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28 May 2018

Ideas for easy-to-manage gardens

Open spaces that require little maintenance can have an elegance and a beauty equal to those that require constant attention. In the following pages we present some extraordinary projects for all tastes and all sizes. You will find ideas to create refined urban gardens enclosed in a courtyard, flowery meadows or zen gravel gardens with a few specimens of plants arranged in the right places.

Veranda outdoors

Sometimes the careful selection and arrangement of individual plants is a real art exhibition. Just a simple and neat background is enough to appreciate the shape and the composition of the selected plants. A layer of gravel over a non-woven cloth is a excellent coating, but also an aesthetic element, and aggregates can be highlighted by tiles, pebbles or rocks.
In this garden, large boulders block the plants and the flooring with impregnated wooden planks, arranged in parallel rows, directs the gaze towards a circular mosaic on which rests a singular modern vase, which constitutes the focal point.
Alternatively, a structural element such as a fountain of bubbling water can be used.

small garden focal points

Dining room

The wooden flooring creates an elegant outdoor area, similar to that of a room, even more appreciated if the interior space of the house is limited, as for example in a studio or small house. Because the project has its own charm and requires little maintenance, the background and the surrounding vegetation must be simpler than ever. Few bright colors and night lighting add a brilliant design effect.

GARDEN DINING ROOM

Simple division

The largest gardens with minimal maintenance are often divided into several sectors, partly hidden from one another or left open to enjoy the sense of space. To enhance the characteristics of each sector and add interest, use contrasting architectural elements: changes in level on flat surfaces, such as floors or raised flower beds, or recessed seats. If the variety of plants is limited, be creative in the details and introduce many evergreens such as these grasses (Stipa tenuissima) and ciperacee (Carex).

jardin sans gazon

Paved patio

Small spaces are perfect for paving: they are an alternative to the lawn, require little maintenance and are relatively free of weeds.
Plants planted in raised flower beds, borders and vases can give great satisfaction. Design the garden with care, build everything you need to keep it well and create interest with different compositions and schemes. Here the fulcrum is large pebbles and ceramic fountains, while the hosta and the bamboo introduce an oriental note.

flowerpot

Mediterranean Garden

The curved wall, painted in dusty terracotta, recalls sunny gardens.
To reinforce the Mediterranean flavor there are a thin cypress, an old jar and wrought iron furniture.
The wall can be transformed into an occasional session and the whole atmosphere is pervaded by the scent of white lilies, roses and aromatic plants.

Space for children

Although children like to play on lawns, other surfaces are more versatile. The little ones have fun with a sandbox (covered when not in use) and the differences in materials and levels create opportunities for play. An anti-shatter wood floor is suitable for barefoot and the flat surface is ideal for play activities. Choose sturdy plants such as Phormium, grasses and bamboo.

Raised flower beds

In addition to easy accessibility, the flower beds raised are real design elements. They become informal seating and move otherwise flat spaces and uniforms. This flowerbed, with a dry stone wall effect curved, it is ideal for cultivating rustic alpine plants that they require good drainage.


Also read: THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS IN GARDEN DESIGN

25 May 2018

Hanging gardens

We want to indicate with this term those gardens raised from the ground in any way. The first of which we have news we find them in Nineveh and Babylon, suspended on large terraces and supported by arches, pillars and vaults. They were considered in antiquity one of the seven Hipproses of the world, together with the pyramids of Egypt, the statue of Jupiter performed by Phidias, the colossus of Rhodes, the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the mausoleum of Alicarnassus and the lighthouse of Alexandria.

“Le ciel est, par-dessus le tait si bleu, si calme!
Un arbre, par-dessus le mit berce sa palme.”
Verlaine

They stretched along the banks of the Euphrates and seem to date back to the time of Semiramis (about 800 B.C.), then restored by Nebuchadnezzar; according to the geographer Strabo they consisted of overlapping terraces, with trees and avenues at the pillars that supported them; but it is more probable that it was degrading terraces and this undoubtedly made plant life possible on each of them; the upper one often took on the appearance of a large, large garden, as it also used the foliage of the trees that grew in the supporting pillars of the lower ones. On the other hand, many Assyrian bas-reliefs show houses with a double terrace, in which the upper one served as a shelter from too high a temperature, and the lower one was decorated with plant elements; in a regularly according to the effect to be obtained, so that the whole looks just like a wagon; in this way, however, it will be easier to measure the inputs according to the species which will preferably be all perennial. The heavier vessels will remain in correspondence with the more solid perimeter walls and the taller plants will also serve as windbreaks, or they will be extended on supports to the inside, if climbers, to form arbors or shaded areas in summer. We must not forget that in most of our climates, if the wind and the cold are the enemies of the gardens on the roofs, the summer sun is the same and therefore the presence of climbers that shade the most exposed areas and almost a necessity.

in the sun Agapanthus, Hibiscus rasa-sinemsis (provided the sun is not really excessive), Nerium oleander, Punica granatum, Pelargonium of all kinds (because the zonals will hide the tall pots and the Peltatum will fall back hiding the edges of false flowerbeds), Bougainvillea . In the shade will prosper Fntsia, Laurus nobílís, excellent as windbreak, Nandína domestica, Plumbago capensis, and many others. Do not forget, where sun and exposure allow it, the climbing roses that will be the real completion of our hanging garden.

23 May 2018

A silent green world

The daily repetition of the gestures and actions that leads men to work, to study, to the usual activities, often leaves no time to consider, or appreciate, the great weight that the plants have, not only with regard to the man himself , but also towards all the vital phenomena that take place on Earth. Unlike any animal, which attracts the immediate curiosity of children and adults because basically there are frequent similarities with the human animal, a plant does not always arouse sensations. Sometimes, in fact, one can marvel at the size, the beauty of the flowers, the inebriating perfume, but there is usually indifference towards a green mass in which there is no obvious difference compared to another neighbor. We proceed then considering the green world as a background, a frame in which our life takes place. All this is due to the apparent static nature of the plants with which we have more relationships; the plants, solidly rooted to the ground, live passively towards external changes, unable to react to human destructive interventions or those of atmospheric and natural agents. When a leaf or a flower is torn, not a cry, not a reaction from these strange organisms; only when a tree breaks down, after the noise of the chainsaw and the squeaks, the final thud and the silence that follow them strike the imagination. Although so vulnerable, however, the plants have developed in the course of their history mechanisms that have been able, so far, to overcome almost all critical moments that occur in the life of an organism, claiming a fundamental principle of nature: what matters is the maintenance over time of the species, not of the individual. So infinite adaptations are discovered that often overcome man’s ability to intervene on nature, trying to take away space from what, apparently, is not useful, to favor food, industrial and forest plants. In the alteration of the original equilibrium, however, gaps remain or are always formed, immediately occupied by other or new plants that will be able to fully exploit the space left to them. All this happens without great clamor, often manifesting itself only to specialists; species forgotten until yesterday suddenly become very common weeds, others migrate from distant countries, others disappear because they are missing environments suitable for their survival or because, commonly cultivated once, are no longer required by the market. When we move into our cities, we rarely notice the large foliage of a tree, or disturb the flowering of some ornamental, which drops the corolla faded to “dirty” the cars; then we do not talk about the autumn fall of the crazy chestnuts, which are also able to leave their mark on the expensive (but thin) bodywork. We try to transform that common idea that we have of the lawn: no longer a green carpet, made up of indistinct elements, but a balanced and not random set of different plants, especially with different needs and vital rhythms, with showy or inconspicuous shapes. We try to raise our heads and look at the trees of the avenue: they are often taller than houses, they bear pruning that mutilate them, have their roots covered by the asphalt mantle and succeed, every year, despite everything, to mark the seasons. The culture of our western world is linked through innumerable symbols to the world of plants. In the past, in addition to using vegetables for food, men were united by centuries-old traditions, of which today only pale examples remain: few, in fact, the head of laurel (symbol of victory and wisdom) on the day of graduation, nor brides are adorned with myrtle (symbol of love and happy weddings) on the wedding day; oak leaves and acorns (symbol of wisdom and longevity) are still found in some coat of arms or perhaps in the uniform decorations. We will try through these lines to give some space to the history and importance of what we commonly call plants, because through the knowledge of the diversity of species and the mechanisms that regulate their lives, it will be possible to improve our relationship with the plants. incredible green world.

Life on Earth depends on plants. The Earth, the blue planet, is the only one in the solar system in which there is life today. The fossil record and the succession of different living organisms, in the seas and on the emerged lands, show that the complexity of forms depends directly on the development of the different species of plants. We must shortly clarify some basic concepts: by plant we mean an organism, made up of one or more cells (which are the fundamental building blocks of living matter), capable of photosynthesizing, of producing that substance that can be used by the plant as nourishment.
 This production takes place starting from water and carbon dioxide, and exploiting sunlight as a source of energy. While water and carbon dioxide are substances of the inanimate world (inorganic, that is, not exclusive to an organism), the substances produced by living cells are organic, that is, they are found only in organisms. Examples of organic matter are starch, cellulose, sugars, fats, proteins. The organic matter thus produced can also be exploited by other organisms without the ability to photosynthesize (the animals). It is clear, however, that they depend on the quantity of plant matter (primary productivity) that they will consume (first-order consumers); in turn these “herbivores” (in the sense that they feed on plant matter and can be unicellular living in water, worms, molluscs, insects and vertebrates) will become nourishment for other organisms (second-order or predatory consumers), whose life will depend from the presence or absence of first-class consumers; predators of predators (superpredators) also exist. These are placed at the top of the so-called “trophic or food pyramid”, which we can imagine to build by overlapping the biomass (quantity of organic matter produced) in the individual levels. Because in order to keep alive the living of a level, it is necessary to consume a part of the energy that arrives, passing from one level to another the biomass will be gradually smaller. This explains why large predators are always fewer than the prey they feed on. Each element of the various levels depends on the previous level, thus forming a food chain that at the beginning however always has the plants.

It should be emphasized that the passage of substances does not take place only from one level to another, but at every level there are bodies called “restitutors”, which use the remains of plants and living in general, transforming them into simpler substances (decomposition) and returning them to the environment in the form of an inorganic substance (remineralisation); in this sense they are fundamental, as well as numerous decomposers such as insects, worms, fungi, especially many bacteria that make available to the environment again the inorganic materials such as water, carbon dioxide and minerals, used by green plants in the synthesis of organic compounds. In the oceans and in the waters the primary producers are above all microscopic plants, unicellular algae, that constitute the phytoplankton. The food chain of the seas has in these tiny organisms the origin of all the vital phenomena that reach the greatest living beings on Earth, like the blue whale.

How men are related to flowering plants In the terrestrial environments, flowering plants predominate, ie plants that have organized a particular reproduction mechanism that provides for the formation of seeds (see: Pollination, Fertilization). Plants with seeds (Spermatophytes) are the main primary producers of the environment in which the man lives who, as a consumer, depends directly (fruits, seeds, vegetables) or indirectly (products of breeding, hunting). When we think of a flower or a plant, we usually refer to color, shape, smell, underestimating all the other relationships of dependence that exist between plants and man, which uses them as a source of food, materials to construction, textile fibers, medicines. The evolution of human society has produced an extreme division of labor, with a progressive specialization. The primary need, that of nutrition, has been solved, with the development of agriculture, thus allowing to devote a good part of the energy to improve the living standards of the population. The history of man is linked precisely to the ability to produce economically and to accumulate stocks for critical periods. The full granaries in the territories of the fertile crescent (area between the Nile, the eastern Mediterranean coast and the course of Tigris and Euphrates), meant not only wealth, but also, as today, constituted a strategic asset that allowed to keep an army to defense of the territories against the raids of the nomadic raiders. In Jarmo, in the current Iraq, remains of two types of wheat and one of barley have been found, ascribable to 7000 years BC. Agriculture has brought about a great change in the history of man: from collector-hunter, from nomad who followed their prey, he permanently fixed his home, raising animals and cultivating the land. Plants used for fodder for livestock or for human food are all flowering plants or, as we have already pointed out, plants with seeds and fruits. And it is these seeds and fruits that represent the part that can be conserved, rich in substances destined to nourish the seedling when it begins to develop and which instead man uses as his own nourishment.

It is no coincidence that the dawn of civilization saw the cultivation of cereals, not very demanding plants, annuals, easy to preserve as a seed from one year to another and to be transported. But, they say, one does not live by bread alone; man needed tools for agriculture, and these were obtained from the wood of the trees; they served houses and warehouses, then logs and branches; the fire was needed to cook the bread, the food and even the clay with which to make the jars for the conservation of the crops, and the fuel was of vegetable origin. Exchanges were made with the improvement of living conditions; using means of transport more capable than the back of a donkey or a dromedary, with the wood of the trees were built ships (for a long time the transport with wagons would be limited by the lack of roads and the difficulty of tying the animals to the cart itself) . The demands became more and more sophisticated; to the skins of the animals the wool was preferred, then the fabrics of linen and cotton. From the vegetal fibers the ropes were obtained for the ships and the sails that pushed them from a landing to the other, with the holds filled with jars of oil and granary amphorae. The oil squeezed from the olives served, as well as food, also to illuminate the nights of antiquity and to dissolve ointments, balsams and perfumes. From the plants the medicines were obtained to solve the ailments and the illnesses, the surgeons knew the plants to get a quicker and better cicatrizzazione. Precisely the need to correctly recognize medicinal plants will stimulate the birth of that science called botany. The products of flowering plants and their derivatives have accompanied the life of man through his history, providing food and material for his clothes, but also as voluptuous elements or not tied to strict survival; so we think of spices, stimulating drinks like tea or coffee. The selection made on the cultivated plants has allowed to obtain ever better and more efficient varieties, but far from the wild progenitors, such as corn. In corn, the scientists managed to manipulate the genetic make-up with bioengineering procedures; this in order to make the plant, which is unable to do it naturally, produce a certain quantity of an essential substance, the amino acid lysine, which is accumulated in the fruit, thus providing a complete food for humans and animals.

21 May 2018

THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS IN GARDEN DESIGN

A lot has been said about how the look of a garden or landscape could make or mar the valuation of a property. But very little has been said about how landscape architects can make gardens and landscapes heal the soul and mind with their garden designs. A garden could serve as a center point for relaxation, meditation etc. No wonder, the Ancients held a lot of religious rites and rituals in gardens. Some say you get closer to nature and to your creator in a garden. The senses come to live in a well-tended garden. Imagine yourself lazing away, soaking your skin in a lovely swimming pool. Assaulting your nostrils with the exotic smell of flowers and sensitizing your taste buds with juicy salads prepared from plants in your garden.

THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT

THE IMPORTANCE OF WATER IN A GARDEN

When you want to examine the importance of energy in an outdoor living area, a good place to start from is by taking a look at the core principles of Feng Shui. They are water and wind. Water is great for calming people. It can make healing faster, it can improve the overall physical health, and it is good for regulating the blood pressure. This is one reason why some landscape designers try so much to add water features to their landscape designs. Some even add large water features that serve as focal points or main points of attractions. These large water features include waterfalls, cascading ponds and fountains.

To implement a large water feature in a garden design, a landscape architect must consider the cost involved, the layout of the landscape and the overall size of the landscape. The water feature must fit in nicely with the whole garden else it risks becoming a nuisance instead of a beauty. For excellent jobs, a water feature should be designed and constructed by an experienced landscape designer. They must not be made hastily. They must be carefully customized to match with the garden.

THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS GARDEN DESIGN

The most popular water feature in gardens is a swimming pool. Finding a large house without a swimming pool is rare. With a swimming pool, one can relax in the calm water and exercise the limbs and heart by swimming laps in it. Swimming pools also serve to attract birds. The sound of the water has a special soothing nature, and it creates a nice ambience in a garden. Before building a swimming pool, some factors have to be considered. The size, depth, color, filtration system and others must be considered. Blue swimming pools are a favorite, but you can’t go wrong with black and white swimming pools.

A black swimming pool will look elegant and classy. It will also serve as a great place for reflection or freeing one’s mind of thoughts. A white swimming pool looks inviting and will serve to remind one of a beachfront. It recreates the feelings of nature and unsoiled beauty. White swimming pools reflect the sky above further enhancing their calming effect.

When selecting a filtration system, you can’t go wrong with mineral filtration systems. Mineral systems contain magnesium which is a vital mineral for the body. It helps to regulate the sleeping patterns and improve the general health. The use of a mineral filtration system won’t affect the color of the water. The water will feel softer on your body and your eyes, hair and skin will feel much nicer. Mineral filtration systems are not as expensive as you may think they are. They are cost-effective, easy to maintain and more conducive to the environment.

GARDEN DESIGNS THAT APPEAL TO THE SENSES

Apart from the water features, the flowers and plants in a garden also serve the purpose of tantalizing one’s senses. Textured plants like banksias and lamb’s ears are prime examples. They appeal to the senses, and they create a nice atmosphere in a garden. For lovely natural scents in a garden, a landscape architect can use sweet smelling flowers like honey-scented white flowers, jasmine, port wine magnolias, gardenia and sweet alyssum. You can cut off a leaf, keep it in your pocket and immerse yourself in the scent anytime you wish.

THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS LANDSCAPE DESIGN

Plants in a garden are also great for healing and tending to one’s health. You can’t go wrong with aloe vera and eucalyptus. Eucalyptus can be planted in normal gardens and pots. Aloe vera can also be planted in naturally in gardens and in pots.

Herb gardens and veggie patches are perfect for tantalizing your taste buds while they still give off lovely scents at the same time. Herbs can be integrated into traditional landscape designs, and they can also be grown in balconies, atriums and rooftop gardens. To prepare a veggie patch, all you need is a small patch of land with good soil.

Herbs and vegetables can also be grown in little vegetable boxes from local retailers. Plants like lettuce, peas, kale, tomatoes, spinach and others can be planted. These gardens satisfy your senses of taste, touch, sight and smell.

If you don’t have a lot of space for veggies in your garden design, you can make use of planter boxes and pots. There you can grow ginseng, stevia, mint, thyme, basil, rosemary etc.

You will enjoy eating what you grow in your garden and you will also enjoy the cultivation process. Gardening is a good way to relax your body and take your mind off other matters. It is quite refreshing to plant something little, tend it, watch it grow and finally see it blossom.

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT CAN MAKE IN YOUR GARDEN  GOOD MUSIC TO YOUR EARS

For those that love hearing good vibes, a well-tended garden might just be the next place for you to enjoy your jams. You can attract birds, bees and other insects that will produce the sounds of nature and make you enjoy your garden better. Plants like palms, bottlebrush and banksias will do well to attract birds and insects. You can grow various types of plants that blossom in various seasons so that you can enjoy them all through the year. For even better results, you should consider getting nesting boxes and bird baths so you can attract birds to your garden.


Also read: IN GARDEN DESIGN SHADE FOR DAYS

 

18 May 2018

Oriental Garden

This term usually includes Chinese and Japanese gardens, although, strictly speaking, the Persian ones that have had so much influence on subsequent Moorish architecture should also be included. The first certain description of the Chinese gardens we find in 1685, in a book by Sir William Tempie who, having been ambassador to Holland, had undoubtedly acquired his knowledge through the descriptions of the merchants of the Netherlands. In the following century we find much more precise information until, in 1772, “A Dissertation on Oriental Gardening”, written by Sir William Chambers, was published: this, although not a written treatise by direct experience, had great fame and contributed not a little, as well as creating the western landscape gardens, also to make known, at least for a certain period of time, those buildings and ornaments that go under the general name of “chinoiserie”.

 

To our modern eyes that see things in perspective, the descriptions of Chambers on Chinese gardens, probably exaggerated by the desire to affirm their theories on the landscape, seem strangely similar to a gallery of paintings by Ruysdael or Salvator Rosa, separate buildings. It is perfectly true that the Chinese honors nature and they tended to keep the salient aspects intact by inserting them into the general context, but the examples we obtain from ancient engravings or which, transformed, have come down to us, speak above all of a set of rules rituals and metaphysics that wild nature can not possess.

However, the ancient Chinese gardens, as well as influencing Western taste, arrived in Japan together with Buddhism, writing, and all the other things that, once introduced, took on a particular physiognomy; today, speaking of oriental gardens, one intends above all to speak of the Japanese ones, which however, in return, influenced their Chinese ancestors through the course of the centuries.

The Japanese gardens take advantage of nature in such a special way that our eyes show an unmistakable style: what is a mistake, because the styles are different and the Orientals immediately perceive the difference.

Of these styles there are three main ones: the real landscape garden, the most classic, which is called “shin” and achieves the greatest decorative effect, is what we might call “representation”; the “gyo” style, more personal and intimate, and the “so” style, the simplest, often made up of few elements. These three styles are often found simultaneously in private gardens, distributed according to their disposition in relation to the house of which they form the ideal completion, and their subdivision, very ancient (dates back to ‘600), still lasts today with few variations. The gardens that surround the houses must then be distinguished from the monastic gardens or «contemplation», called karesansui or dry landscape. They are of even more ancient origin, going back to the Zen Buddhist doctrine, around the beginning of the fifteenth century, and they normally extend in front of the veranda where the monks sat in contemplation.

Their characteristic, from which the name derives, is the absence of any form of water, imitated by stone, rocks, and sand; any form of vegetation is absent, except moss; these gardens are usually constructed so as to completely absorb the thought in a symbolic sense, without external distractions. The most famous is the garden of Ryoanin, near Kyoto, formed by only raked sand with a design and isolated mossy stones, and framed by trees that fend it and preclude it from external glances. In the garden of Daisen-in, also near Kyoto, we have another remarkable example of dry landscape: here stones and sand simulate a watercourse with such ability to make it seem really existent (there is even a stone bridge that crosses it); it even seems to form some waterfalls. However, it should be borne in mind that the term “sand” means actually speaking of a special type of thin quartz stone, coming from the surrounding mountains, which has a fascinating brightness and lends itself very well to such optical deceptions. It is clear that not all the gardens of the temples are of this type, given the variety of seven existing in Japan, but many, from a later period or related to palaces or parks, they are clearly aquatic and even those that are in part use the water in the widest and most natural way possible; However, they always follow very precise symbolic rules, such as the one that every watercourse must cross the garden from left to right with respect to perspective
front. Stones and wood are widely used, as well as rocks, and corroded by time; the trees are often thin but very thin, the leaves are used copiously and almost always they are cut and shaped the ground.
The same azaleas are treated in this way. Actually, the only flowers that stand out from the eyes are in the appropriate period, those of the cherry trees: they are so important that they are organized specifically to see the cherry blossoms in particular places where there is a considerable quantity; there are also aquatic filters, such as water lilies, and often irises, on the edges of ponds and ponds. Occasionally other flowers meet, especially peonies and lilies; Flowers are as a essential ornament.
In compensation, other decorative elements, such as pavilions, urns, and sometimes in the most important gardens, ancient sculptures, all of the clear Chinese derivation, are often superfluous. The various types of bamboo are widely used, not only as plants, but also to form, with their reeds, Palisades, supports for verandas or climbing plants or other, and in practice.
the Japanese gardens wish to be idealized as a result of philosophical and ethical schemes that escape, just as they do in their paintings; this also explains why, in spite of their fascination with the evolution of the western garden and the short vogue of the “ucineserie”, especially in England, they have never really been elaborated in Europe: because, in de fi nitive, they are too unrelated to our spirit. For example, in reference to the famous imperial villa of Katsura, which has many pavilions, bridges, artificial hills and a pond with three small islands, leaf has its own particular meaning that we are not able to understand because our rational way of thinking only incorporates the synthesis of the decorative concept as a whole.
In the same way we can not understand the subtle game of rules that determine the construction of the paths that lead to the pavilion used for the tea ceremony in the garden: here too every stone and every ornament has its symbolic meaning that escapes us completely, as indeed it happens for the same ceremony of the preparation of the tea that in our eyes appears more like a theatrical representation than as something real and practical. It is therefore very sensible for Europeans to refrain from reproducing Japanese gardens that would only be copied with bad taste, just like everything that has not been assimilated in spirit.