Landscape Planning

This snippet has been extracted from “Practical Techniques for the Home Gardener” written by “Judith Adam”. Landscape planning is a branch of landscape architecture, it provides services to be focused on the natural environment along with urban planners. “Tree Service in Oakland” furnishes you with vital information on this kin of planning. Thanking the author for sharing this to beautify the surroundings.

Ten- point assessment survey

If you’re planning to landscape  a new garden for the first time,  or you are renovating an older property, these are the areas of critical assessment you should consider. Using the assessment questions you can identify the problems, determine the changes you want to make, and begin to order them in priority. Whether you plan to do all the work at once or in phases over several seasons, a step-by –step assessment will clarify what work needs to be done.

  1. Size and shape what are the dimensions of the garden? Is it rectangular, square, pie-shaped, irregular?  Does the garden have unusual proportions, is it long and narrow, wide and shallow, does it have sharp angles? If the size is too large, can it be divided; or if too small, can it be made to appear more spacious? Is the shape an asset, or will special consideration be needed to alter or disguise the proportions?
landscape planning

Shrubs and succession plantings would connect this garden’s features and disjointed shapes while filling the obvious voids

  • Boundaries Is the perimeter defined with a low curb or wall, fence, hedge, informal row of shrubs or trees? How is the front garden separated from the public road? It is visually clear where private property begins? How are the boundaries between neighbors indicated? How close are the neighbors on three sides? Is there any kind of privacy barrier or screening in place; is it needed? Are outdoor sitting and dining areas screened?

 Marking private boundaries can be done with curbs, walls, fences or plants.  

  • Patios and Decks Is the patio level, does it shed water efficiently, are any bricks or stones heaved up? Are the patio edges stable and held in place by a concealed metal band? Are any boards in the deck split, bowed or rotting? Can animals get under the deck? Are the deck steps levels and secure? Is the patio or deck large enough to accommodate your furniture?

Hard surfaces separate formal and functional areas from relaxed green space.

Landscape planning - Driveway Garage
Driveway Garage
  • The Lawn Is the grass healthy, thick and deep? Does it grow vigorously? Does the lawn drain quickly after snow melts? How often has the lawn been aerated? Is the grass surrounding large lawn trees thin and weak? Do any areas have more weeds than grass? Are there areas worn thin by constant foot traffic? Have furniture and sports or play equipment (Trampolines, sand boxes, kiddy pools) damaged any areas of turf?
  • Irrigation How is the garden watered? By rain only? Is there an in-ground irrigation system, for the lawn only, for the planting beds? Do you water with a movable hose and sprinkler attachment? Is water distribution uneven; are there areas of excessive moisture or dryness? As a result of too much moisture, do perennial plants, shrubs and trees show symptoms of fungus diseases in spring or autumn? Does dry soil cause woody plants to suffer excessive twig die back after winter?
  • Entrance and pathways  How many entrances are there to the garden? From the back door and side door of the house? Gate in back fence? Pathway alongside the garage? Are the entrances accented with arbors, vines and plant material alongside? Are any specimen plants used to enhance entrances and draw people into the garden? Are shrubs alongside entrances too large or over-whelming? Do pathways lead to frequently used areas? How wide is the path? Are steps and paths constructed with wood, concrete, paving bricks, natural stone? Are these access areas strictly functional or are they included in the character of the garden?
  • Side Strips Are there side strips of land alongside the house, driveway or garage walls? Are they surfaced with grass, concrete, stepping stones, paving bricks, natural stone? Is the strip of land level and clean to walk on? Can it be used in winter? Is there room for plants or ground covers alongside or between stones? Do walls of the house or garage have room for vines? Does the side strip of land serve as a pathway entrance to the garden? Does it appear to be part of the garden?
  • Growing Areas Are beds placed where they can be appreciated from seating areas, entrances and doors, from inside through window views? Do planting areas drain well in early spring and after rain? Has the soil been frequently enriched with organic material and Coarse sand? Are the beds wide enough to accommodate more than one row or tier of plants? Is edging the beds a part of regular garden maintenance? Is bare soil exposed between plants; are there weed problems; is organic mulch renewed annually?
  • Trees and Shade Do trees produce dense shade, filtered light or dapples light? All day, or how many hours? Have any roots risen out of the ground? Are massive trees such as maples and willow near to the house and growing beds? Are the larger trees high-pruned to increase light and air circulation? Are any trees growing on public property by the roadside? In your community are there bylaws governing pruning and removal of trees on private property?
  •  The Garage and Driveway Is the garage a prominent feature of the property; is it softened by shrubs or vines? Does it have a window and a planted window box? If the driveway is asphalt, is it banded with cobblestones or another kind of ornamental stone? If the driveway is concrete or made from interlock bricks, is there any cracking or heaving and are there sunken areas? Is there staining from oil and tires?

Opposite: Consider how an older patio might change. Does outdoor cooking require a stone –constructed grill? Is wood furniture suited to the climate, or would other materials and styles better meet usage needs? Would a pergola or arbor provide some welcome shade?

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