Landscape Layout of House Grounds, Part Four

Planting

The planting of garden areas must be related to the interests, time, ability, and pocketbook of the individual owner. This is one of the many reasons why the initial concentration in the design of neighborhood landscaping should on the major tree planting for the whole community rather than on small-scale planting within the individual property lines.

One family might prefer colorful, exotic plants which require time and exacting gardening knowledge; another family might prefer a more maintenance-free garden and use perennials which provide year-round beauty with a minimum of care. In selecting plant material, it is important to know and select plant material that is indigenous to the region, so that maintenance can be held to a minimum. Also, keep in mind the expected size of a plant, its rate of growth, and its longevity. These characteristics will determine the place of a plant in the garden, as well as the necessary maintenance.

You should know the colors and textures of plant material, their seasonal changes, the size of their leaves, and their shininess or dullness. You should know how to combine these elements so that they blend or contrast with the architectural background provided by the building.

Flowers generally flourish best in sunny portions of the outdoor living area. They may be planted in separate beds or in continuous borders. Trips to nurseries will familiarize you with the kinds of plants available, their color, foliage, size, longevity, branch patterns, and care. Careful planning is necessary if beauty is to result.

Maintenance

An important factor in the design of outdoor areas is maintenance. A garden, for instance, changes from season to season and from year to year. Someone must guide its growth; someone must maintain it. The question of who will maintain the outdoor areas should be decided in the initial planning of house and outdoors.

Some garden elements require more maintenance than others. Among those requiring perhaps the greatest amount of care are annual and perennial flowers, trimmed hedges, trimmed shrubs and trees, plants requiring special soil and frequent watering, and lawns that are too small to be cut with a power mower.

Lawn, however, usually makes the best cover for large areas, and if large enough to warrant a power mower, is not too difficult to maintain. Trees and shrubs which do not need great care should be chosen. Many plants may be potted and moved from indoors to outdoors and back again. Raised flowers beds enclosed by masonry cubs make the flowers easier to reach and to care for.

Surfaced areas can be beautiful and are often the easiest areas to maintain. Flagstone and brick walks and terraces have a charm of their own; attractive results have been obtained with colored concrete. Keep in mind that masonry surfaces hold the heat and may require shade or washing down at night.

The Layout

Variations in such factors as the plan of the house, physical and climatic conditions, orientation, family needs and budgets for outlay and maintenance pose complex problems for the designer. These problems can be solved by a variety of treatments. Economics may limit the treatment but it need not limit beauty. In each layout the overall treatment should aim for simplicity, directness, dignity, comfort, and beauty. The success of any layout can be measured by the extent to which it achieves these objectives.

The layout drawings for a house should always show the house in relation to its immediate site and the street on which it is located. Also, they should show the location of the living and service areas, the trees, the lawn, and all the planting. In a well-planned layout, the planting is used to help define the layout.

Summary

The landscaping of a domestic property should be one of the earliest considerations in the design of the house. In fact, house sand grounds should be designed at the same time. Too often, the landscaping is considered only when the house is completed or nearing completion.

The layout of the landscaping for a domestic property should aim for simplicity, directness, dignity, comfort, and beauty.

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