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House with native plants and animalsGoing Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants
Home > Create Your Own Native Landscape > Step Three-Design Landscape > Design to Meet Human Needs

Design to Meet Human Needs

Designing to meet your needs and the needs of your family begins with two basic steps: doing a site analysis and a family needs analysis.  Designing to Meet Human Needs.

Site Analysis


With copies of your completed base map and plant inventory in hand, conduct a thorough analysis of your property, evaluating conditions which might influence your design decisions.  Walk the property with your base map on a clipboard and make notations that document things you both like about your current landscape (assets, things you may keep) and things that are problematic (liabilities, things that may need to be changed or removed). Sample Base Map with Completed Site Analysis.

You can use the Site Analysis Checklist on your worksheet to help you with your observations.  Make sure to note the following characteristics:

  • exposure
  • sun and shade
  • prevailing winds
  • slope and drainage
  • views
  • noise, odors, lights
  • existing plantings
  • interesting natural features

Family Needs Analysis


Use the Family Needs Checklist on your worksheet to give you an overview of the kinds of information your design should address in creating a landscape design that will meet your family’s needs.  List all the activities and elements your landscape must accommodate.

On the copy of your base map, decide where to locate these different activities using bubbles or circles.  This step helps divide your landscape into a series of separate but linked rooms, each with a separate purpose. Explore how you will move through and between these “rooms” and use arrows to designate circulation or passages through the space. You can try out different layouts by generating a series of bubble diagrams that explore a variety of options. Sample Base Map with Family Needs.

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