Land Scaping: Turning your vision into plan... by Kathy Scott
A nice yard not only makes for a good neighbor, it helps to enhance property values as well. A high quality landscape design can actually improve the appearance of a building or home by adding warmth and character.
According to a recent study, four out of five American households have a yard or a garden, and nearly one in three plan to undertake a major landscape upgrade this year. Unfortunately, landscaping can be challenging, especially since it involves various levels of planning, starting with the lawn, then adding trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and eventually decorative extras.
According to Dr. William C. Welch, professor and landscape horticulturist at Texas A&M University, "Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment."
Dr. Welch believes that each landscaping project should have a plan that not only creates a visual relationship between the home and yard but also organizes the site for maximum use and pleasure. Maintenance should also be at a practical level.
"Too often these landscapes dominate rather than serve," says Welch. "Masses of plants or other materials in the landscape may take up a large portion of the space and leave little room for people."
A good design plan begins with studying the habits of the people who will eventually be using the space. Many people are tempted to begin planting without determining how each plant, shrub or tree interacts or grows alongside another. Unlike most home improvement projects, Welch considers landscaping a work in progress that grows more beautiful and connected over time.
Breaking your landscape plan into segments will allow for your work in progress to grow and blend into the scenery. As you begin to sketch out your plan, remember to include irrigation devices, if possible, as well as any hardscape (walkways, courtyards, patios, etc.) projects.
Determine first where you will plant major trees in and around your property. Then nurture them and give them time to grow and take hold. You can add shrubs as well, taking into consideration their growing pattern by leaving the appropriate room between adjacent plants. Consider planting both deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs so that your entire landscape doesn't diminish in the fall and winter seasons.
Perennials will add vibrant color to your landscape and flourish year after year. Add various annuals to the scheme, changing the essence of your garden periodically. And, definitely don't forget the fun extras like lighting, decorative concrete sculptures, benches and planters. You may decide to even add a goldfish pond.
Don't be afraid to ask a professional for help. Landscape architects have the background and talent to assist in designing the right plan for you that can not only beautify your yard but also add a level of dominance to your home's overall personality.