Designing a beautiful yard requires proper planning

Olivia Picard  |  5/20/2016 6:29:13 PM

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A key to creating a successful and beautiful landscape design is relying on a commonsense planning process. Using a step-by-step process, where the next step builds on the one before, you can develop your own plan that will create an attractive, functional and environmentally sensitive landscape.

First, think of the style you want your landscape to have. Look at other gardens and figure out what style you are most comfortable with. Gardening books, magazines and books on landscaping present photographs that can inspire you and help you make a decision. The style you choose is generally a matter of taste, but should strongly be influenced by the architecture of the house. The chosen style will guide the more aesthetic aspects of the landscape design. Styles generally fall in one of several categories, such as formal, informal, naturalistic, ethnic or ecological.

Landscape design combines art and science to create functional, aesthetically pleasing and ecologically sound surroundings that complement a home or other structure. Many elements of art — including color, form, line and texture — interact within a landscape to produce the design principles of unity, balance, simplicity and focus. In a landscape, plants fulfill dual roles: they form eye-pleasing scenes and are a key to reducing energy use and protecting our natural resources. For example, landscape designers often recommend grouping plants into masses to unify the design of plant beds. Groups of three, five or seven plants are visually pleasing to the eye — but this design technique provides environmental benefits as well. Trees planted in groups provide more atmospheric cooling than the same number of evenly spaced, isolated trees. And, as already noted, trees planted with accompanying shrubs and groundcovers beneath them form effective windbreaks.

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