____ color ______ Wood ____ Iron ____ Plastic ____

Lawn Chairs: how many _____ color ______ Wood ____ Iron ____ Plastic ____

Design questionnaire courtesy of Linda Engstrom, APLD.

Questionnaire – Part 2

Part 2 of this questionnaire addresses issues that may be of importance to those who enjoy the challenge of completing projects without relying on the services of professionals.

  • Are you part of a homeowners' association? Most homeowners' associations have covenants, codes, and restrictions (CC&Rs). Obtain the latest copy to learn how they may affect your garden plans.

  • Does the property have any easements, and/or deeded rights-of-way attached to it? Most properties have easements for utilities, and/or phone lines. These may restrict what can or cannot be done to a particular area. Be aware that a shed or garden placed in the wrong spot could result in removal if easement access becomes necessary. Obtain a plat map from the city or county building or planning department that delineates these areas on your property

  • Do your plans include building a structure, or creating a pond in your yard? Ask your local building department if there are permit requirements, and/or restrictions, concerning ponds, sheds, patios, etc., before you begin construction.

  • Who provides your water? If you use a public source of water, know where the meter box is located and be sure it remains clear of planting or hardscapes.

  • The same rule applies to all utility meters: keep them clear of obstruction.

  • If you have a well, know where your pump and wellhead are located. Avoid planting trees or shrubs with invasive roots around the equipment.

  • Do you have a septic system? Know the location of the tank, the main line leading to the house, and the leach field. Your county has guidelines for plants that would not harm your septic system.

  • How do you plan to water your garden? An automatic irrigation system with a timer will save you countless hours of watering by hand. If you already have a system in place, check to see if it needs repair or upgrading.

  • Do you have any medical conditions (allergies to plants or insects) that should be considered? If yes, consult your doctor to obtain a list of plants to avoid.