Sometimes all it takes is a little change to make an ordinary area into something special in your landscape design. Something as small as a bench can make all the difference.
Adding a bench is like posting a welcome sign that says “Have a seat and enjoy yourself!” Not only is it inviting to those who visit your garden, but it is likely to make you take a break from your work and encourage you to stop and appreciate the combined work of Mother Nature and your own efforts.
Use a bench for comfort, practicality and decor. Placing a bench by the entry to your home gives you a spot to set down anything you are carrying so you can open the front door. It hints that guests should make themselves comfortable. Or you can fill a bench with flowers so it becomes a display with character.
Nestle a bench in the shade of a tree to invite a cooling rest. Or set out an ornate bench along a stepping stone pathway to offer a rest and a place for viewing. Place a bench handy to a water feature to encourage watching fish or splashing water from a fountain. Hide a bench in a wild garden to beckon you into cozy place to read a book, or use a bench to divide one part of the garden from another. Even small gardens can benefit from a bench that is cleverly and artistically positioned. In fact, a decorative bench can become the major feature — a focal point — of the whole garden.
The bench itself can be ornamental or practical. Use the style of the bench to accent a garden theme. Go for the traditional iron and wood bench if you aren’t sure since it will fit in almost any situation. Rustic benches blend in nicely with woodland or natural styled landscapes. You can buy one or construct your own from hunks of wood, tree trunks, branches or driftwood. Or try a stone bench. A rough-hewn chunk of rock can look natural or will blend in nicely with a contemporary landscape design. Try wrought iron for an English or Southwestern styled garden or slip in a bench inset with brightly colored tile to decorate a Mexican theme.
Choose the kind of bench that will accent the style of your garden. Or shop for a bench that captures your imagination and build your garden around it. You can always buy a simple bench and drape it with outdoor fabrics and pillows to create your own effects. Benches are for enjoying your landscape. Have fun deciding which bench you want to use and where you want to position it in your garden. Larger spaces can handle multiple benches. Areas separate from each other can use different styled benches. Benches can add a whole new dimension to your landscape.
What is a Beautiful Landscape?
“A beautiful landscape” can mean many different things to different people.For some, the only landscapes that will qualify require hundreds of thousands of dollars in elaborate construction.For others, the most beautiful landscape is the one nature created – with no sign of human intervention.For most, the concept is somewhere in between.
If you are building a landscape for your home – or for any building, the best choice is something that will not conflict with the design of the structure or that of the general surrounding area.A lake of emerald green grass surrounding an adobe styled house or pouring down the side of a scrub-textured chaparral creates visual discord.A wild English garden surrounding a formal building looses its charm and merely appears unkempt.A formal geometrical garden would look absurd surrounding a log cabin.This does not mean you can’t have a garden styled to your taste even if the house style you bought isn’t.It does mean that to make both beautiful, some thought has to go into making idea, taste and reality mesh.
You can create illusion of landscape styles even if you don’t have enough space or money to re-create you ideal.A “Beverly Hills” mansion landscape feel can be designed on a shoestring budget by creating miniature areas as focal points.
Do-it-yourself folks can save a lot of money.But since most people don’t have the knowledge or experience of professionals, it’s not a bad idea to spend considerable time doing research, or call in consultants for advice before diving into landscaping projects.Research and creative time is spent by the best professional landscape designers and architects.It does account for much of their billable time.Ideas do not pop into a creative’s head and drop onto the paper instantaneously.Also make sure you hire the right help for the right kind of expertise you need.
With the ‘globalizing’ of communications, generic plans have become popular and practical.Adapting a small number of basic designs to different layouts and plant environmental needs has created a whole industry that gives what appears to be a custom design at a less expensive price.If you are creating your own design, you need to allow yourself that time for thinking and researching.Then comes the adaptation of those ideas to the page format so you can delegate whatever you need to or work on the plan over time without forgetting important aspects.
Another point to consider about beauty, is that not everyone thinks the same plants are beautiful.I find some folks like a neat, contained plant to be beautiful whereas someone else finds the same look too stodgy and prefers a natural sprawl or wilder look.Colors are very personal.We probably start associating our feelings with different colors as early as in our pre-verbal childhood.Maybe we physically see colors differently depending on how our organic eyes and brains process the light waves.Who knows why we often prefer one color over another.And I don’t suppose it matters.But some people feel quite strongly in favor or against various flower or leaf colors.
The entry to your property sets the mood to your landscape and your house. It is the first impression guests will have of your home. With a larger piece of property the entry way will also be expected to provide security for your home space. For smaller pieces of property you will want a welcoming feel to your front yard or to your front door design. Here are some ideas on building an inviting entryway.
With a small piece of property you will want to keep things simple but effective. Your entryway will be seen as part of the front of your house so make sure it enhances the style of your home rather than competing with it. You can define you space by setting off your front yard with a fence or a hedge and create an entrance with an interesting gate or archway. Or if you leave the area open you could herald the entry to the front door with big pots, sculptures or rocks on either side. Add a splash of contrast by painting your front door a bold color.
For a larger piece of property you can set the mood with your entry gate. Try announcing a themed garden with the entry. You can then follow the theme through in the rest of the landscape. A Southwestern theme could be established with stepped stucco walls: a rustic garden might be introduced with a gate made of rough-cut tree branches: a cottage garden would look cozy with a white picket entryway.
Take a hint from the style of your house. A formal styled home will look best with an entry that picks up the design. Clean-cut, organized shrubs, balanced designs and controlled shapes will match well. Whereas a log cabin will look better with more random plantings and a natural approach. Older buildings will be complemented by using aged materials like old brick. Contemporary structures can invite imaginative sculptural plantings or décor. Neutral styled houses can be given more of a character by choosing a theme or adding your own entryway designs.
Have fun designing the entry to your property. There is no limit to the choice in materials for walls, fences, gates, pathways, arbors or other structures that can lead up to your front door. Equally, building an inviting entryway can entail trees, garden planters and borders, individual specimen plants or décor that is limited only by your imagination. Look at photographs in magazines, books and on the internet. See what styles of entryways you like best and blend them with the design of your house. Building an inviting entryway can transform an ordinary house into something extraordinary
The English or cottage garden is a style that conjures up a flower-filled landscape bursting with color. Although this theme is most easily achieved in areas where rains are common and dappled shade offers comfort for typical cottage garden plants, you can create the same effects using plants that are ecologically friendly to your native environment.
One of the best ways to design an English cottage garden is to frame your garden with hardscapes and décor that will punch up the theme. Use a white picket fence or a white wooden arbor to outline your garden. Wrought iron can also blend in well with an English cottage garden. Paths and walls of used brick can help create the cozy look of comfortable age. And outfitting the garden with cottage styled benches or a romantic swing can make your garden all the more inviting,
The typical English cottage garden sports hollyhocks, sweetpeas, delphiniums, peonies, hollyhocks, roses and more. If these plants will do well in your environment, fill your garden with them. There are many other plants that will look great with this theme.
There are varieties of roses that do well in almost all garden areas. You can scramble them up trellises or over arches or even design in a rose garden devoted exclusively to these flowers.
If your area is not ideal for growing the classic English cottage garden plants, look for plants that grow well in your area but have similar habits of growth. For example, instead of delphiniums and foxgloves, try growing mullein or columbines. Look for varieties of columbine or other large families that might offer individual plants that grow in variable conditions. Use annuals and bulbs that are likely to do fine in many more areas. Stock will add perfume while pansies and snapdragons will fit in perfectly and annuals can be used in the growing season of most any climate. Bulbs like ranunculus, tulips, daffodils, freesia and more always look right at home in a cottage garden.
Create gardens that are not formal and symmetrical. Plant flowers and shrubs to create a full look. A little random wildness will look just fine in a cottage garden. Too much planning and control will destroy the relaxed look of a successful English cottage garden. Then add ornamentation like a bird bath or a set of garden chimes as a finishing touch.
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