There are several ways to approach the planning and basic landscaping around your property. All of them should take into consideration the needs and interests of you and your family, whether you are moving into a brand new home that is as bare outside as in, or whether you have an older house with a planting that needs renovating or doesn’t suit your gardening interests or tastes (or time).
Whatever kind of new homeowner you are, you will be as anxious to improve the outside of your property as you have been to decorate and furnish the inside of the house. Harmony between house and garden is the keynote of today’s landscaping.
To achieve this, always take into consideration the background of your special requirements and interests, use one of three following approaches:
1. Employing landscape architects or consultants
The amount of outside help that you seek in the planning stage depends, of course, on the budget. Employing a landscape architect or landscape designer to make a basic plan of your property can be very worthwhile, especially for larger places complicated by varying terrain. Professional landscaping provides permanent satisfaction and increased value.
In addition to planning the landscape design, professional consultants may recommend contractors and nurseries that will do the later work and may themselves supervise the plantings and necessary preliminary operations, such as earth moving to change grades, and installation of driveways, paring areas, terraces, and other components of the landscape.
Of course not all improvements need be accomplished at once. Projects can be carried on over several years to spread out the costs. The important point is that a basic design plan exists and is being followed over time to five relationship and meaning to the property as a whole.
2. Nurseries that plan and plant
If you use neither a landscape architect nor landscape consultant, you can still get professional outside help by directly approaching a local nursery that specializes in planning landscaping as well as selling trees and shrubs. Such nurseries usually maintain a landscaping department and give you a plan without charge so long as you let them do the actual work with their own materials.
Often, such an arrangement works out great for both parties, both financially and artistically. The new homeowner no longer has to worry about his naked-appearing house and lot (they may lay sod instead of planting grass seed to give the house a green lawn virtually overnight).
Now all that remains for the homeowner is to water and maintain the plantings and concentrate on the details of the landscape – a rose garden, a perennial border, vegetables – in short, the pleasures of gardening.
One caution: be careful to choose a reliable nursery, especially if you are new in the area, and know what you are contracting for. Again, be sure the plan and subsequent layout suit you and your family’s needs rather than the convenience of the nursery.
Some nurseries, unless encouraged otherwise, tend to repeat successful landscaping formulas so that many communities are composed of look-alikes – houses and landscapes all from the same cookie cutter. Unless you prefer your landscaping to be like that of every other in the area, be wary of package landscaping deals.
Also, don’t encourage the nurseryman to fill every inch of your property with plants! It is better to have a lean appearance at first than later overcrowding. Besides, you will want to add plants of your own choosing, both now and over time.
3. Planning and planting your own landscape
If you do not wish to hire a landscape architect, designer, or nursery service, then you must be your own designer. The risks vary according to the complexity of your site, your taste, skill, and knowledge of design and gardening and family requirements. If should be faced from the start that the new homeowner will probably make some mistakes, but few that can’t be remedied.
First of all, you can lean from the mistakes as well as accomplishments of other homeowners by studying existing plantings and solutions to landscaping challenges. The work of good landscape architects is on public display around university buildings, public buildings, industrial complexes, shopping centers, parks, botanic gardens, and even state highways.
While each property must be treated individually, you can utilize much of what you observe about the importance of texture, balance, and composition in arranging plants.