We all try to do the right thing whether it is our job, our investments, our children, or the environment we live in so why do we leave our landscape decisions in the hands of our builder or the latest plant that says “buy me!”. Have a good reason behind all your design decisions and you’ll always be successful. The uneducated eye often does not initially see poor design or poor craftsmanship. We would like to educate on a few things to look for.
Complements the look of the home: Your home has a certain style, a shape, different colors, and way that it rests on your lot. A landscape needs to add balance to the look of your home, connected the house to the land and perhaps frame the view of your home. A color scheme of plant material should also harmonize with the home.
Right plant in the right spot: Plants need to be installed in consideration of their eventual size, and sun /shade considerations. A plant should compliment its neighboring plants and have a purpose to own its spot. If you have a home a few years old consider relocating movable, improperly placed plant material to more desirable locations.
Structure: Sculpturing and creating balance in your landscape is something most people don’t even consider, but it is the placement and arrangement of trees, masses of evergreens, and your home that creates outdoor spaces and gives definition to the borders of your property. When color is not there to steal the show, a black and white winter photo of your home brings out the structure, balance and contrast that are present. After the leaves have fallen and your perennials and annuals are gone you’ll get a simplistic view of your landscape’s structure. On another note, the improper placement of major trees has create many a headache for people, there is not a more critical landscape decision that you ever make.
The right mix: A variety of evergreens, deciduous plants, perennials and annuals that gives important contrast and wholeness to a landscape. Just like a football team with eleven quarterbacks will never win the super bowl, a landscape that is all Encore azaleas and Knock out roses will never team up to add wholeness.
Creative plant design. Landscapes are such a great, unique art form, because plants are four dimensional…changing through time. Properly sculptured, trees, evergreens and hardscaping bring structure to your landscape. Attractive landscapes don’t focus on the look of individual plants, but the relationships among the elements. Plant combinations come alive by contrasting evergreen with deciduous, plant heights and shapes and of course color and textures .
Lighting Evening landscape lighting is generally installed for three reasons, security, safety, but primarily aesthetic reasons. A professional lit home and landscape, with contrasting uses of light can add an entirely new dimension…an evening look that is artsy. Most systems are relatively inexpensive with low voltage wires which require little digging and fixtures that are meant to light and not be seen. Professional grade systems will give you the longevity and effects you want to create.
Irrigation may not be an attribute, but it promotes a great a look. If applicable, an irrigation system should fit the layout of your plants, landscape beds, lawn and allow for the proper amounts of water application to different areas of your yard, based on plant needs. A properly designed and programmed sprinkler system lowers your water bills, conserves water and properly irrigates your lawn and plant material, resulting in better plant growth and appearance.
The landscape is well maintained. A well maintained landscape starts with good design that allows for growth, proper plant installation for plant vitality and fits the time constraints of the owner. Proper maintenance addresses pruning, fertilization, pest control, liming, watering and Care with a capitol C. Your landscape is a living entity that needs attention, so protect your investment. You may want to let your contracting company also maintain your landscape.