A site study involves a specific evaluation of the property. It includes categories such as existing plants and structures, good and bad views, soil, drainage, and site topography. Measurements are also taken during the site study to accurately locate these areas.
It is often difficult for someone who does not live in proximity to a site to see what others do when they observe or pass through that same area. This is not only true of what we directly see in the landscape, but is especially true of the support structure we do not see; i.e., soil composition and drainage.
In a newly constructed landscape, a plant may die and be replaced, only to die and be replaced again, or the plant might hang on for months in poor condition while secondary problems such as insects and diseases move in. The real problem, soil composition should have been recognized during the site survey. It is easy to try to ignore failing plants, increasing labor inputs, dollars, and supplies, trying to guess what the problem is. If the problem had been identified and solved during the site survey process, the soil would had been amended accordingly.
A site study is a process of collecting information. If done correctly, it will point out all important site characteristics. It will include positive features as well as problem areas that may have a negative impact on the landscape and the health of the plant material.
Money spent improving site problems prior to installation is not as evident as the money spent on the visible components of the landscape. Attention to site preparation will reduce annual maintenance and replacement costs, saving money in the long term.