Landscape design is the art of arranging the features of an area of land for aesthetic and/or practical reasons. It is often divided into two major components: hardscape (the nonliving elements, such as pavers) and softscape (the living elements, such as flowers).
Some major concepts of landscape design include:
· Unity (harmony)
Unity is the effective use of elements in a design to convey a theme. Unity is achieved by implementing a design consistently over a landscape through mass planting or repetition. Whereas balance is a term of comparison between two segments of a landscape, unity pertains to the overall picture of a landscape. Unity has been achieved when the viewer senses that all the individual elements of a landscape fit together to form a coherent theme.
While striving for unity, do not forget to keep things in proportion. Proportion is the sense or requirement that the size of the individual components or groups of components in a landscape fit into the whole landscape harmoniously. One way to achieve proportion is through proper use of transition applied to the size of the respective components. A landscape that fails to convey good proportion is one that is marred by abrupt transitions.
Transition is the gradual change achieved by the manipulation of the basic design elements of color, scale, line, form, and texture. Unless striving to achieve a particular effect, avoid abrupt transitions. For example, if the color of your flowers is repeated as you go from one part of the yard to another, there is a sense of a cohesive whole, which gives you a smooth transition.
Sometimes a successful transition is enhanced simply by adding a suitable landscaping element to a vast space, thereby breaking it up into segments that are more easily digestible for the viewer. One could say that a transition is created in such cases.
Here are a few more of these concepts:
· Plant form
· Plant texture
· Color theory
· Focal point
A related word is landscaping, but the two terms are not synonymous. Landscaping is the more overarching of the two and is often self-taught. Studying landscape design can help you achieve superior landscaping because many aspects of landscaping profit greatly from a designer’s eye. Moreover, landscaping goes beyond the glamor of the creative side (that is, design) and includes landscape maintenance. Whereas the designer’s job is to plan how the finished site will look and, often, execute the resulting landscape plan—it is someone else who will be responsible for maintaining that site in good order.
Landscape Design Is More Art than Science
Because plants are at the heart of landscape design, knowledge of the science of horticulture is one of its critical components. The field is, however, more of an art than a science. Some decisions will be based not on hard fact but on personal tastes, intuition, or current consensus.
For example, in designing a foundation planting, there is no set of hard scientific facts to which one can point to make the case that a curved design is better than a straight one. Nonetheless, most contemporaries seem to agree that a gracefully curving design just looks better. On an unconscious level, people seem convinced that a curved foundation planting works because it does a better job of softening the overwhelming linearity of a house wall. Precisely because landscape design is more art than science, reasonable people can disagree over what is best. There is room for different tastes and opinions. These differences can be manifested in the following:
· Plant choices
· Choices in hardscape
· Formal vs. informal styles
For example, in discussions on plant choices, you will occasionally encounter the notion that some plants are overused. In such cases, always remember that what is being stated is merely an opinion, even though it is being stated in a manner that sounds authoritative.
In debates over hardscape, the disagreement often centers on the material to be used. If you are having a fence built, for example, will you select a vinyl fence or a wooden fence? The answer may depend more on emotional preferences than on intellectual arguments. Likewise, when choosing a decking material, will you go with composite or wood? Some of the composites do a marvelous job of mimicking wood. But if you happen to be a homeowner who admires wood, every time you walk on a composite deck, you will be reminded that it’s not real wood. People disagree not only about individual components of landscape design such as plants and decks but also regarding the overall style. There are two major camps you can fall in when it comes to style: formal landscape design and cottage-garden (informal) style. Both landscape designers and landscape architects practice landscape design. To do so, you should know the steps it takes, including education.
Why Landscape Design is Important?
Landscapes give a beautifying touch to a property. Be it a residential area or a commercial complex, landscapes have always been the center of attraction. Proper landscape design has gained importance in the past few years. Landscaping is much more than the beautification of the yard, it is a place of relaxation, entertaining and can be a place of conservation with minimum human activities. Landscapes are essential for the environment as it utilizes fewer resources, supports lifecycle, flourishes flora and fauna, and offers long-term investment results. With the world’s population multiplying at a steady pace and our resources also depleting at the same time, adding a well thought out landscape is a very important contribution to Mother Nature and this planet.
Importance of Landscapes
Let’s understand the importance of landscapes in our lives and in this world.
· Nature Preservation – The most significant advantage of having a landscape is the preservation of nature. Urban architecture is full of wooden decking and concrete flooring. People have started acknowledging the importance of plants and trees in their lives. Landscaping offers solutions to various environmental issues, and protects natural resources and ecology.
· Reduces Pollution – A smart garden helps in reducing pollutants in the environment. Many manufacturing companies have come forward to adopt a garden in their architecture. In other words, landscaping helps in purification of the air in the nearby areas. They help purify both outdoor and indoor air quality.
· Protects Plants – Plants are a vital part of our biological life cycle. Landscaping allows different species of plants to flourish in their natural habitat, free of pests. They are provided with an adequate amount of water, good quality of soil, and sunlight to grow and nurture. It also helps in protecting endangered plant species that carry medicinal properties.
· Protection from Heat – We find solace in a tree shade during scorching summers. This shows the importance of plants and trees in our lives. Landscaping offers the concept of pocket parks or small parks that allow people to relax from their hectic urban lifestyle. This is, again, an excellent idea to promote greenery in the concrete cities.
· Water Management – We are fast running out of wetlands. The situation can be controlled with the help of planned and smart landscapes. Wetlands are responsible for controlling floods and managing biological diversity. Landscapes are a natural way to curb this issue.
· Offers Outdoor Recreation – Landscapes are an excellent means of outdoor recreation. This will boost the physical well-being of the local population. Kids can enjoy playing in these landscapes, and can learn about conservation of the environment.
· Wooden Blinds – Hardwood blinds are a good choice for big windows since they are both sturdy and light. Most wood blinds are made using sustainable forestry processes and are available in a broad range of stains to complement most hand-rubbed furniture, molding, and flooring.
· Boosts Mental Health – Sitting for some time in the lap of nature can have a positive impact on a person and his state of mind. This exercise enhances the productivity of working individuals by boosting their confidence and concentration levels. In other words, more green spaces indicate better psychological health.
One should consult professional landscape contractors in Utah for designing a landscape in a property.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Landscaping
The plants, structures and other features you place on your property impact more than just the appearance of your home. Understanding how landscaping affects you and your surroundings helps determine a direction for planning your outdoor space. You can get maximum return from your investment while minimizing negative effects on your family and the environment.
Landscaping your property allows you to make better use of the land. The plants you grow and structures you install help define the space for various uses. For example, a patio creates a functional area designed for entertaining or dining outdoors. A raised bed provides an area for growing vegetables or planting flowers to improve the look of the home. Planned landscaping can also reduce energy costs inside the home. Trees, shrubs and other plants that shade the building or the outdoor air conditioning unit can reduce the need to run the air conditioner, while a windbreak of trees eases cold winds in the winter so you don’t need to run the heating system as much.
Landscaping can increase a property’s value by making it more attractive. A well-manicured property with appealing landscaping is often a selling point for a home. The landscaping can also improve your home’s appearance to match similar homes in the neighborhood. In addition to the monetary value, many homeowners feel a sense of pride and enjoyment in a home that is nicely landscaped.
Landscaping a yard requires an upfront financial investment that ranges from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on how you landscape. Handling the work yourself saves on labor costs, but installing items like water features or patios is labor-intensive and requires precision to get a professional look. You also have to research plants to determine where to place them and how to care for them. Even after the initial investment, homeowners incur upkeep costs including watering, replacing plants, sealing wood decks and buying chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers.
Time and Effort
Like the costs associated with landscaping, time and effort is required both when you initially landscape and continually with maintenance. Caring for plants in the landscape requires irrigation, weeding, managing pests, fertilizing, pruning and harvesting produce. The plants need continuous care throughout the growing season so you may have to ask a neighbor or hire a company to care for the plants when you are gone. Patios, decks and fences require occasional cleaning, repairs and painting to maintain them.
The environmental impact of landscaping varies and can be either negative or positive. Incorporating the natural habitat into your landscaping or planting native plants protects the environment. These plants require less water and care since they grow naturally in the climate. Exotic plants often require more care and irrigation, increasing costs and using extra resources. Some non-native plants are considered invasive and can overtake the area, damaging local plants and animals. Excessive use of chemicals in landscaping can pollute the groundwater.
Pros And Cons Of Hiring A Landscape Designer
To have a garden is a privilege not bestowed on many. However, when you see every third person displaying a garden of their own, then it calls for having a garden that is different from the others. To do that, you have to have a garden that catches the eye not only with its variety of flowers but also with its design. This requires a landscape designer, who can be called as the ‘exterior decorator’ of the house. Only a landscape designer has the experience and the expertise to give your garden that unique look. He also has the means to carry this out if you have an extensive garden. Most people think that anyone can do landscaping with a little bit of imagination. For such people landscaping starts and ends with planting a flower. While this can be true for a garden in your backyard or a balcony, a sizeable garden requires a lot more planning. For, you must remember that landscaping is not as simple as planting flowers. An eye-catching garden has various other attractions than only flowers. Like, you would like to add a fishpond or a waterfall or a couple of fountains, which requires professional hand. Having said that, it must also be noted that hiring a landscape designer also has its fair share of merits and demerits.
· Landscape designing can be very overwhelming for a homeowner. So, a landscape designer can handle this task effectively as they are trained for the job.
· Also, you don’t have to buy expensive tools to landscape your garden. A landscaper will arrange his/her own tools.
· A landscape designer will be an expert on plants. He/she will have an extensive and varied plant knowledge that can save you from costly errors. While designing the landscape the type of plants selected must be dependent on the climate where they can grow properly. Also, he/she can help you select which types of plants are appropriate for a particular garden. In this way, a landscaper can save you huge costs that you are likely to incur later. He/she can also help you in selecting those plants that require minimal maintenance.
· Meaningful design requires a thorough site analysis. This can only be effectively done by a landscape designer. Site management includes property measurements and details of pre-existing conditions. Along with these, the drainage, light, and soil conditions are also taken into consideration. The designer also identifies the key elements of the landscape, which he/she can integrate into the design.
· Only a landscape designer can implement a well thought out plan. A planned design will make sense and will be aesthetically appealing. When planning a landscape design all the needs and requirements of the owners as well as the site condition and issues are amalgamated into the plan.
· A landscape designer can work wonderfully when the area is large, as it will require more planning. A landscaper will also be able to calculate better.
· A landscape designer will not only add beauty but also style and elegance to the garden. You can just put down your choice and preference, like if you want an English garden or a Japanese one.
· A landscape designer will also make your garden look natural, so that it complements the surroundings.
· A landscape designer will bring out the most from your garden. You don’t have to worry if your garden is too large or too small. A landscape designer will make the size and the design complement each other.
· Hiring a landscape designer is very expensive. Especially if you have a tight budget then a landscape designer is unaffordable.
· It takes quite a lot of time, from planning to execution to completion. If you are ready to forego a little detail then you can do without a landscape designer.
· For small gardens, it is a waste of time and money to hire a landscaper. They are especially good for large projects like parks.