Conduct a Site Analysis
Evaluate the existing site conditions, asking yourself several questions. What is the size of the site, large or small? Are there overhead or underground utilities within proximity? Are there sidewalks, driveways, houses or any other structures nearby? Are there any other plantings nearby that can influence tree or shrub selection? What is the garden style, formal or informal, native or non-native? What is the USDA hardiness zone? What is the average annual rainfall? What is the sun, heat and wind exposure? Is there good or poor drainage? Is there a nearby water source? What are the soil conditions? Take a soil test, if necessary.