Professional landscapers apply a set of basic design principles to create attractive yards. Applying these concepts can help homeowners realize the landscape of their dreams.
Managing lawns efficiently saves water and time. Reduce the size of your grass lawn and replace it with low-water plants or xeriscaping.
Create outdoor “rooms” for your family, guests and pets. Furnish these areas with comfortable seating and stylish, weather-resistant furnishings.
The plant selection process is one of the most critical components of landscaping. Choosing plants that are appropriate for your yard’s site conditions is critical to successful and low-maintenance landscape design. Plants can be used for many purposes including shade, screening views, blocking noise or dust, creating windbreaks, attracting or repelling wildlife, providing ground cover, and adding color. It is important to select the right plants for your needs to avoid unnecessary maintenance, costly transplanting, and failure of installed plant materials.
Using native plants in your landscape is the best way to support local habitat and reduce environmental problems such as pollution, water runoff, and climate change. Native plants require far less artificial fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides than traditional suburban lawns or bark-mulched landscapes. Native plants are also better at reducing air pollution by filtering and storing carbon dioxide and releasing clean oxygen back into the atmosphere.
To help keep your yard healthy, look for low-maintenance plants like ground covers, such as moss, and flowering plants such as hellebore. These can replace grass in shady areas where it is difficult for other plants to grow. Plants that spread and grow in a low-growing manner, such as ivy, are another great option to use in shady areas. Its green, dense foliage can help cover ground and prevent weeds while also complementing other plants in the garden.
Trees have a major impact on the landscape. When planted properly, they can provide shade, privacy, and value to your home. A well-tended tree can add beauty to the front of your property as it brightens the curb appeal with its seasonal color and attractive form. A mature tree can reduce your energy bill in the summer by blocking the sun’s heat from entering the house. In the winter, its bare branches can protect the house from wind damage.
When choosing the right trees for your property, consider size and climate zone. There are many small trees that will fit in narrow spaces. There are also cultivars and dwarf varieties that offer a more compact growth habit.
It is also important to think about the soil type and quality of the area where you will be planting a tree. Many tree species require specific soil conditions in order to thrive. It is a good idea to have the soil tested before planting.
Adding trees to your lawn can help reduce erosion and improve water quality. In addition, they can increase the value of your property and provide benefits to wildlife.
Shrubs are another important landscape feature that help to tie your yard together with the surrounding grass and other plants. They add color, privacy, and beauty to your home. There are a variety of shrubs to choose from, including evergreens and deciduous ones that provide a beautiful fall color show. Shrubs are also a vital part of any landscaping plan, as they can serve many purposes such as creating boundaries, filling in space between other plants and enhancing your lawn’s curb appeal.
Planting shrubs at different heights will create an appealing “staircase” effect for wildlife. For example, oaks, hickories, and tall conifers can be planted at property borders while medium-height shrubs such as serviceberry and American mountain-ash are good options for the home’s interior. Lower shrubs such as bearberry and coralberry can be planted near the house to offer additional bird habitat.
Unlike trees, shrubs can provide privacy from neighbors or public spaces without blocking too much sunlight. They also help to soften the lines of your home’s architecture. Many shrubs are evergreen, adding a green touch even in the winter. Other shrubs produce flowers and berries that attract a wide range of wildlife to your yard. Lastly, the roots of some shrubs can anchor soil in areas where runoff threatens the grass and other plantings. When trimming a shrub, be sure to use sharp pruning tools. Blades that come into contact with a sick plant can spread the disease to other plants.
Flowers are a fun and easy way to bring color to your yard. They also play a critical role in supporting pollinators and other local wildlife. However, it is important to remember that they should only make up a small portion of your landscaping. Overdoing it with flowers can lead to a messy and overcrowded look that will detract from the beauty of your landscape. In addition, choosing the right flowers requires careful thought about color scheme and space.
If you’re thinking about planting a flower garden, start by familiarizing yourself with your USDA growing zone and general plant requirements. Avoiding plants that are not suited to your climate can save you time and money. Also, consider your yard’s sun/shade conditions. A garden that gets plenty of sun is a good spot for flowers like roses, tulips and lilies, while shady areas are best for bulbs like snowdrops, wood anemone, and snake’s head fritillaries.
Another great option for your yard is a wildflower meadow. Meadows provide a rich source of nectar and pollen for bumblebees, honeybees, and other native bees. They also help prevent soil erosion and improve the quality of your soil by promoting healthy microbial activity. Lastly, they attract local wildlife such as birds, hedgehogs, frogs, newts, and lizards. Did you know that gardens alone cover more space than all UK National Nature Reserves combined? What better way to support biodiversity than by transforming your lawn into a wildlife meadow?
Containers can be used to screen outdoor seating areas or pool areas, create a focal point, add color and texture to large green spaces and more. They can be more economical than using borders and hedges to accomplish the same tasks. Containers are also easier to maintain because they can be placed close to an outside faucet for watering. And they are easier to reach for grooming or pruning.
When choosing plants for containers, it is important to consider size and color. Plants should be in scale with the container and the planting backdrop. Too small of a plant can overwhelm the container, while too large of a plant can look haphazard in a tight space. To avoid a flat look, consider adding a spike or garden ornament for height and a trailing plant to drape over the sides.
When creating a combination of plants, it is fun to experiment with different color combinations and foliage textures. There are countless choices, including silver-gray, red, many shades of green and variegated foliage. Foliage colors can also help to complement or highlight a theme.
Lighting is a crucial component of landscape design and allows your carefully-selected plants and hardscaping to be enjoyed after the sun goes down. It is also a great way to draw attention to unique features in your yard, such as a fountain or garden cabin. Lights lining pathways can help prevent accidents and make your guests feel safer as they walk through the yard at night.
The lighting of a landscape can be done in many ways, including highlight or up lighting, which is great for accentuating statues and other decorative elements. Another technique is silhouetting, which is used to highlight an object with a striking silhouette effect. This technique is particularly effective for stone features and retaining walls.
Another benefit of outdoor lighting is that it can deter burglaries and other crime after dark. Criminals can be more easily seen and have fewer places to hide when the house is well-lit. This is a great security feature that should be included in your landscaping plan, along with other precautionary measures like alarms and fences. If you’re worried about the expense of installing outdoor lights, consider that a professionally-installed system will last longer and require less maintenance than cheaper options.