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Design Tips

To become professional took me years of study and practice but with a basic understanding of landscape design principles you can have a much better idea how to make critical design decisions.  Here are a few of the basic concepts that you should be familiar with and with help to create a well thought out landscape.  


Landscape Tip 1.  Hardscape, Softscape, and Landscape.....know the Difference.   Hardscape is anything such as the concrete patio areas, pools, water features, walls, patio covers, or any structures.   Softscape is your plantings, groundcovers, trees, vines.....but dont be fooled softscape can be a rock boulder or pebble ground cover.  Landscape is the combination of both hardsape and softscape.


Landscape Tip 2.  Form follows function!!!!!!  Always start with how you want to use your landscape then.....once you have a basic layout and you figure out how to make it look nice.  Do you need space for 5 or 50...... Do you need shade or warmth......Do you need privacy or to capture better perspective on a view....?


Landscape Tip 3.  Start with the primary focal point.   For a backyard the Primary focal point is the first thing you see when you’re walking into an area.  It could be already existing such as amazing view, a mountain, a pool, a large tree.   What most captivates a new guests eye when they walk into your yard.  We can create one as well, a firepit, water feature, pool or cozy sitting area can all be added to a landscape that is lacking interest.  For the front yard the primary focal point is the Front door, so you want to create a landscape that accents the entry way to the home.


Landscape Tip 4.  Establish a Hardscape Flow and basic footprint.  Do you like square corners, curves or both!....... This is a concept which is first seems really complicated but in reality, is pretty simple.  Here are the 3 main types of hardscape footprints. 


A.  Linear Flow:  Every Corner of your hardscape has a 90 degree corner.  Most Modern or Contemporary designs have this as a primary theme.  Most homes contain all 90 degree corners and this hardscape design is good if you want your outdoors to feel like an extension of your home.


B.  Curvilinear Flow:  This means that the edges of your hardscape layout contain both 90 degree corners and Arches of a curve.  Both Contemporary and Traditional Gardens can have this.  Think Courtyard of a office building or courtyard of an English Castle


C.  Curving Flow:   This means that there are no strait lines in the hardscape.   This most closely mimics in there is generally nothing straight, square, or symmetrical in a natural landscape.  This is a very fun style and would be the one you would want to choose if you wanted a very dynamic transition once you walked out of your home as if you were walking directly into a park, or the woods, or into the mountains.


Landscape Tip 5.  Less is more in the beginning.... First get a basic concept on paper.  Don’t worry about all the details and it being perfect.  Get the general concept down and the rest will fall in place.


Landscape Tip 6.   Imaging your back yard is a room in your home.   The same principals for interior design are the same for exterior design.   What do you want the floor to look like, the walls the ceiling.....etc.   Break your design into the components of floor, walls, ceiling and that seems to make it less overwhelming to start.


Landscape Tip 7.   Tickle the Eye..... Once you have a basic concept, layout and flow enrich the landscape by imagining what you’re looking at from every direction.  Imagine you’re sitting in the middle of your backyard in a chair.....Imagine you look around in 360 Degrees..... What you want is to have something interesting to look at in all directions and in a sense "tickle the eye".


Landscape Tip 8.  Sleep on it..... Coming up with a beautiful design can take time....If you get stuck or are challenged with a particular aspect of the design take a break sleep on it. Put something on paper and let it digest.....who knows you might wake up with a new idea or way to solve the issue.  Or just ask me I'm here to help;)


Landscape Tip 9.  Trust your gut.....but also trust mine.   You have lived in your home for some time, you may be all to familiar with how the light hits it or how loud you or your neighbors might be.  Take that experience into consideration.    Also, I have spent over a Decade designing, getting feedback on my designs, studying landscape I might know a thing or two as well.


Landscape Tip 10.  If it’s your design it’s a good design!  No two landscapes I have done have ever been the same.... That being said there is no one design fits all and also no perfect design for your home.   All of it is custom...built to fit your needs and in many sense beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.   Be creative, be different, be unique.... but also take in mind who's eyes do you care about......If you plan on selling the home in a couple years perhaps a simple more functional plan may be more appealing to a future buyer.


Landscape Tip 11.  Think of your landscape in years.....not months...   Although you may want a new landscape today.... that might not be realistic on your budget.  Create a landscape that can grow with you.  Plan for that future BBQ area, or plan for a dog or play area for the grandkids.... Also, small trees can get big.... placement is key.


Landscape Tip 12.   Color with softscape not hardscape.   I tend to think a simple color pallet for the hardscape is better because it allows for the color of the softscape.... Plants trees and flowers to pop.   If your hardscape color pallet is too busy... it can be hard on the eyes....and thus you wont want to spend much time in that area which defeats the purpose....  Choose one dominant color and perhaps a accent color.  Earth tones tend to be the best.  When you start mixing 3 or 4 colors in your hardscape it tends to get busy

Designing a beautiful landscape can be fun and enjoyable, but also can be a challenge! It is a process and we can Help!

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