Designing a drop dead driveway border just got easier thanks to free advice from Atlanta landscape design expert Mary Palmer Dargan of Dargan Landscape Architects.

The basic requirements for designing such a border include the need to know the length of the desired border, which can easily be obtained without a measuring tape in hand if you follow Dargan's lead. That's because Mary Palmer walks you through her simple process on this YouTube video, making the measurement-taking portion of driveway design as easy as putting one foot in front of the other, literally.

The licensed landscape architect simply paces from the farthest point of the desired border back to the original drive starting point, starting out on her left foot first and adding 5-feet to her calculation total with each step of her right foot. In this design case example, the fenced portion of the drive equaled approximately 45-feet in length.

Next, Dargan says to add that measurement to your design plan worksheet, where other elements in the project will be added as needed, like tree or shrub shapes and locations, etc.

Driveway Design Step 2

The second step is determining where the center line is in the desired driveway border section, which she is able to do ascertain quite easily, since there are seven posts on the fence lining this driveway, and they are separated equal distances apart.

The fourth post sits exactly at the center-most portion of this particular drive fence, with three posts on either side of it, which means it is bilaterally symmetrical. Therefore, it will serve as the focal point location in the driveway based upon landscape design principles.

Since the eye can only see 20-feet at a time according to the landscape design expert, it is important to carve out a visual space of that amount around the center of the design project. In this case that means measuring off 10-feet on each side of the middle post. To do that Dargan paces 10-feet on either side of the fourth post, which puts her standing at post three on one side and post five on the other side. She says that putting a boxwood in front of each of those two posts will help draw the eye to the focal point plant to be placed at post four.

She considers determining the center line of a design project, and then locating the 20-foot distance around it as her secret to success. And then she places the appropriate plant or art objects at those locations for maximum effect, and to frame the focal view.

Next in her design process she completes the look by placing a boxwood at the first and last posts, which she says gives "immediate unity," to the project, and that she could complete the driveway design project at that stage and it would be complete. But this particular landscaping expert is never satisfied with giving her clients "just so" designs, always shooting for the wow effect instead.

To achieve a phenomenal look, therefore, she tells viewers another tip to follow: the addition of a three dimensional plant to the scheme. And, in this particular case, she opts for a lollipop-shaped Hydrangea plant, which stands between 4- to 5-foot tall, and which she will plant behind the fence between posts three and four as well as one midway between posts five and six.

Additionally, Dargan favors adding the look and texture of Lamb's Ears when she uses boxwood plants in a design project. And she generally puts a clump of three of them in front (and around) the boxwoods she plants, which she did for this particular project. The equally spaced placement of boxwoods and Lamb's Ears created the design element of repetition, which is a must for her.

Edging for Driveways

The Atlanta Landscape Design Examiner Radell Smith is finding that more often than not this particular landscape architect favors adding stone edging to driveways, and she added a 3-inch stone edging to this driveway look. Her plan was to back-fill it, which she says will allow the driveway to drain through it when it rains, which shows she isn't just about a pretty look, since she is concerned with issues her clients will have after she is done with their projects.

The driveway's plant bed will be built up to be a little bit taller than the edging as well before the look is complete, and the last touches will include trailing plants on the fence and other eye-catching floral additions to complete the landscape masterpiece.

For those eager to get to the good part, fast forward to the 5:25 section of the video to see the finished driveway border in all its green and flowering glory.

For more tips and information about landscape design for the home start following the Atlanta Landscape Design Examiner by clicking on the subscribe link at the top or bottom of this page.

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