In preparation for landscaping, collect landscaping ideas from friends, neighbors, or books. A smart idea is to collect photographs, take them yourself, or get pictures from books and magazines that focus on landscaping ideas. Visit public gardens and nurseries in your area to see what grows well and get more landscaping ideas from the gardeners.
When you look at photos, consider landscaping ideas that relate to theme and style. Notice how beds are configured and whether color is a theme. Also make a mental note of features and structures that contribute to the landscaping ideas – you’ll want to choose a consistent theme to make it easier for you when you go to choose or purchase your plants.
Once you have sufficient landscaping ideas, draw a rough plan that details what you are going to plant and where. You don’t have to specify all the plants if you don’t have the knowledge to do so – just write the basic landscaping ideas to include:
• large flowering shrubs
• trees for shade
• lawn area
• annuals for color
With a basic plan derived from your best landscaping ideas, you can then go shopping for plants, and get some conclusive landscaping ideas and advice from the expert gardeners.
Landscaping ideas aren’t just about in-ground foliage – remember to think about using planters, hanging baskets, floor planters, and specialty planters as part of your design.
Choosing the Best Time for Landscaping Plants
Generally spring is the best time to plant landscaping plants of all kinds, from trees to flowers. But there are many landscaping plants that you can continue to plant right through summer.
If you are starting from scratch, you need to decide exactly what landscaping plants you are going to include in your garden design. Remember that trees are considered the backbone of landscaping plants, because they are large and can have a lot of impact. Choose your trees carefully and plant them before planting any other new landscaping plants.
Shrubs, although smaller than trees, are vital landscaping plants because they add seasonal color with foliage, flowers and fruit. Like trees, shrubs form part of the structure of the garden, therefore should be positioned before you plant annuals and perennials, which are landscaping plants that have to be replaced every year or two.
Add smaller landscaping plants and flowers to complete the picture. Also, plan to add some hardscaping elements when landscaping plants. Consider plant and basket stands, floor planters, hanging baskets and trellises. Aside from landscaping plants, these elements will add style to your overall design.
While your front garden is what visitors see when they arrive at your home, the backyard is often where most entertaining takes place. For this reason backyard landscaping is a vital part of any overall landscaping or garden plan.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your backyard is; the first step is to determine function. Your backyard landscaping plan should include the backyard area and it’s a good idea to indicate what you want to happen, and where. For example, typical backyard landscaping plans include an area for sitting, a water element, possibly a swimming pool or a fishpond (or both), and an eating or cooking area for entertaining guests.
Backyard landscaping often incorporates walls, fences, or tall shrubs around the area to create a feeling of privacy. There may also be pathways and garden features in your backyard landscaping plan, such as trellises, specialty planters, and obelisks.
You can mirror the style of the front garden, or create a completely different look for your backyard landscaping. Just because the area is behind the house doesn’t mean that you should pay any less attention to backyard landscaping.
Naturally backyard landscaping also includes plants and flowers. Choose your foliage carefully to ensure your backyard landscaping theme is successful. Also, choose decorative elements such as plant stands, hanging baskets, and floor planters to accent your backyard landscaping style.
Expert Tips for Landscape Design
When you tackle your own landscape design, try to think on different levels (including the broader picture), and never forget about important details.
Remember that landscape design is not just about landscaping with plants. Landscape design also involves ‘hardscaping’ – and establishing pathways, building walls and fences, and creating solid features.
Practical aspects of landscape design include ensuring the soil in your garden is well prepared and that lighting is provided for both safety and security.
In a good landscape design views and focal points will direct the eye to different elements and features in the garden such as unique plants or decorative hardscape items like trellises.
A metal fence border will add instant elegance to your landscape design and serve to keep out animal pests.
A garden trellis is a great accessory for climbing flowers, and even vegetables, and it will complement your landscape design.
A beautiful plant stand or flower box is a great landscape design accessory that will add style to your deck, porch railing or mounted to a wall.
Color is important in any landscape design – keep your decorative hardscape items neutral or metallic finshes so they blend nicely with your colorful plant and flower arrangements.
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