Eyeing existing structures and development

Unless you're starting with an empty lot, you need to consider how your house and other existing structures fit into the big design picture, and then you have to decide whether to keep, modify, or eliminate them. Each structure affects the project, even if only because its mass creates small areas that provide welcome shelter for plants or make an otherwise usable area dank and unpleasant. Additionally, new landscape plantings and structures can affect the climate and light levels inside your house.

Here are some things to observe about your house and other buildings on the property, utilities, and other human-made features. Make a list of answers to these questions:

✓ Where are the house and other buildings located? Evaluate how your house will affect the landscaping and vice versa. Determine whether buildings will provide opportunities, such as leaving a sunny area for a patio, or create problems, such as becoming a fire hazard because of placement at the top of a slope.

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