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.