If you have decided to dip your toes in the waters of landscape design, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Let’s be honest, there are many choices to be made, even for smaller projects. For the sake of design harmony, consider using the basic principles of interior design as a jumping on point for your landscape design ideas. To build on that, we are offering seven tips to get you thinking. These are good points of entry whether your are planning to tackle the project on your own or consult with landscape design professionals.
Landscape Design Tip 1
Grab a pen and a notebook and start by compiling a list of the all the possible needs and wants you are considering. This is a little like brainstorming. Don’t self edit at this point; just get those ideas on the page. For instance:
Landscape Design Tip 2
Consider the positioning of your house with regards to the sun and normal wind patterns. If your house faces north-south instead of east-west, the sun will shine your yard or patio differently. Lots of afternoon sun into the evening might be ideal for a garden, but not so much for a patio. When the wind blows through your neighborhood, it winds around houses (including yours) and local trees, telephone poles, garages, etc., to create predictable patterns. These types of patterns can have a direct effect on some aspects for your landscape design, such as fire pits. These considerations are really just the tip of the iceberg, but they are some of the most important ones to keep in mind. In Michigan, we have an all-seasons climate, which means that factors like the sun and wind can change at different points of the day and year. While too much sun on the west side of the house might seem like it would just be hot in summer, it could also mean that, come winter, some extra afternoon sun is helpful. So, weigh your options.
Landscape Design Tip 3
Think on it for a bit. Landscape design can be fun. It can also be a time commitment. Too often, people rush through a landscape project so they can be done and enjoy it. Then, after living with it for a little while, they realize that some aspects that looked good in the short term really don’t pan out all that well a few years later. Especially, if you are just moving into a new house, live in it for awhile. Get to know how you interact with your yard. Everybody is different and a good landscape design will not only look good, but also be functional and provide livable enjoyment.
Landscape Design Tip 4
It’s okay to start small. Turn on the television any weekend and you are bound to stumble across home and garden design shows. On those shows, they put together an elaborate design, have a seemingly unlimited budget, and overhaul everything in just one weekend! What you don’t see behind the camera is a crew of a few dozen people working around the clock to get it all done. It’s just not the reality of how landscaping works for most people. It’s okay to start slow and let a plan develop. Getting your hands dirty is fun. Putting in a flower bed or getting some stones around the base of your trees is manageable in a weekend. Enjoy the process, then enjoy the results. Once you have an element or two in place, live with it for a little while and see how you like it. Flowers and plant take a little time to grow and fill in. What you put in place now may look very different in 4-6 weeks. If you are doing landscape design on your own, take your time. If you take the approach of just trying have it all finished, you set yourself up for taking shortcuts or doing sloppy work for the sake of expediency. Then you wind up with a design that doesn’t fulfill its potential.
Landscape Design Tip 5
Have a focal point in mind. Good garden designs will have a focal point (sometimes more than one) in mind from the start. This is a good practice for landscape design, as well, as it can help guide the design. Focal points could be a particular tree, some shrubbery, or even a really eye-catching plant. Ideally, what you want to do, with regards to a focal point, is have it draw the eye and guide people through the landscape design.
Landscape Design Tip 6
Two words: scale and pace. There are a handful of tricky elements to keep in mind when you are getting started with landscape design. Scale and pacing are key, however, as they give a sense of coordination and continuity. Every element you add to your design will vary by shape, color, and size. For instance, large flowers, such as sunflowers, would look awkward in the middle of many flowers that are much closer to the ground. You could, instead, place them in the back or against a garage wall or retaining wall, even. That said, you will also want to repeat several elements throughout your design, whether it be common colors, common shapes or something else. This helps tie the whole design together. Keep in mind, though, too much consistency can be a little boring. Some items should be there to add some “pop.”
Landscape Design Tip 7
Stay open minded. The only constant is change. There may be some things you find eternally appealing. By all means, include them. As you grow, so will your tastes. Remain open-minded to the idea that your landscape design should be a reflection of yourself. As such, it may need refreshing from time to time. And that’s okay.
Finally, if you are going to tackle landscape design by yourself, we can’t over-emphasize the role of patience. If, on the other hand, this all seems like a bit much to balance, that is also understandable. At E.P.M, we offer a full range of professional landscape design and installation services. Our experienced team of professionals can help you at any and every stage of the landscaping process. To learn more, simply contact us today at (517) 990-0110.