Is Your Yard Just a Blank Slate? Those of
you ready to landscape your yard shouldn't think of it as a blank
slate to be "drawn" upon.
Several things must be taken into account
as you make plans for your landscape, even if your space is not
very large. "
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Those of you
ready to landscape your yard shouldn't think of it as a blank slate
to be "drawn" upon. Any plot of land has many factors which make up
an active network. Several things must be taken into account as you
make plans for your landscape, even if your space is not very large.
For a residential site, you may not have skyscrapers, fierce
traffic, and heavy pollution to account for. Depending on where
you live, though, desert conditions, existing plants, lots of shade,
or even sea spray may need to be factored in to your site planning.
Looking at the entire situation, or context, of your site helps
not only to decide what kinds of elements to include (decks, walkways,
vines, lawns, etc.), but where they should be placed and how they
will interact with each other.
For instance, having your heart set on your favorite rose bush
may cause you disappointment if your entire yard is densely shaded.
Planting your whole backyard in ivy may save you some lawn maintenance,
but if you have young children, where will they play?
Before you even think about taking a major step in landscaping
your yard, you or a professional need to look at the following criteria:
- site location
- size of your space
- shape of your yard
- contours (change in elevation, dips and hills)
- drainage patterns (where does water enter and leave your yard?)
- zoning (what things won't you be able to do with the existing
- utilities (where is that gas line, anyway?)
- significant existing features (stumps, sheds, trees)
- traffic patterns
- views from and into your yard
- climate/microclimates within your space
- neighborhood patterns (is your corner lot a cut-through?)
Brainstorm; sit in your yard, walk around, and come up with
the variables that make your yard unique. Do you have kids who
need a place to play? Is there a big utility pole right where you
wanted to plant flowers? Does your drain spout empty in a really
bad spot? See if there are any unfavorable conditions that can be
fixed beforehand; if not, your landscape plan will have to work
around, or even improve, these situations.
Good luck on this first step. Next you'll need to make
a proportionately-drawn sketch on graph paper, in which you'll insert
all of this preliminary information. From there, you can go on to
designing your yard, but if you have trouble doing so, you'll at
least have all the footwork done so that a designer can take the
process from there. Happy landscaping!
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Stacy Helt is a home business owner who specializes in
personalized plant lists and landscape design via the Internet for
customers in every region of the United States. She has a five-year
degree in Landscape Architecture, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her business web site can be found at http://www.yourperfectlandscape.com/.
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