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Landscape Design and Gardening

The taste, culture, and overall personality of an individual are reflected through a number of aspects, among which the residence is considered to be one of the most important. A cozy and warm home to return to, after a long tiring day is many people’s dream. A beautiful garden outside that home would be the perfect combination to relax. Therefore landscape design, plays a very crucial role in decorating and enhancing the beauty of a garden.

While designing a landscape for the garden, the first task would be to decide the area where the garden can be placed. It is also important to keep in mind to leave areas for other necessary activities such as space for the kids to play, place for the clothesline, and the way leading from the gate to the main door. Once the area has been decided, the next thing is to choose the right plants and herbs to decorate the garden based on the area. There are different plants for shady and sunny areas, and the soil type of the garden – you can find the specifics out from books, gardening Web sites, or asking for advice at a local garden center.

Apart from these two basic criteria, the elements used for designing a landscape for the garden would be the color, form, line, texture and scale of the landscape. A person can choose the color of the garden by the color of the plants, such as if a person prefers green color, planting evergreens can keep the garden green throughout the year. The form refers to the shape of the plants in which they are grown and maintained. These may vary from oval, to rectangular, and broad spreading, to columnar spreading. The line is the order in which the plants are grown, keeping in mind the eye movement of the viewer. The texture of the garden can be decided by the foliage or bloom of the plants, which might be soft or course in nature. Scale refers to matching the proportion of the garden with all the other elements surrounding it.

The most interesting part lies in the fact that the homeowners can landscape without professional help, by letting their imagination flow according to their taste and preference. Various courses and books are also available to learn landscape designing.

Create a Garden and Patio Design To Enjoy Year-Round

Retreat to a garden and patio design that’s beautiful year-round, and takes minimum fuss. What makes this possible? Carefree plants with continuous blooms, and a well-planned garden structure.

You don’t need to be a lawn and garden expert or landscape designer to do this. Here are a few tips for creating a super yet simple garden and patio design that will be a knockout!

The first step is to take a birds-eye view of your garden and patio area. Make a rough sketch of your space, and play around with a few designs until you like what you see. As you’re doing this, get some great ideas from existing garden and patio decorations. Pay a visit to other people’s gardens, or public gardens. Look through home landscaping and gardening magazines, find what you like, and develop plans of your own.

Decide what style or theme is right for you… formal, casual, rustic, Southwestern, Japanese… there are enormous possibilities. Then stay with that style and theme so the overall effect does not become confusing. For instance, you wouldn’t want to combine bronze garden sculptures of saints or cherubs with rustic wooden wagon wheels.

Imagine what your patio area will most often be used for. You may plan to entertain lots of outdoor dinner guests. If so, be sure your patio space has plenty of room for the largest number of people right from the beginning. Your patio may be more of a private, reflective retreat for enjoying the sun, reading a book, or gazing up at the stars. Determine the use of shade, open sun, or even covering it with a roof.

Now take your favorite ideas and put them into your rough plans – and soon you’ll have a design that is ready for action.

The next step is to create your garden and patio design to scale – you can use landscaping software for this, or do it by hand. Choose the flowers you intend to plant, noting how many you will need for each month of your growing season, and select the landscaping structures that will give your design its form.

Some say the secret to a beautiful garden and patio design is having a good amount of hard structure. This is what landscape designers refer to as “good bones” – walls, fences, garden bridges, gates, garden arbors, landscape statues, garden fountains … even a strong line of evergreen plants.

Garden structures such as these create forms and lines, giving your garden and patio design definition and dimension. Plus, in the winter when most plants are empty and bare, your garden will preserve its shape and sense of completeness. It’s amazing how just one or two structures can produce this satisfying effect.

Most garden and landscaping structures are built to withstand the elements. Treated pine, cedar and teak garden furniture, trellises, arbors, and decorative fencing are great choices. Stone, copper, and bronze garden statuary will never let you down. Garden fountains bring incredible beauty and atmosphere to any garden and patio design – in fact, entire gardens have been built around them.

Next, choose annual spring flowers and perennial plants that will give you blooms from one season to the next. For instance, select carefree roses that need no pruning or spraying, and bloom continuously from spring through fall. Fill planters with beautiful blooming flowers such as Oriental lilies or verbena for different colors all summer long. Establish flower beds in corners or along walk ways. Always consider your local climate and plant according to the sun and shade needs of your plants.

As you plan your garden and patio design, create paths or walk ways that lead from one area to the next. Rambling garden paths are relaxing and charming… and if laid out thoughtfully, will be a big help to you as the gardener. Paths can be of stone, brick, flagstone, gravel, or mown turf, although grass paths require more upkeep. Garden sculptures or sitting benches thoughtfully placed along the way provide wonderful expression.

If you want garden and patio designs that are pre-drawn, there are ready-made plans available in books and magazines. This is another fine way to get off to a solid start. Use pre-made garden plans from start to finish, or incorporate parts of them right into you own creative plans.

Copyright 2006 Robert Mosse

Tips for Adding Lighting to Your Landscape

Adding light to your landscaping will not only add security, but the right lighting will also make your d├ęcor stand out during those moonlit nights.

Here’s some tips for setting up lighting for your landscape or garden.

Before purchasing your lighting, you need to decide how much light you want to add to your property. Taking a walk around your property at night will help you decide where the most lighting is needed for both safety and ambience. The moon and any streetlights will be your guide in helping where more lighting is needed.

Places such as stairways and walkways need more lighting than moonlight or a small porch light. This is not only a safety issue but also where security could be an issue. Lights do not have to be as bright as spotlights, but adequate lighting could also detour a possible criminal from trespassing.

Those who are looking to break into a dwelling will look for the darkest way to enter. By having lighting in these areas, you are adding security for you and your family.

Once you have budgeted how much you would like to spend, be sure to shop around. Buying the best product at the best price will help save money on your landscaping project purchases. The money that is saved can be used on other projects that you would like to complete.

Once the lighting is purchased it is then time for the installation process. As a safety measure, be sure not to place lighting where someone will trip over the fixture or any type of wiring. The best of intentions when installing outside lighting can cause an accident if they are too close to a walkway. Many wires can be hidden under a layer of rocks, under the soil, or behind other objects.

In regards to the placement of the fixtures, the fixtures do not have to show unless you purchased special lights that are meant to be seen. Some landscapers may suggest to do just the opposite and have the lights hidden so that the landscaping is seen, not the lights. This makes the landscaping more attractive, both during the day and at night. Fixtures can be hidden in the bushes or on the side of larger objects. When the lights are turned on, they will then cast a nice hue on a tree or decoration and are not too bright. Having lights that are overpowering will distract from the landscaping instead of adding to it.

Planning and budgeting are key elements in creating a beautiful landscape. Be advised that anything electrical will add some cost to your electric bill each month. This extra cost in the electric bill is something that may or may not be of importance, as it depends upon how often the feature will be used and if there is a solar option or not.

For questions on outdoor lighting, contact local landscapers or nurseries; they have experience in lighting options and their insights could save you a buck or two. Some landscapers even provide a consulting services where for a small onetime fee they will come to your residence and tell you exactly what you need to buy, how to install it on your own, and give you an idea of how your lights should be placed on your landscape for the best visual appeal.