Do you have a blank slate of a yard, that needs landscaping ideas? Are you overwhelmed by the seemingly limitless possibilities that this tabla rasa is imposing on you? Have no fear, any big chunk of bare land has certain elements that'll help you define and refine your decisions along the way. Depending on where you live, factors such as shade, existing plants, desert conditions and sea spray can effect your site planning. Looking at the entire situation or context of your site helps you decide what elements to include and what kind of interplay they'll have with each other.
Before muddling your brain with myriad ideas that may be be subject to weekly or even minute to minute changes, have a professional walk through the following criteria on your property. These elements will help define the parameters of your landscaping plan.
- What is the site's location and the size of your space ?
- What is the shape of your yard and its unique contours (changes in elevation, hills and dips)?
- What are the drainage patterns on your property?
- What does zoning permit on your property? Are there things you won't be able to be because of existing ordnances?
- Where are the utilities, such as the gas line? You just might be able to hook up an outdoor kitchen!
- Map out the significant existing features including stumps, sheds and trees
- Where are the views from and into your yard?
- What are the climate/micro climates within your space?
- What are the neighborhood patterns (is your corner lot a cut-through?)
Before you begin painting the palette of your blank slate, you'll want to make a proportionately-drawn sketch on graph paper or on a computer landscaping program, where you can insert all this important preliminary information. From here you can begin to imagine all the spaces you'd like to have and see if they for into the parameters you've discovered exist on your "blank slate" of a lot.
Now as you begin to design your dream here are some further tips to consider.
1. Think year round interest when selecting shrubs and such. Ideally you'll want a blend of different shrubs that have different flowering times, so that year-round you'll have a balance of color in your yard.
2. Don't overlook evergreens as they'll provide continuity in your landscape with their year round green foliage.
3. Uses annual to supplement perennial color.
4. Think about where you can incorporate hardscape elements into your design plan. Walls and fences are great to serve in both form and function. Functionally they create privacy and provide a home for climbing plants. In terms of form they are a great way to visually frame certain areas in your yard and to add a different visual dynamic in height. texture and color.
5. Especially as you begin to develop your yard, you'll want to think of a low maintenance approach. The last think you want is to have created a masterpiece, that turns out to be a monster in terms of the time and energy it demands. One golden rule for the green thumb is to select drought proof plants, in as many cases as possible. Summer heats can be a real kill joy to your spring blooming aspirations, so it's better to air on the side of caution and start with some manageable landscaping choices.