Post details: A Landscape from Scratch - Part 2

02/03/05

Permalink 02:33:36 am, Categories: Articles, 379 words   English (US)

A Landscape from Scratch - Part 2


Put It on Paper

Remember that landscaping is created in pencil, not in dirt.

Whether you plan traditional -- or natural -- landscaping on your own or will oversee a contractor, take a look at your lot objectively. Doodle diagrams showing sun angles during the day and throughout the year, direction of winter winds and summer breezes, privacy, good and bad views, slope, and the closeness of the lot line.

Once you've spotted the good and bad points of your yard, get to know its dimensions and boundaries. If the house is in a development, the builder or architect may have a detailed site plan for your home that shows the house and lot in scale. An alternative is the loan plan or survey plan, which shows lines drawn to scale, locations of all structures, and easements on the property, if applicable.

Creating a sense of unity

The simplest and most commonly-used method of unifying your site's different environments is through hedges, fences, or walls for privacy or boundaries. These elements set the landscape apart and attract attention. They will also separate special areas such as planting beds or vegetable gardens.

Unity is also created by using plants that are similar in form, texture, color, and growth habits. Nature provides its own guide: Group plants that thrive together in the wild.

Natural plant forms

Except for what's done through shearing or clipping, as with hedges, the form of all plants depends on the habitat. Basic forms may be vertical, rounded, horizontal, or weeping or trailing. Vertical plants such as arborvitae, some cedars, and conifers are important in plant composition because their height creates a strong contrast when they're placed among spreading or lower-growing plants.

Dogwoods, pin oak, Enkianthus, hawthorns, and a few viburnums develop strong horizontal lines and provide breadth. These work best around contemporary homes or traditional prairie-style homes with low, sweeping lines.

The drooping lines of such plants as weeping willow, beech, flowering cherries, forsythia, and jasmine can be used to create softer lines. These plants are most useful as accents in front of or among the stiffer, upright plant varieties.

Globular or rounded forms, the category in which most plants fall, are useful for creating large masses or borders.

Better Homes and Gardens

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