A good landscape design not only will make your home look more attractive but will save you money, make your home a more comfortable place to live and expand your useful living space. Here are ten basic tips that will help you design your outdoor space successfully – whether you do it yourself or work with a landscape professional.
- Start with a plan. The more detailed your drawing is, the more you will have to think through the layout of your garden space. It will make you understand how each part of your landscape relates to the rest and where problems may arise.
- Attend to the important things: 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.
- Decide on the look you want 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.
- 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.
- Design in flower beds. 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.
- Select your plant materials by what will grow best in the area you are planting. 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.
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.