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25 Nov 2017

Garden Design: The Typical Residential Sites

Landscape architects that work on garden design plans for residential houses have three major factors to consider. They are the home, the site and the client. Every client, site and home is unique in its own way and none is the same as another. Every client has his/her own lifestyle, characteristics, habits, wishes and desires. Every site has its own vegetation, topography, view, site condition etc. Every home is also unique because it has its own decoration, architecture, furniture, floor plan, accessory etc.

The site that surrounds a home is a very important factor to be considered when creating a garden design plan. It serves various aesthetic, utilitarian and psychological functions for residents, visitors, passersby and neighbors. 

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People view the architecture of a home through the site that surrounds the home. The residential site also serves numerous purposes for outdoor living. Eating, sunbathing, cooking, relaxation, reading, socializing, gardening and other activities are carried out on the residential site. The residential site showcases the attitude and personalities of the homeowners towards their environments. The residential site also offers a safe harbor from the pressures and routines of daily events. When someone is at the outdoor residential site, the person can enjoy the fragrance of flowers in the garden, the sound of birds and the lovely sight of beautiful trees that can also be seen in garden design pictures. All these will serenade the mind with lovely feelings and thoughts. 

It is important that a landscape designer must create a garden design considering various factors delicately so that the residential site serves its purpose in the residential environment. Before creating a garden design plan for a residential site, there are various things to be determined. The residential area must meet a particular standard. It must look attractive and provide visual pleasures for the mind and the eye. The residential area must provide a nice setting for the house. It must also serve as a place where people can relax from the rigors of the day.

If you check for garden designs online and examine small garden design pictures, you will see that each garden design is customized to fit the residential site of each home. There must be an analysis of the backyards, front yards and side yards. The architectural design and style of the home must also be considered. The landscape designer must create garden design plans that blend the home and the site together. They must complement each other like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

The Archetypal Residential Site

The typical residential site has a lot of similarities with that of other houses around. Every neighborhood has a recurring style that is prevalent in houses in the neighborhood. Most houses are one- or two-story buildings with a large lawn and various plants. The house is usually in the middle of the site, so there will be backyards, front yards and side yards surrounding the house.

The front yard is the most visible part of a residential site. Most of the front yard is occupied by a lawn that is usually well manicured. Then there is usually a driveway to the side of the residential site. In arid areas of the USA, the front yard is usually covered with trees that cover various parts of the yard. There can also be a row of plants that extend along the entire base of the house. Broad-leaved and coniferous evergreens are usually planted around the house providing a wall of green all year long.  Then there is usually a walkway from the driveway to the front door of the house.

The backyard is usually the most private and varied part of a residential site. In western parts of the USA, the backyard is usually surrounded by fences, plantings and walls. This makes the backyard more private than other parts of the residential site. In the midwestern and eastern parts of the USA, the backyard is usually open. So, one may not know where different properties end or begin. These kinds of backyards have very little privacy. For most residential sites, the backyard is usually more utilized than the front yard for various activities. There could be an outdoor terrace, work space, open lawn and a simple garden design. Outdoor activities are usually carried out in the backyard. In some areas, the backyard is hardly used by the residents. It is just a piece of space that must be maintained so it won’t look unkempt.

At the left and right side of the house, we have side yards that hardly serve any purpose except to access the back and front of the house. You will hardly find anything in the side yards except for air conditioners, scattered paintings, heat pumps and objects like trailers, wood and other items that can’t be stored in the basement or garage.

The explanation given above is not exactly what you will find at every residential site, but it is what is common to so many places around the United States. Whether it is California, New England, New Orleans or Texas, the average residential site bears similarities to what has been described. Each region has variations in the selection of materials, attitudes towards the style and use of a residential site, construction techniques and other things. But no matter the variations, there are still some similarities in terms of functions, appearance and organization of residential sites all around the United States.

The backyard is often referred to as private space. The front yard is often referred to as public space while the side yards are not thought of as space.

The Front yard

The front yard of a home serves two major functions.

(a)  It is the area for gaining entrance into the home.

(b)  It is the area by which the house is viewed from the street.

To make the home look attractive to outsiders, the front yard is usually given the best garden design. It is usually the most attractive space in a residential site. Visitors and guests to a house usually arrive at the front yard. The first impression of the house is usually gleaned from the front yard.

 Also read: What to Expect as a Landscape Architect.

18 Nov 2017

Vertical Garden Design Styles

The massive rural to urban migration has seen more people stay in apartments and backyards. A lot of people want to have their own garden designs but there is a lack of necessary space. Vertical gardens are the perfect fit for those that want to create a garden in a place with limited space. Some vertical gardens are attached to walls, fences and other structures while some are freestanding. There are various types, styles and kits that can be used along with other things like drip feeders and watering systems that will give your vertical garden the right amount of moisture needed.

 You could also come up with your own vertical garden design with objects like pallets, bottles and pots in any outdoor space you have.

Anything that can be grown in a pot or container garden can be grown in a vertical garden. But vertical gardens are typically designed for large plants. When creating a vertical garden design, you must consider the sunlight in a certain area. The plants must receive a certain amount of sunlight daily. This will give them enough photosynthesis that will last them even when they are in the shade.

Vertical garden garden design

WHAT KIND OF PLANTS CAN BE GROWN IN IN A VERTICAL GARDEN?

Vertical gardens could be pots, pockets or pods. Some are interlocking modular designs while some are individual segments. Pots are also great. Pots are inexpensive so they can be replaced more easily than felt pockets. They are also more water effective than felt pockets. Pots have various qualities. It is advisable to avoid pots that are too small. Do not use pots that are too small for your plants. A plant needs a pot space of at least 100ml so there will be adequate space for the roots to hold firmly.

SOIL, NUTRIENTS AND OTHER IMPORTANT FACTORS

Planting materials for a vertical garden need to be free-draining and lightweight. The soil could be a light mix substrate mixture of perlite, potting mix and vermiculite with a little amount of organic matter added. A light mix substrate allows plants to take root very quickly. The biodiversity of the soil and the water that passes through the nutrients allows plants to grow well. Fish emulsion concentrate and seaweed concentrate can be used as a nutrient boost for the plants. The nutrient boost can be applied weekly or every two weeks. To ensure that plants get the right amount of water, an irrigation system could be setup. The irrigation system could also have a timer. This way, your plants will be getting water regularly and you don’t need to spend so much time watering them. If you water plants in a vertical garden by hand, the watering must be done regularly because vertical gardens dry out faster than other gardens.

WHAT KIND OF PLANTS ARE SUITABLE FOR A VERTICAL GARDEN DESIGN

Vertical gardens look more attractive when they are filled out. You can experiment as much as you wish and swap out plants anyhow you want. You could have a vertical garden design with pots and have along extra pots with plants growing in there that you can swap easily. The following combination of plants can be grown in your vertical garden:

  • Softer planting: These include nandina, varieties of small ferns, philodendrons and liriope
  • Arid or rocky gardens: You can plant succulent plants here like Sedum, Rhipsalis and Senecio
  • Edible Gardens: These include herbs and leafy greens.

 the secret for perfect Vertical garden design

HOW TO GROW VEGETABLES IN A VERTICAL GARDEN DESIGN

Vertical gardens are perfect for growing vegetables. You can grow basil, strawberries, salad veggies and other kinds of plants. You can make your vertical garden design your source of fresh vegetables. Vegetables will help you spot pests easily in a vertical garden. They also save space and won’t require you to spend much time on your knees. When planting vegetables, it is advisable that you plant the right pairs so you can get rid of garden pests and invite the right kind of insects. Pairs like borage and comfrey, nasturtium and marigold are perfect. These kinds of combinations bring in positive insects in a vertical garden design.

ESPALIERED FRUIT TREES IN A VERTICAL GARDEN

You can have espaliered fruit trees in your vertical garden. These look great and they do not take as much space as other kinds of trees. You will also enjoy the fruits they produce. Espaliering involves training the branches of a tree and clipping them so they grow in the right direction. The trees should be grown against a flat surface like a fence line or along a driveway to define the space of a driveway or green the space. Trees like pears, apples, kaffir lime, oranges, olives, lemons and others can be planted.

TRELLIS PLANTING IN A VERTICAL GARDEN

Apart from pods and pots, plants can also be grown on trellises in a vertical garden. There are some vegetables that are vines like snow peas and beans. You just need to tame them along a trellis that is fixed to the wall. The trellis should be positioned in sunny areas. The trellis should also be secured to the fence or the ground. The additional weight of the vegetables needs a strong framework.

vertical garden design 2

WATER IN A VERTICAL GARDEN DESIGN

Water is very important for any garden. You can buy some vertical DIY garden products in the market that come with their own inbuilt watering system so you do not have to go through any stress in watering the garden. The watering system is usually at the back plate of the panel. The panels can be extended vertically or horizontally. In the panel system, there will be a dripper that waters every pot individually so the amount of water to each pot can be controlled. Some systems come with a tap timer so you can manage the water flow to the vertical garden. The rate of watering can be adjusted as needed. For small pots, a short one or two-minute water cycle is perfect. You can also buy mobile kits that can be moved from one place to another as needed.

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CONCLUSION ABOUT VERTICAL GARDEN DESIGN

If you have limited space for a garden, a vertical garden is perfect for you. A vertical garden will block strong winds and bring the outdoors closer. It will also block unattractive views and give you the privacy that you desire. It will bring you texture, color and delicate fragrance to a balcony or outdoor courtyard. It is advisable that you go with a simple garden design that won’t overcrowd the space. You can also select plants that will withstand the effects of the shade, hot sun and winds depending on their position.

When creating a vertical garden design, you can come up with numerous creative designs. You can use hanging glass terrarium planters that will look beautiful with succulent plants. You can hang these planters in a row at several heights. You can also use a vertical garden to frame a patio space. You can create a contemporary garden with metal pots on a metal frame. With succulents in a frame, you can make an artwork look beautiful. Packing crates can be repackaged as you wish for a creative look. Vertical gardens are getting more and more popular and people are coming up with so many creative vertical garden designs.


Also read: Hiring a landscape architect for your new garden.

02 Nov 2017

Hiring a landscape architect for your new garden

Employing the service of a landscape architect is certainly an advisable financial decision, especially considering that you will be getting maximum utilization of existing space absent the need for planning. It is equally helpful that you make known your amount that you have set aside to be spent.

Employing the service of an expert landscape architect is certainly an advisable financial decision, especially considering that you will be getting maximum utilization of existing space absent the need for planning. It is equally helpful that you make known your amount that you have set aside to be spent on the project. This will help the landscape architect plan ahead for an impressive job.

It would help to see the landscape architect’s previous jobs so you know what to expect. Some individuals may want to reflect their own taste and style into their jobs. An exploration of your site and the landscape architect’s designs would help you decide in which style to choose. Keep in mind that one of the sure qualities of a seasoned expert is being able to deliver an impressive job that pleases clients. Here are the systematic stages involved in the total process.

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Briefing: This is the first and most important stage or the entire process. This is where you give the landscape architect a clue of what you would require. Expectedly, this process would involve the landscape architect probing further to understand your requirements and preferences. During this briefing process, make sure that you make inquiries as well to be sure that you and your landscape architect have a common understanding.

Opening consultation: There are certain landscape architects that would demand payments just for an opening consultation. While others would not give any charge until you have decided to use their service. In other cases, a part payment is required and would be deducted from the total payment upon completion of the project. Essentially, most landscape architects that do not accept any payment for consultations are not always free with their initiatives. For the best results, pay a token for consultations.

Sketch meeting: The sketch meeting is almost always going to happen and it comes in as the third step in the entire process. The sketch meeting is where the landscape architect would provide a drawing that shows the entire layout of the scheme.  This will also point out the most cost effective and efficient approach to implement the entire scheme. Always feel free to make contribution and to request for as more sketches till you get your desired taste.

Accurate measurements of areas and distances: When you are trying to implement a totally new design, it is expected that you will get a totally new drawing as well. While drawings for big and technical designs were a daunting task, the challenge has been eliminated with the help of CAD. Essentially, there are two approaches to payment for this service and they include paying for time spent or paying a percent from all the money disbursed for the scheme. Whatever the case may be, make sure you understand the facts of the deal and various requirements if you choose to make any modifications.

Selecting a business: After the preliminary stages, it now time for the implementation of the scheme. But before you can commence with implementation, you should have a proper estimate of the cost. Just as you predicted, your landscape architect would be very useful in this phase. However, it is best that you are involved as well. After providing a clear description of the garden, it would be sent to eligible landscaping businesses that will in turn provide an estimate cost. While there is always an inclination to select the least offer, try to avoid this inclination. An insight into the business’s extent of experience and years of involvement, their policy and organizational objective and appraisals of the landscaping business are some important considerations that you should not trivialize. The easiest approach to determining which of the landscaping companies is most preferable and suitable for your purposes is based on the details they provide you with.

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Work guidelines and decision on the materials and plants

The work guidelines for landscaping can take different forms and approaches. In most cases, the landscape architect would decide on a lot of factors such as the plants and may even help you decide on which landscaping business is well suited for the job.  As stated earlier, the landscape architects payment method could with be based on percentage of the total cost of operation or would he would be paid per hour. The cost of the scheme will often be determined by the involvedness of the scheme. Nonetheless, there are certain glitches that could emerge and will require immediate fixing.

Deals: Always bear in mind that a lot of contracts will be presented before and during the course of the landscaping scheme.  While you may be upset by this, ensure that you scrutinize every contract sensibly before signing.  Always evaluate the contracts that are handed to the landscapers and landscape architects with the view of ensuring that they have adequate insurance coverage.  In the event that there are adjustments in the course of operations, it must be reflected in writing to prevent any confusion.

Actualizing scheme:  There are certain landscaping and gardening businesses that deliver the total package to clients. Modular Garden is one enterprise that does this. These enterprises would be actively involved in every phase of the scheme while offering initiatives, estimates, and handling implementation in line with the desires and expectations of the client.

An expert designer will certainly deliver on the core areas of the garden while incorporating relevant ideas for an impressive outcome. Once you follow through on all of the five phases mentioned above, you can be sure that your outside space would be transformed into a spectacle!

 A landscape architect will focus on the main elements of the garden and will combine them safely in order to achieve an effective result. These five horns create a compelling scenario and make outer space more intimate.

 Also read: All You Need to Know About Soil for a Landscape Architect.