For the individual home owner, problems of landscaping are usually confined to the relations that exist between an individual house and lot. Frequently, one of these problems is to make the best of a lot in a neighborhood in which little thought was given to landscaping when the area was originally subdivided. Today, fortunately, there is a realization that it is a short-sighted policy to develop an area solely with the idea of obtaining as many lots as possible, and that the best results are obtained when the landscaping is considered in the initial stages of planning the neighborhood.
It is not within the scope of this text to consider the many aspects of site planning. However, in planning any neighborhood, basic considerations such as access, privacy, shade, and windbreaks are fundamentals.
In planning a neighborhood, it is desirable to plan the access roads so as to discourage through traffic while still affording a direct approach to each plot. Various types of plans can be used to accomplish this end. One of these is the cluster-type plan.
A cluster-type plan may include a few or many clusters of houses. Each cluster is built around a court. Parking space is provided in the court. The access roads afford an approach to the neighborhood but discourage through traffic.
The cluster plan has several advantages. It preserves the rural character of the land by retaining stretches of open fields and stands of trees, and by leaving undisturbed such natural assets as brooks and hillocks. Natural obstacles can be bypassed. Roads and utility costs thus are greatly reduced. By retaining the natural conditions of land and trees, it is often possible to save money in development and to have a more valuable and attractive neighborhood in the end.
The common facilities of a neighborhood, such as the sewage-disposal plant, recreation center, bridle paths, and golf course, can be owned by the municipality or by a private association of the homeowners.
Common recreation centers in such groups are generally confined to activities for badminton, croquet, horse shoe pitching and shuffle board which require small sized courts. The fact that courts for badminton and croquet are almost identical in size allows the same area to be used for both games since the equipment is easy both to erect and dismantle.
When roadways are curved with large lots and houses set back in staggered fashion, better-looking streets and more interesting vistas result. However, in these plans the rectangular lot is uncommon and some lots are of most unusual shape and present definite problems in landscaping.