Landscapes come in all sizes, shapes, colors, themes and materials, but all these different gardens have one basic thing in common: they need to be built with design and functionality in mind. Here are 10 fundamental tips that will guide your design and installation. By following these tips, you will not only make your home look more attractive but will save money, reduce maintenance, and make your home a more comfortable place to live and expand your useful living space. These ten basic tips will help you make your landscape successful – whether you do it yourself or work with a landscape professional.
- Plan it out first. The more detailed your drawing is – be it on paper or digital — the fewer mistakes you are likely to make. This will allow you a chance to think out your design first out of your garden space. It will make you understand how each part of your landscape relates to the rest and where problems may arise.
- Factor in systems. Systems like drainage, irrigation (in appropriate climates), practical access and passage, safety lighting and more may not be romantic, but they form the foundation that will support the health and longevity of your garden. With proper drainage, irrigation, lighting and soil support, your garden will have a framework to sustain it.
- Chose a theme, style or look for your garden. Do you want to use a particular color scheme? How will your house blend in with the style of garden you select? Set a theme for your landscape that will fit with your home and the surrounding areas. This will allow you to have a cohesive look to pull your landscape together.
- Plan out your hardscape (permanent features) first. These are items that will not be able to be moved easily like patios, swimming pools, walkways, etc.
- Sketch out special features. Working around your hardscape, lay out spaces like play areas, vegetable gardens and sport courts.
- Factor in quiet areas that will contrast with busier parts of the garden. Open spaces like lawns or permeable paving will allow the eye to rest between the flower beds and actively designed events in the remainder of the landscape.
- Add trees. The biggest living plants – trees – need to be planned early in the design so you leave them sufficient room to grow to their full, mature size. Shade from trees can make your garden more comfortable in hot sun and when placed on the south or west facing sides of your house, can save as much as 10% of your air conditioning costs.
- Make your flower beds define the overall design. These are placed to accent focal points, soften hard edges and define and decorate the overall landscape.
- Set up pest control. Plan ahead for future problems. In areas where burrowing pests can be destructive, add buried edgings. Where nibblers like deer or rabbits could wage war on your garden, design in fencing to be both discouraging and attractive to the eye.
- Grow plant materials that will best adapt to the conditions of your property. Choose sun or shade-loving plants by where they will be growing. Match you soil with that preferred by your plants. Consider acidity, drainage, and soil type (like sandy, clay or loam). Having your soil tested before choosing plant material will save you a lot of dead plants and disappointment in the future. By working with your environment your plants will be supported rather than having to battle surrounding conditions.
If you want to design or re-design your landscape, these ten basic steps should save you time and lots of money in the long run. Just like any other project, a good preparation will make all the difference to the final, finished product.