Wednesday, 24 September 2014

5 Tips for Smart Outdoor Landscape Design

Outdoor landscaping isn’t all about planting a bunch of randomly collected shrubs and flowering plants haphazardly. If you do this, the wrongly placed plants won’t enhance the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space. Rather, they would become a liability where you have to prune them frequently, apply expensive pest treatments, or even remove them entirely much earlier than their natural life spans. However, if you want to steer clear of such wastage of time, effort and money, you should design your landscape carefully. By keeping the following tips for outdoor landscaping in mind, you can create a landscape that doesn’t become a headache to maintain and gives your outdoor space an attractive look:
  1. Keep an eye, both on the present and the future: A basic step for outdoor landscaping is to assess your present and future needs and design accordingly. For instance, it’s important to decide what you want to do in the space. Whether it’s to enjoy a relaxing mood, entertain guests, cook a meal or prepare a barbeque, play with your dog, grow vegetables, run around with your kids, or hang the laundry out to dry, you need to ascertain the purpose of your outdoor space. It’s equally crucial to consider future access to various elements of the landscape. After all, you may need some repair or renovation in the future, which could demand access to your yard for big/small machines like stump grinders, mowers etc. Therefore, your landscape architect should design after considering all these aspects.
  2. Integrate some focal points: Your yard should have one or more focal points that attract the eye and engage the onlooker. Though the most common focal points used by landscape professionals are trees and statues, you can explore and use several other possibilities. Some of these include installing a bird bath, hanging flower baskets, using pebbles and stones of different sizes to demarcate a specific area, building a pool or water feature (pond/fountain), placing an ornate garden bench etc. You may even use a borrowed view or an architectural attribute of your house to create a focal point in your landscape that blends well with the overall style and theme of your outdoor space.  
  3. Bring in some movement: A stiff landscape without movement looks very dull. Therefore, plan to add movements, and thus life and interest to your yard. It could be a few ornamental grasses that dance when the breeze blows over them, or it could be the flowers and berry producers that attract the birds and the bees.
  4. Let your house blend in: Houses that are nothing short of architectural masterpieces can augment any landscape without much of an effort on the owner’s part. But if your home is a building with an average look and feel, you can choose some plants that will soften your home’s edges and let it blend with the setting. However, guard against planting with zest that makes your home hide behind an overgrown shrubbery. Remember – even the most ordinary homes have something interesting about them, which a thoughtful landscape architect can highlight and benefit from. 
  5. Plant right: Choosing the right plants for your landscape and planting them at the right places is very crucial to create the landscape of your dreams. For example, the ideal location for a rose bed or vegetable garden is a place that gets adequate sunlight. You should also consider the growth rate of plants. Many choose fast-growing plants for their landscape to get the space filled with large trees and shrubs quickly but the money and time they need to invest to prune and maintain them later often outweigh the initial savings. Ensuring proper spacing between the plants is yet another important fact. This will guarantee proper air circulation to avert insect and fungal problems.
Remember that you don’t need to burn a hole in your pocket to create a beautiful landscape. Simply use the tips above to design carefully and ensure that you select your plants accordingly and place them at the right locations. When done the right way, your outdoor space will continue to enthrall and mesmerize you for years to come. 

Friday, 12 September 2014

5 Urban Landscape Architecture Design Ideas

Whether it’s your home, an office, a shopping mall or a park, designing them requires a lot of planning and careful coordination among various elements. Some designs can focus on simple and modern forms while using environment-friendly elements, while some others can be grand in their scale and execution. However, it’s important for landscape architects to have deep understanding and responsiveness to client requirements, site conditions, and sensitivity towards the bond between natural and constructed surroundings. The goal for every urban landscape project is to balance design and pragmatism to get striking end results that engage the user.

Here are five contemporary design ideas for your home that give you an idea of what to look for when you take your pick:
  1. Rooftop decks: If your home enjoys the view of a lake or river, you can think of roof terraces to add charm to your space. If you want to create an oasis-style setting, you can use simple furniture and put greenery in planters to craft a relaxed, contemporary setting. This simple setting would go especially well if your river/lake views are flanked by an urban landscape. In case you have a limited space available to work with, opting for a crisp linear design will help you make the most of it.
  2. Backyard with open terrace: This space can be put to use in different ways. If you have a lot of space to play with, you can get a pool or some other water feature installed, along with some big trees and native garden plantings. If you decide to have a pool or pond, the reflection of the sky and the trees will provide you with a quiet, contemplative feel. In case your living rooms open up onto the terrace, you can use the backyard as an extension for your indoor and outdoor activities. Having an open seating arrangement with garden umbrellas, tables, etc. can help you create a lovely and functional dining terrace.
  3. Layered garden: People in the city often dream of having a green patch of their own but have to forego it due to space constraints. However, a layered garden can give the users a visibly sustainable and stylish garden to enjoy. If you too have always wanted a garden, albeit small in size, to relax and feel close to nature, you can ask your landscape professional to design one for your home. By layering elements, repeating materials and patterns, your landscape architect can create depth of field. This (the sculptural and constructed elements) can then be contrasted with planted elements to offer the onlooker a strong visual focus.
  4. Outdoor fireplace: Whether you want a cozy nook in your garden to enjoy a quiet meal with family and friends, read a book, or simply laze around, having a fireplace installed would be a good way to jazz up the place. It could be a lone focal feature or a part of your outdoor kitchen area. Depending on the overall theme of your place, you can ask your landscaping professional to design it so that it blends well with the entire setting.
  5. Party zone: Though you can always convert your backyard or patio to organize a party, it pays to have a dedicated party zone if you love to entertain often. You can use the rear of your property to welcome guests and put built-in benches, garden chairs, etc. to create a comfortable seating arrangement. If you have a fire-pit, the seating arrangement can be done around it. Having some plants and fences around the edges will also be a good idea to preserve the privacy of your guests while giving them a sense of spaciousness at the same time.
You can get these and many more ideas from your landscape architect as a professional would know what suits your space the best. So, give your landscape a makeover with these tips to enjoy your own personal space to the optimum.