Good Landscape Design

It’s important to be very aware of the surrounding areas when doing a landscape design. I’ve seen extensive professional landscapes that didn’t fit or compliment the adjacent areas. Try to keep in mind that your landscape should not only please you, but should be pleasing to your neighbors and all who pass by. I live in beautiful Northern California, with tree covered hills and vineyards all around. I like to see landscapes that blend with the existing scenery.

Many of the yards in our area are being converted from high-water use lawns to drought tolerant plants and ground cover on a low-water use drip system. Many of these conversions are very attractive, some, not so much. It all comes down to blending the plant material with the existing area.

A particular example of poor choices of plant material is a project in our neighborhood that used way too many desert looking grass plants in a planting medium resembling red Arizona dirt, which would be fine in Arizona, but doesn’t fit or blend with any of its surroundings. It all looks misplaced. The landscaper also over planted and created a checkerboard effect which is very unnatural.

Good landscape design uses a variety of shapes, colors, sizes, and greenery in natural groupings It also is desirable to leave some open space, possibly creating a simulated creek bed or path through the plantings. Don’t forget to add some decorative trees to the landscape. Always consider the size they will become and keep the scale appropriate for the site. There are many good books with illustrations of beautiful landscapes that you can use for ideas.

Another aspect of your design is the type of mulch or bark you choose. Again, I prefer a natural color, as opposed to the colored barks many are using. A combination of rock and bark is an option. Just choose the type and color carefully. Don’t forget to add some interesting planters, window boxes or garden accessories.

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