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Reduce maintenance activities by grouping plants with similar maintenance requirements together. To conserve water, do not mix plants that have low water requirements with plants that have high water requirements.
For a detailed descriptions of low maintenance landscaping principles, see the publication Low Input Landscaping.
Landscaping combines elements of art and science to create a functional, aesthetically pleasing extension of indoor living to the outdoors. These areas should be defined on the plot plan or maybe on a piece of tracing paper laid over the plot plan. Bed form, traffic flow and plant selection and placement utilize art elements and design principles previously discussed.
Foundation planting is not all of landscaping but can be a vital part of functional landscape design. The objectives of foundation planting are to focalize the main entrance, compliment the architectural style of the house and to break long continuous lines of the house and blend it into the surroundings. A general rule of thumb is that the height of plants in the foundation planting should not exceed two-thirds the height of the wall at house corners.
A long low house (ranch style) can be made to appear taller in relation to its length by proper placement of plant materials. A moderate amount of open area in the front yard can create the feeling of a large expansive area that allows the observer's eye to move from the street to the planted areas.
No matter how well a plant meets the physical characteristics for a location, if it is not adaptable to the conditions there, it will fail.
Landscape designers must also be aware of insect and disease problems for plants they expect to include in a plan. Design the appropriate size of maintained area and arrange plants in groups of like species to create a mass effect. Once the spatial design is finalized, plants and other hardscape elements are used to define those spaces. Most of us want to jump in and start planning the planting beds, but always start with the spatial design of your property.
Now you have a spatial design for your property, that includes strong garden rooms and bed areas defined for plantings.  The next step is to visit your local nursery and fill those beds with your favorite plants!
Focalization can be adjusted by plant materials along the lines to create symmetrical or asymmetrical focalization.
Where the wind direction differs in summer and winter, plantings can be arranged to block the cold winter winds from a patio and direct summer breezes into this same area (Figure 8). Their placement should be considered in terms of the house plan and in relation to other activities in and adjacent to the property. First, determine the objectives of the design and establish the general type of plan -- formal or natural.
Generally, plant height should not exceed the height of a line extending from the doorway to this imaginary point at the house corner (Figure 11).

Plantings, like liriope, along both sides of a walk in the open lawn only draws attention to or accents the walk. Fencing, walls or plants used for this purpose can also block views, enhance views and direct or block prevailing winds. Groupings of plants can be positioned to give a visual block in one direction while allowing air flow into the activity area as previously shown in Figure 9. This combined planting is especially suited for noise abatement where the lot adjoins a busy public street (Figure 16). Up until this point, plant form, texture, color and size have been visualized, but now a name must be assigned to each plant. Plants susceptible to mites, scales and other insects will usually be attacked more severely in areas with poor air circulation.
Desirable plants are those resistant to or tolerant of pests like mites, scale, nematodes, borers, root rots, powdery mildew, wilts, galls, blights, and leaf spots. A complementary color scheme may be achieved by using plants with green foliage against a red brick house. The texture of plants differs as the relationships between the leaves, twigs, and branches differ.
Transition of plant materials along these lines can make the scene become a part of the landscape.
While conducting the site analysis, be sure to look for existing wind breaks provided by plants and structures on the property or on adjacent property. The designer must consider those variations in order to "fine-tune" the landscape plan and plant selection. Plan for structural needs, consider land form modifications, determine traffic flow, develop bed form and then specify plant materials. History reveals that foundation plantings were used to block the view of raised foundations and to slow cold air movement under the house (Figure 10). Plants on the outside of a curve in a driveway or highway aid the driver by giving definition to the traffic flow. Vertical lines of many houses can be effectively softened by a small tree planted in conjunction with other plants at a corner. This information will determine where to plant the trees relative to sun angle, sun direction and areas to be shaded. Planning for multi-use space of this sort can lead to high space utilization and efficiency.
Plants are selected on the basis of climatic adaptability to the microclimate of the location, plant architecture and availability. Plants should be selected on the basis of their mature size or a size at which they can be maintained easily. Plants should be spaced far enough from the house so that there is adequate air circulation near the house. Avoid improper plant selection, spacing and installation that can cause maintenance headaches.

By using bubble (or functional) diagrams and form composition studies a comprehensive spatial design can be achieved that will miraculously reveal garden rooms surrounded by planting beds…all ready for the homeowner to fill with lovely plants. Line is also created vertically by changes in plant height and the height of tree and shrub canopies. Form can be discussed in terms of individual plant growth habits or as the planting arrangement in a landscape. Transition from taller to shorter plants with textural changes from coarse to fine along focal lines emphasizes the beauty of a lake scene.
It saves a lot of time if the customer has an accurate plat of the house and lot and a house floor plan with outside dimensions. Although these needs do not often exist today, some landscapers and homeowners think it is a must to cover every linear foot of the foundation with plants. Most often some other type of separation is required due to the number of separate activities planned in a small area. Generally, space plants from the house by at least the distance of the plant radius at maturity.
The landscape designer should consider the color changes throughout the year when developing a landscape plan. Transition from shorter to taller plants and from fine to coarse textures would enframe the scene and make it appear closer, like a painting on a wall. Transition of plants or other objects along these lines can strengthen or weaken the focalization. A plant screen on the inside of a curve in a driveway or highway is hazardous because it blocks the driver's view of the road ahead. Plants placed near these trees should be shorter and decrease in height the farther from the house they are positioned. If the children are 8 to 10 and no other children are expected, the area may be temporary and plans for future modification should be suggested to the customer. Although the floor plan scale will probably be different from the scale you use, it will still be easier to convert the scale than to physically measure the house, lot, etc. This planting design effectively created a sloping line to replace the strong vertical line of the house. Plants can be selected to tolerate varied soil conditions, but the designer must have a working knowledge of available plant materials. Proper bed arrangement and plant selection will lead the observer to one focalization point in the landscape. Limit the number of plant species and create well-defined planted areas by not scattering plants throughout open areas.

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