Water Wise Landscape – An Intro
If you’re planning out your own landscape design, you’ve probably already figured out that it’s not as easy as it might seem! Landscape design is a pretty complicated subject, one reason why landscape architects have degrees in the subject. There are many things to consider, from the style of your home and the lay of your land, to what types of plants grow best in your climate and how much care and maintenance they require. In this article, we’ll explain the basics of creating a landscape design that will work for you and meet your specific needs.
The first step in creating your Water Wise Landscape design is to determine your goals. What do you want your landscape to accomplish? What will it say about you? How will your landscape reflect your personal taste and compliment the style of your home?
For most individuals, the first and foremost goal of any landscape design is to beautify your home and increase property value. Any landscaping, as long as it is relatively cohesive and well thought out, will usually accomplish this goal. When you think about increasing property value, remember that most home buyers want a property with at least one or two large shade trees, depending on the size of the lot. Some well placed shrubs in front of the home and a variety of flowers that will bloom in most seasons also go a long way toward beautifying the property.
For some homeowners, especially those of us living in urban or suburban areas, privacy is a major goal. When you live close to your neighbors, it’s nice to have a well placed tree or shrub to afford you a little privacy when barbequing on your deck or sunbathing on the back patio. If privacy is something you are striving for, consider fast growing trees and shrubs, and if you’ll need privacy in the winter as well as the summer, look for evergreen plants that won’t lose their leaves.
Attracting or discouraging wildlife may be another potential goal of your landscape design. For those who enjoy hummingbirds or butterflies, you may wish to plant flowers or shrubs that attract those animals. Gardeners with valuable perennials or vegetables may want to do whatever is possible to discourage wildlife such as rabbits and deer from eating their prized plants. When planning your landscape, be sure to assess the types of wildlife that are common to your area, and then carefully consider whether you want those animals present around your home. To some extent, this may be out of your control, but it never hurts to design with this in mind.
Lastly, consider what types of outdoor activities you and your family will engage in. Do you have young children that like to play outdoors? If so, then don’t plant trees or shrubs with thorns that could scratch or hurt children. Perhaps you and your spouse do a lot of outdoor entertaining. If so, you may want to landscape with a structure such as a patio pergola to provide some shade and privacy to your outdoor eating area. Keeping your potential outdoor activities in mind will lend a specific focus to your design plan.