Landscaping Ideas- 8 steps to Home Garden Design Success
Article by Catherine Kozar
Is the landscaping at your home designed properly? Is it the source of enjoyment for your entire family, including your pets. It will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property.
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 practicality and enjoyment.
Planning the Home Landscape
Some of its major goals include:
Â• Organizing and developing the site for maximum use and pleasure.
Â• Creating a visual relationship between the house and the site.
Â• Reducing landscape maintenance to a practical level.
Worldwide, people spend tremendous amounts of money landscaping their businesses, homes, streets, parks, schools, etc. Much of this money is wasted, however, because of little or no planning. People cannot understand how to landscape until they know why they landscape.
There are several reasons why people landscape: some think it improves the appearance of their place; others like to grow plants; still others just want their place to look pretty. Too often these landscapes dominate rather than serve. Masses of plants or other materials in the landscape may take up a large portion of the space and leave little room for people. So how does the designer arrange space so that people will find it useful, beautiful, meaningful and functional? Methods include:
Â• Observing and analyzing the habits of the people who will be using the space, including their needs, desires and how much space each of their activities requires.
Â• Studying past landscaping methods.
Â• Surveying available materials to solve design requirements.
Â• Analyzing the environment of the site including the view in and around the site. The ecology of the site should be carefully analyzed since it is important in determining the design.
The ecology of the site should be carefully analyzed since it is important in determining the design. Not all landscaping improves the appearance of a building. The work of an insensitive designer can subdue a building, conceal important features or contradict the architect’s intent. Good landscape design can significantly improve the building’s appearance by adding warmth, liveability and personality. It can also relate a building to its site and environment and give it the desired degree of dominance. Growth and change separate landscape designs from other arts. Most works of art such as architecture, sculpture and painting look their best when new. Landscape designs, however, are at their worst when new and improve with age. A well-designed landscape will seldom look the same any two months of the year. The urge to begin planting immediately is almost overwhelming. Whether you are landscaping a newly-built home or redesigning an existing landscape, the results will be much more satisfying if you plan first. If you follow the steps provided in this manual you can produce a plan that will result in a satisfying landscape.
Don’t forget to observe what other plants are doing well in your area. Ask your local nursery. Native plants TO YOUR AREA should be considered if you live in harsh conditions. Maybe crushed rock, stone or pebbles for the “canvas” instead of lawn is your best option.
The Base Plan To begin, you will need to draw a base plan to scale. For most properties a scale of 1/8″=1′ is workable; for small properties or a particular area of a larger development 1/4″=1′ may be better. Graph paper with lines indicating a particular scale may also be helpful. You should include all the major features of your property on your drawing such as existing walks, terraces, outbuildings, trees, shrubs, drives, property lines, easements, utilities, etc. After you have prepared the base plan you can place tracing paper or tissue paper over the original plan to sketch possible ideas and solutions to your landscape needs and problems.
Step One: Indicate the compass directions in relation to the house by drawing an arrow (N->) pointing north. You may also want to show the direction of the rising sun. In winter, the sun rises a little south of east and sets a little south of west. In summer, the sun rises somewhat north of east and sets somewhat north of west.
Step Two: Measure each property line and recordthe measurement on a rough skech. If a plot plan of the lot is available, you can use the dimensions shown on it.
Step 3: To make sure the house is parallel to the property, or if the property lines are not parallel, site a reference line along one side of the house to locate the reference points “A” and “B”.
Step 4: Accuratley locate one corner of the house by measuring the distance from the back edge of the curb or edge of the street and nearest property line. From this corner of the house, measure each side of the house.
Step 5: Begin constructing a carefully drawn plot plan by selecting a scale to work with (1/8″= 1′ or 1/4″=1′) or by using graph paper. Begin by drawing the curb line as a double line or street edge as a single line. Construct property lines in the same manner as they were measured. Indicate compass directions.
Step 6: First of all, note the city easement line, which is legally city property. The city may remove any planting or construction within this area for street widening, sewer work, etc. The exact location of this line will vary according to city ordinance. Next, locate one corner of the house using the two dimensions measured from the street and side property lines. From this point, extend a line representing the front of the house the same number of feet measured. Do the same for the remaining sides ofthe house util you return to the original corner.
Step 7: Locate other existing features on a rough sketch by using the same method used for locating the corner of the house. By measuring from known reference points, such as the street, property line or house in two directions, the following permanent features can be located: A. Windows, doors and chimneys, including the height off the ground.
B. All above and below ground utilities.
C. Utility meters, electrical outlets and water spigots.
D. Natural or prominent features such as retaining walls, ravines and rock outcroppings.
E. Existing trees and shrubs.
F. Neighbour’s buildings and landscape features near the property line.
G. Roof overhang on house. All of these features should be measured and drawn on the rough sketch before drawing on the final plan.
Step 8: Transfer the information plotted on the rough sketch to the final plot plan. The plot plan is now ready to be used as the base for a home landscape design.
Don’t Forget to PLAN FOR YOUR NEEDS, including FUTURE possible requirements!
For Diagrams to support these steps and lots more advice to make your garden a successful one, please visit Simple & Effective Landscaping Techniques
Spend the investment in TIME to plan carefully, then complete your design gradually, so you won’t have to be make changes and re-do things, wasting your money and time later on.
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