5 Landscape Design Tips

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Everyone wants a beautiful, functional space! We know how wistful we feel when browsing Pinterest through secret, fairy garden layouts, Victory gardens with a bounty of veggies, and cool, architectural landscapes. How do you choose? Let’s explore these 5 landscape design tips to find out what works best for YOU.

First, you should know the purpose of your garden. Do you want it to be functional and produce food? Do you want it to be an extra living space? Do you want it to be decorative? Most people find that a balance of all of these aesthetics appeal to them! Do what feels right! 

Next, you should define the boundaries of the space you’d like to have your garden. Is it spanning the whole yard? Then you’ll need to factor in walkways, arches, outbuildings, etc. One could also plant a smaller, more manageable garden that’s still packed with beauty! If you’re working with even a small balcony, you can create a “landscaped” space with planter boxes. When you’ve defined the boundaries of your lawn, observe the idiosyncrasies individual to your space. Take note of whether the area you’re intending to work with is shady, sunny, or a mix, as well as nearby utilities, and how much rain/water run-off occurs. For an aesthetically pleasing space, sketch out the curves or lack thereof of the land and borders of the space. Make your landscaping flow with those lines. 

Once you’ve got a basic sketch and understanding of your space, consider your “grounding” or “foundation” plants or hedges. Grounding plants are intended to border any house, building, or garage to connect the structure to the ground. You’ll typically want something proportionate to the structure and dense. As an example, boxwoods make a lovely grounding hedge for a house, but it would overtake a mailbox. Liriope or another densely leafy grass would suffice for a mailbox. Consider the eventual height of whatever it is that you plant. Grounding hedges can help define borders around individual beds as well. 

Now that you’ve defined your borders and “grounded” the existing structures on your property, it’s time to choose your plants! Referring to the first tip, what is your garden’s purpose? If it’s decorative, look up what plants and flowers grow best in your area. Ideally, you’ll put the tallest of the plants and flowers in the center of free-standing beds or in the back of beds tucked up against a building. If you are “food-scaping”, you’ll want to have easy access to pick your fruits and vegetables! Some vegetables, like radishes, can be cycled every 4 weeks. Are you wanting to keep up with something with that high of a turnover or would you prefer something with a slower growth, like tomatoes? Some vegetables require massive amounts of tending, such as pea plants and okra. They might need daily picking! Not to mention how many fruits and vegetables are on climbing vines. All of this needs to be taken into account when planning a food-scape. (Although arguably, it is the most rewarding garden to attempt.)

However, if you were planning on it being an extra living space, consider where you are putting your seating, tables, swings, grill, and benches first. Once you’ve done that, plan the rest of your beds around those things. When planning for living space, also take into consideration if you would like a patio and where you would put it. Would you want it close to the backdoor to have a spot to quickly hose off muddy shoes? Or would you like it tucked away on the back of your property; a secret book-reading nook?

Lastly, plant for the future. When it comes to trees, especially, make sure you’re choosing something that will fit in it’s space in the long-term. In the second tip, where you take note of where the utilities are located; this should be factored into this step. As an example, if you want a willow tree in your landscaping, the roots are shallow but VERY far-reaching. They are also water-loving. This means those roots will find and access sewer and water pipes! This could be a very expensive and aggravating planning mistake. Same tip applies to height and keeping lovely trees away from power lines. 

Use these 5 design tips to plan the best, most beautiful, most YOU garden! Whether the benefit you want to receive is beauty, food, extra living space or a little bit of everything, smart planning will make sure you achieve the landscaping of your dreams. As always, if you need a little help maintaining your landscape or if you need help getting started, contact your friends at Virginia Lawn Service, Inc.!

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