Thursday, 27 March 2014

Some Recent Trends in Bay Area Landscape Architecture

Whether you want to create an elegant retreat on the patch of green that you own or plan to build a party zone in your backyard landscape experts can help. Even when you are not sure on how to increase the aesthetic appeal of your garden or make use of the available space, these professionals can come with a customized plan for you. If you are a resident in the Bay Area, knowing some recent landscape architecture trends will help you decide on what would be a good fit for your space. Here are some of these trends from which you can take your pick:
  • Terraced Gardens: Though a few houses in Bay Area still have boxwood hedges and rose gardens, they are increasingly given a miss in favor of more modern designs such as terraced gardens with less paving. If you have a forbidding slope of a backyard, you can ask your landscape expert to convert it into a functional terraced garden. Hillside sites too can benefit from such gardens.
  • Pools and Other Water Elements: While some prefer to have their pools rendered as ponds, some may like them to be relaxing spots. A pool could be constructed amongst native garden plantings that extend right to the water’s edge to give it a natural backdrop. You may even opt for a small pond with a water-catchment tower and a floating deck, aptly decorated with recycled fence boards and sculptural plantings to enhance the beauty of your landscape.
  • Lawns that Need Less Water: Homeowners in the region have become more conscious in their efforts to be conservative with water usage. That’s why instead of huge gardens and large lawns, more and more houses these days have lawns made of turf grasses or grasses that need less water.
  • Effective Irrigation System: With the improvement in irrigation methods and technology over the years, the landscaping scenario has changed drastically. Subterranean and drip irrigation as well as microspray and rotor technologies these days ensure a far more specialized mode of irrigation that distributes a specified amount of water more efficiently. In case you already have an existing sprinkler system, you can ask your landscaping professional to conduct irrigation audits to find out if any new installations or repairs are needed.
  • City Gardens: With limited space at their disposal, many homeowners are looking for a small yet relaxing patch of green where they can relax or host family parties/gatherings. Therefore, companies offering landscape services use layering elements to create depth of field, with sculptural elements and patterns to provide a visual treat. The objective in such cases is to design a stylish city garden.
People look for productive urban landscape designs that are tailor-made within their budget. What’s more, the emphasis is on conserving the environment while creating a space that has an unmatched aesthetic quotient to it. Thus, the job of a landscape architect is to strike a balance between colors, spaces and textures while creating an elegant green space for you. You can hire an experienced landscape professional right now to build your own getaway.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

How will Climate Change Affect your Landscape

Plants and climate always go hand in hand. When an environment is green and clean, chances of erratic climate also becomes lesser. Ironically, the increased rate of natural disasters, the untimely occurrences of storms and rains – all point towards the overall climate change. This is not a positive sign for garden landscapes any time!

Change in Climate and Shifting Landscapes in the Bay area

As it has been found out in some studies, the Bay Area, along the coast of California, is likely to face a major impact of climate change. Researchers predicted that these changes might occur in terms of infrastructure flooding, ecological challenge, land use modification etc. With the climate getting warmer continuously, scientists are expecting that the microclimates of the Bay Area will shift and predict that the plant communities of the area could move with the changing conditions. But it is not known to the scientists how these changes in the climate might affect the region’s wildlife and parks and how rapidly the vegetation could migrate to the new areas. Presently, the Bay Area plays home to a number of microclimates, diverse in nature, and it is basically warmer around the inland and cooler on the coast. But with the rising temperature and changing rainfall patterns, scientists are assuming that many of these microclimates will shift either closer to the coast, or to higher elevations.

How to adapt these climate changes?

Since there are a number of significant changes in the climate around the Bay Area, it is of utmost importance to adapt strategies to deal with them. To begin with, climatic water deficit, which refers to the difference between the amount of water that a plant would use if it had it and the actual amount that’s available, is an aspect that is likely to affect Bay Area landscapes.

Landscape experts even emphasize on how warmer air temperature would increase evapotranspiration (water lost through evaporation from leaves of plats as well as the soil), which in turn would increase a plant’s demand for water. Therefore, the focus would increasingly be on using water-conserving plants such as Golden Yarrow, Tree Poppy, Santa Barbara Ceanothu etc. Planting a wide array of evergreen perennials, bulbs and shrubs, or ornamental grasses that need less water could be another option to create an eye-pleasing bright spot that won’t demand a lot of water for growth and maintenance. Western Blue Flax, Sulphur Buckwheat and Douglas Iris are some waterwise species that landscape experts recommend for barren spaces or those with inadequate water supply.

Many reputed companies offering custom landscape services are also considering developing certain planning tools for assessing the probable risks of flood. People who live in a flood prone area and are worried about erosion and runoff on their property should opt for some native plants to control erosion and stabilize the soils. According to experienced landscape professionals, cool and moist months are ideal to start these "soil keepers", which would also help in decreasing the future irrigation costs. California Fuschia, Blue-eyed Grass and California Redbud are some species that will help in slope stabilization.

The Mediterranean climate of Southern California is prone to fire, which makes it important to create firewise landscapes. The key to creating such spaces depend on the right plant selection and placement, along with proper maintenance. Landscape experts emphasize on using plants low in available fuel and high in water content, in addition to decreasing mass plantings by spacing large shrubs and trees apart to prevent "fuel ladders". Maintaining the landscape by removing dead wood, using proper trimming and providing appropriate irrigation are other crucial aspects to build a fire-safe space.

So, Bay Area landscape owners should keep these factors in mind to help their spaces adapt to the changing climate.