Home Improvement – Don’t Forget the Landscaping

WHEN you buy a new house or decide to improve your old one, you are, of course, concerned with every foot of ground that goes with it, for modern living and modern gardening can make every inch of your property usable and desirable.

New methods of soil improvement, grading, fencing and terracing make even sloping, hilly lots, hitherto undesirable, now attractive and choice. Modern chemistry has brought new nutrients to the soil and has provided weapons against the traditional enemies of the garden: disease and insects. Hardier bulbs and seeds make gardens more successful as well as wonderfully vivid. Fabulous hybrids have lengthened the list of flowering trees and shrubs, creating specimens for every color and design scheme, every type of house and garden.

New gardening equipment and materials speed the time-consuming garden tasks. New ways of living bring us into the outdoors, and barbecue meals and comfortable lawn furnishings make a small suburban back yard as luxuriously enjoyable as was previously possible only on a large estate.

Architecturally, today’s house is much more a part of the outdoors than was yesterday’s. Large picture windows, glass walls, glassed-in sun-porches and terraces all combine to make the garden a part of the house. Consequently, the view becomes that much more important.

A beautiful garden, a luxuriant turf and healthy blossoming trees all add as much to the interior of your home as your draperies or wallpaper. The effort and time you spend on your lawns and gardens will repay you in every way, indoors as well as out.

When you plan your grounds you will be governed by many of the principles you employ in decorating your home. Proportion, texture, color, line, harmony, function – these are terms that apply to landscaping as well as decorating. And if you have large grounds you will benefit from careful planning just as much as does the owner of a quarter of an acre.

Garden books are filled with formal plans for perfect gardens and grounds, but you will want to consider not the perfect garden in itself, but the one plan that will be perfect for your particular family. Analyze your family, its needs and habits; then design your grounds to best satisfy its prejudices, desires and demands.

The thing to do is hold a family council and talk over what you want to do. Of course, you will be governed by questions of cost and available space. Draw a plan of your property in fairly large scale, about 1/4 inch to the foot.

Now make a list of the things the family wants, such as a barbecue, tool house, drying yard, rock garden, fences, playhouse, badminton court, better lounging facilities.

Unless you are fortunate and have spacious grounds, you probably won’t be able to work everything into your program – but with planning, you can do things gradually. You can plan your garden so that it never looks bare and yet is always roomy enough for the additions you intend to make in the future. And some projects will serve more than one function.

For example, if you need a driveway and have young children, a blacktop that can be used for hopscotch and bicycle riding will serve a double purpose, and easily justify its cost. Or a fence that cuts off an unpleasant view can also act as a windbreak and a handsome background for a lounging area.

A retaining wall can double as a rock garden when planted with hardy dwarf shrubs and other rock-garden species.

Landscaping, if properly planned and properly executed will add to the comfort, improve the appearance and increase the value of your home.