Several journal entries ago, I shared some tips on filling holes in the landscape with new plants. We looked at the level of existing contrast between groups of plants, in terms of leaf color, shape and size, and used this information to select new plants. That information will become useful again when we finally begin to pick our plant palette. Today, however, we have a blank slate. We are starting from scratch. So how and where do we begin?
As a designer, one of my goals is to work with homeowners to establish healthy landscapes. We start by clearly defining the lawn lines and hardscapes for play, entertaining, and/or transitioning. Then, the remaining spaces are layered with plants that will eventually touch at maturity. Native trees, shrubs and perennials are used wherever possible, simply because they contribute more to a healthy ecosystem and food web than non-natives from other parts of the world.
Notice my focus on "lawn lines" rather than that of planting beds. This exercise of defining lawn space early in the design process limits its size to what is necessary and ensures the non-native lawn does not become the default landscape. Larger beds provide a lush backdrop and private space for play and entertaining as well as ecosystem function for the greater landscape. And, if the planting beds become too deep, we break them up with winding paths of grass, moss, mulched or hardscape.
So how much lawn do you really need?
Over the next several weeks, we'll look at several easy methods of installing new beds or simply enlarging existing beds where there was lawn, how to divide up the planting beds into more manageable spaces for design purposes, and then how to design for low maintenance. At some point, I'll have to digress and talk about irrigation. Besides siting plants correctly, proper irrigation is the most important step to growing success. Until then...
Welcome to my journal. For over 20 years I've created original landscape plans to help homeowners increase property value and really enjoy their yards. I approach every project as an unique opportunity to develop a work of living art, one that will require minimal care and age beautifully with time. In this journal, I will share some of my field experiences and tricks of the trade with you. Feel free to email questions. Thanks for visiting.