Thursday, April 26, 2012

Landscape Design

Garden designs should start by putting pencil to paper. It’s easier to correct mistakes with an eraser.

Spring is the perfect time for site analysis. Garden centers are overflowing with garden materials plus it’s a wonderful season to be outdoors.

Even with horticultural savvy, landscape design is sometimes an abstract concept – it’s difficult to visualize the impact of a garden space than a single element like a flower, tree or trellised vine. So, divide your garden into smaller parts so you can better understand it.

Twenty-eight years ago, I developed a system called Lernscaping™ to assist homeowners with the basics of landscape design. It helps determine what you want so your landscape reflects your personality.

Lernscaping™ translates your intent into the “language of landscape” so you can communicate what you want to a landscape professional before you begin your project. Here are some key points to assist you in creating landscape ideas to fit your personality and budget.
An informal fountain adds interest
• What elements excite you in the garden – sculpture, colors, rocks, smells, paths or types of paving?
• What ambiance do you prefer more than others – formal fountains, rock water cascades, symmetrically balanced paving or curved, sweeping beds with a patio in the woods?
• Get to know your outdoor space. You’ll save time, money and aggravation when you begin installation of your garden.
• Record your garden's vital statistics.
- Measurements of design areas
- Compass points and hours of sun
- Pleasant views
- Unpleasant views
- Drainage patterns/problems
- Location of underground utilities (You must call 811 before you dig)
- Features worth keeping
• Consider all aspects of your garden – favorite colors, seasons, plants, building materials and activities.
• Do you entertain, have children?
• Number of hours you spend in the garden?
• Do you want screening, seating, lighting or water?
• How does the sun traverse your garden, casting shadows, creating hot spots?
• Where is the most pleasing place to face for maximum comfort?

Look to the horizon noting panoramas from every angle. Enhance or frame aesthetically pleasing vistas, screen unpleasant ones and create your own.

Heat pumps and highways are worth screening. But remember that planting in or fencing off unsightly structures might call attention to them – distract the viewer to hide an eyesore. Place an ornamental bench and direct the view away from the object. Plan color and interest on the opposite side of the garden. If you use shrubs or a planted trellis to screen the object, repeat the theme and use elsewhere in the yard.
Face an ornamental bench toward the garden
Develop designs that retain and enhance existing features like native wildflowers, streams, rock outcroppings and native plants.

Sculptural elements, seating, fountains, and water gardens are a welcome addition to most landscape designs. At least one piece in a private corner of the yard, tucked into the background of shrubs or surrounded by perennials will add interest.

Your budget will determine the size and quantity of plants you install. Cost doesn’t hold you back from creating an ideal design on paper.

© 2012 Joel M. Lerner
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