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Getting Your Hands Dirty: Tips for Landscaping

Learn how to spruce up your landscape by planting flowers and plants, and bushes, shrubs and trees.

Posted in Landscape Design over 13 years ago, 0 replies

Redecorated the living room? Check. Refurnished floors? Check. Remodeled bathroom? Check. Gave a face-lift to the bedroom, added fresh coats of paint to the walls, and pressure washed house's exterior as well as revitalized the color of its shutters? Check, check, check and check. Renovated the landscape…? Uh-oh.

Funny, most of us never turn our remodeling attentions to the outside of our home even though most real estate experts tell us that improving a home's landscape can actually raise the value of the home at least fifteen percent. Or maybe we attempt to plant flowers, plants, etc. only to find them dead by the next season or even sooner. Of course perhaps the main reason we neglect our landscape is because we don't even know where to begin!

It's time we shed the fears of landscaping and started redirecting our attentions toward fixing up the landscape, which is the first thing people will see when they visit our home. It is also what is likely to add value to your home.


The Basics

Have a Base Plan

It is important to understand how your property will work with your design. Thus, you need to make a base plan. A base plan is simply a layout (usually a sketch drawn to scale) of your property and its contents. Things drawn on your base plan will include property lines, sewer lines, electric lines, gas meter, air conditioning unit, telephone pole, easements, etc. This base plan will be important as you begin to develop the position of plants, etc. and landscape design accessories.

Consider Your Needs

Consider how your new landscape design will affect yours or your family's needs. For example, do you have small children that you want to have lots of play space? Do you have a dog that will need a fence to keep him out of your flowers and plants? Do you want a new landscape as well as a new method of obtaining privacy from neighbors? Think about it as you plan your landscape design.

Flowers and Plants

The best, and possibly the easiest method of sprucing up a lackluster landscape is the planting of flowers and plants. Plant your flowers and plants a few at a time instead of a multitude of all the ones you dreamed you could have in a landscape design. This way you can avoid spreading yourself too thin in terms of the attention and labor you give to the new flowers and plants, and hopefully you will be able to grow them well.

The conditions-climate, weather etc.-play a big role in the choice of flowers and plants. For example, the amount of sun and shade that you will have in your landscaped area will dictate the type of flowers and plants you can use in your landscape design. Think about using perennials. Perennials are an essential ingredient to every garden and are not expensive to grow. They lend color and height to the garden's background. Some popular perennials are peonies, iris, delphinium, phlox and chrysanthemums. But whatever flowers or plants you choose, use ones that complement your project ideas.

Bushes, Shrubs and Trees

Bushes, shrubs and trees make good choices for any landscape because they are all easy ways to add green to your landscape design. Choose bushes with some type of flower on them so that they can add vivid color also. Flowering Shrubs are landscape darlings because of their low maintenance and inexpensiveness. Trees may be the most costly of the three but their year-round beauty and durability far outweigh their cost.

Just as climate is important for flowers and plants, it is also important for the types of bushes, shrubs and trees you choose for your landscape. Most climates will accommodate hydrangeas shrubs well. Hydrangeas generate bold colored flowers with each passing season. And oak trees also thrive in most climates. Additionally, their stature is excellent for providing shade.

Maple trees are also great trees to use for your landscape because of their dramatic colors and ability to adapt in most climates. But if you really want to know the type of trees to use to line your landscape, then you should consider using Evergreens. Evergreen trees are a varied group, which include laurel trees and rhododendron trees with their broad leaves, needlelike foliage, and pinecones.

The Art Of Landscaping

After you've chosen what to plant, you need to learn the art of landscaping them. The trick to effectively landscaping with flowers and plants, and bushes, shrubs and trees is to display them correctly. First, know that a landscape needs two important things: an enclosure and a back-ground. A good background behind your floral arrangements can define the entire display. A good enclosure unifies the landscape and takes it from a mere grouping of plants and trees and turns it into a design.

Both the size and lushness of plants mean very little if your landscape is not properly designed. You should choose a landscape design that is well suited to your home and its surrounds. For example, symmetrical landscape designs reek of formality and thus are a perfect match for traditional-style homes. A heap of lush, overhanging flowers can make a bungalow, ranch or storybook country house look romantic. The use of a Japanese garden design style offers your home a bold, dramatic look, which is the perfect complement to a contemporary-style home.

Ask yourself some key questions when deciding upon landscape design. Do you like straight-line designs or curvy ones? Is your ideal floral and spruce landscape design a profusion of vivid flowers bundled together or muted tones arranged into clear, distinct groupings of flowers, plants, bushes, shrubs and trees? For a flower, plant, etc. landscape design to work for any home, it must be balanced, unified in its composition, and highlight the home that it surrounds.

For creating backgrounds and enclosures, use items such as walls, fences, hedges and even loose plants to create landscape mood. Vibrant colors of plants, trees, bushes and flowers will standout even more when they have a white fence or wall as a backdrop. When selecting your backgrounds and enclosures, be certain to keep the focus on displaying your landscape design in the best way. You can use the trial and error method for background selection.

For example, slip a piece of the fence you are considering using behind the plants, flowers, trees etc. and take a picture. Exchange the fence piece for other possible backgrounds such as loose plants or a piece of white cardboard to represent the wall, and then take pictures of each arrangement. Then you can compare and contrast the pictures to see what will look best. Just remember that there is no "perfect" fit-every background and enclosure has advantages and disadvantages.

Adding In The Details

Once you've completed the landscape design, it is important to remember to add in the details. This could mean simply filling in open spaces and gaps within the enclosed design, using plants to accent walkways or patios used in the design, or installing an outdoor lighting system. Visual effects are key components of landscape design. Think about how beautiful and versatile your garden could be with a lighting system containing dimmers and spotlights accenting your flowers and plants, and bushes, shrubs and trees. Adding such details enliven any landscape design, lend character and add dimension to it, and become a way to express a homeowners' personal style.

Whatever you choose to decorate your landscaping design with, remember, after all, that landscape designing is not merely creating a collection of flowering plants. You must create the background and enclosure, and then look after your flowers, plants, etc. in order to keep them looking fresh and vibrant, and flourishing. Take notice of the little details in the beginning and you will see a splendid result in the end.

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