Monday, July 26, 2010
Adding new life to an existing front yard that has no curb appeal is often worth a whole lot more than the time and effort spent on it. If you have plans to refurbish your own front yard landscape, you should use the same rules as designing and landscaping a new front yard. Parking areas and access areas should be figured so that the rest of the landscaping could be a simple task of designing some border beds around them. Still, even with a basic plan like this, a little thought will help to make the landscape look balanced and appealing.
First thing is to assess any problems areas. To get a whole different perspective of the landscaping and entryway, take pictures from several different angles. Now take a look at how your property really looks and write down the problem areas that need changing. Make note of even the smallest details. Are any concrete walks broken or cracked? Are any lawn areas overgrown with weeds? Is the front entryway no longer appealing and inviting?
Get rid of any dead and unwanted shrubs. New ones can be put in their place. Or instead of shrubs, use ornamental grasses to create an entirely different atmosphere in your front yard landscaping ideas. Pruning shrubs and trees will help keep their beauty. When these are allowed to grow unchecked they can make your yard look unkempt and uncared for.
To add a little color and interest, place some large planting containers on either side of your front steps or your walkway. Fill the pots with a combination of ornamentals plants, vines, and colorful flowers. This will brighten your entryway and make it look very welcoming. Planters are also great for changing out different plants at different times of the year.
Something to keep in mind when planting your front landscape is that sometimes less can be more. Rather than using a large variety of plants in your front yard landscaping ideas, create a simple planting plan. Repeat two or three colors and maybe a few evergreens throughout the landscaping and front entry. Doing so will add balance to the design.
To make the entire yard look clean and manicured, edge all walkways, driveways, and sidewalks. See that any entry steps, driveways, or walks are clean and in good shape. Fix any breaks, stains or cracks. Concrete or rock walkways that are cracked and seriously damaged should be repaired or taken out and replaced.
If landscaping styles are too restricted and uninteresting, a few curved planting beds will help add a softer tone. An island bed is also a great addition to add interest to a front yard.
You may want to consider putting in some accent walkway and foundation landscape lighting. Installation is generally easy enough to be a do it yourself job or you can hire a pro do it. As well as the safety factor they provide, they also add elegance to the house and landscaping at night.
One final thought. Take a look at what shape the house is in. A new coat of paint and basic needed repairs can make a hugely possitive change for the home and the landscaping. It doesn't matter how beautiful the landscape is, people won't be able to see it past a home that is in bad shape.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Designing a landscape or garden that will look and function great for years to come will consider every possible factor before any plans are drawn. A very important and often overlooked factor is climate and weather patterns. Regardless of design style, your landscaping should work with the weather and climate that you live in. In parts of the world that experience the changes of all four seasons, gardens and landscapes will also feel the effects of these seasonal changes. Here are a few ideas that may be helpful in any climate for designing landscapes or gardens.
Plant choices in any design in any area will be determined by what works and what's available in your area. Used quite common in Desert and Southwest landscape design ideas, planting adaptive and native plants is a good way to ensure that the plants thrive in any climate. Designing natives into your landscaping will help make it more colorful and maintenance free all year long. Native plants are already adapted to local soils so there's no problem from different soil. Also, because they grow and propagate locally, natives will already be climatized and adapted to your climate. Regardless of where you are, it's a good possibility that there are lots of native plants in your area that you can use.
Another way to brighten up your landscape, no matter what kind of climate you have, is by the use of tropical or Mediterranean landscape design plants. A lot of tropical plant varieties will actually do well in colder climates. Do a little research on tropical plants and you may find a few that will thrive in your area. Some of the tropical plants that often work well in non tropical climates are Bougainvillea, Agapanthus, and Hibiscus. Lantana, which blooms all the time and comes in several different colors, from light lavender to vibrant shades of yellow, is also a prime choice. Mandevillas, which have beautiful trumpet shaped flowers on long vines are also a great choice. If you choose, there are probably enough tropical plant varieties that will work in your area and possibly give your landscaping some interest all year long.
Seasonal diversity is also an important element for landscaping or gardens with different climates. For example, you can use plants in the landscaping with different bloom times and patterns. In this way, when one type of plant finishes its season, you'll still have something blooming in your landscaping or garden. The key here is a little research and planning for the different bloom schedules of your different plant choices. Know which ones are at bloom for each season and choose one or two for each season that you would like to include in your design.
And of course, along with the plants, you can also use other decor and ornaments in your landscape design to add even more visual interest. Ornaments and garden decor generally make good placements since they aren't really effected by changes in the climate or weather. You can also use elements like statues, stone pathways, and other hardscapes to make your design more interesting.
Friday, July 09, 2010
Landscaping ideas for front yards generally follow an entirely different set of needs than those for the back. The front yard design will almost always have to address the need for accessibility and entry into the home. Also, being the first thing that folks see when they visit or pass by your house, the front yard landscape usually gives them a first impression of your home as well as your landscaping. Not generaly an area designed to spend a lot of time in, front yards basically serve as the entry, access, and exit of the home. Basically, a front yard landscape design can get a good start by designing the necessary walkways or driveways and then the rest of the design can often be created around that.
Planting ideas and schemes in front yards often place a lot of focus on the house and how it sits on the property. The same as the rest of the landscaping elements like fences, walkways, and driveways, it's important that the plants placed around the home also complement it. Trees and shrubs have the ability to create unity between the house and its surrounding by helping the building seem more a natural part of the landscape and softening the hard lines.
The corners of the house and the entryway door are two areas that need special consideration when you're creating your landscaping ideas and plans. Basically, the door is the focal point of the house and it often good practice to place short plantings on either side of it. For the corners however, tall plants are a great choice since they help soften the corners as well as lead the eye toward the front door and the plants surrounding it.
Trees are a wonderful addition to front yard landscaping also because they can frame the home. They can be used to place visual interest on the home making it the most outstanding feature in the landscape. Generally, you should grow trees that have a mature size that is close to the same scale of the house. Take care when planting shade trees that they're tall enough to create shade and keep the home cool but not so tall that they dwarf the house. On the other side of the coin, planting shorter trees can make the house appear taller and possibly out of proportion as well.
Consider the different shapes of different trees and then select those with a shape that will best fit the style of the home. A house with a steeply angled roof line and dormer windows normally call for pyramidal trees, like birch and spruces. For dwellings that have the low lines of the ranch style, the horizontal or round shape of maples and dogwoods works very well.
Aside from the plants and trees, the open lawn is also important in many landscape design styles since it can provide an excellent setting for the house. A front yard with a patch of lawn surrounded by clean flower beds, shrubs, and ornamental plants can add the illusion of a bigger space than there is. Be mindful when planting shrubs as they can appear to be out of place and floating on their own if not planted in designated planting beds or groups.
Creating beautiful and successful front yard landscaping ideas always starts with a complete and finished plan. Even if you plan to do the project in steps over time, a complete plan is important to keep the project on track. Without it, you'll end up with a patch work landscape that was obviously pieced together.Take the time to consider all we've learned in this article and create a finished plan first.
Front yard landscapes often place the main focus on creating an inviting entry while also accenting the view of the home. And coming up with a great design can really be as simple as designating the necessary walkways and entries and then designing around them.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Outdoor Christmas Yard Decorations
Computerized outdoor Christmas yard decorations are taking on in a big way all over the country. With the help of electronic and computerized decorations and local communities, a lot of cities are becoming large tourist attractions just like Christmas On The Pecos in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
When decorating for Christmas or any other holiday, having close access to plenty of electricity is a welcome convenience. At the same time, not having enough can also be a setback of not being able to decorate the way you want to. While most modern houses have plenty of outlets on the walls of the home, very few have electricity in the yard. Some Christmas yard decorations and displays can use a lot of electricity and outlets. Having access right where you need it is so much better than having extension cords stretched out all over the yard. So having electrical outlets installed throughout the landscaping is a great idea.
The amount of power you’ll need will obviously depend on the extent of your decorating displays. Over planning for too much is always better than not enough. Have your electricians create the right size power supply and network for your decorations. And then have them place outlets where you know you’ll have Christmas yard decorations.
Nothing is worse to a landscaping project than the visibility of utilities. Along with other utilities like transformers and meters, outlets can’t be avoided and so we have to find some creative ways of hiding them or blending them with the landscaping. One of the easiest ways to hide outlets is to place them in planting beds nearest to the areas where you’ll have outdoor Christmas decorations. There are also weatherproof outlet boxes that can be set directly into lawns and flowerbeds as well as fake rocks.
Christmas lights and outdoor decorations have been around and used for quite a long time. It’s interesting and entertaining to see how far they’ve come. Click here to read about the history and origin of using christmas lights and outdoor decorations.
Friday, July 03, 2009
As part of the movement for green living, the principles of xeriscaping are finally being considered for most design styles and not just for desert southwest landscapes. While a lot of folks still think that xeriscape is a design style confined to desert and southwest landscaping, many more are starting to understand that it is a method that can be applied to all design styles rather than a style itself. Still, chances are if you're searching for xeric information, you're probably looking for landscaping ideas of a Santa Fe, Arizona, Southwest, or desert nature.
Xeriscape Design Ideas
Before I point you in the direction of some great xeriscaping ideas resources, skim over xeriscaping principles to get an understanding of the methods and benefits of drought tolerant and low water use landscaping. You'll find that most of it is just plain common sense.
As I said before, chances are that you're looking for something of a Santa Fe or Arizona style. Ans seeing how these are some of the most common styles in our area, we have some good ideas resources to share with you.
Dry Riverbed Xeriscaping Ideas is an informative post with pictures of fake dry riverbeds used for design and drainage purposes in drought tolerant landscaping.
Xeriscaping Pictures And Plans is a new directory of links, pictures, and plans for low water use landscape design. Many of the links and resources are from very talented designers all over the country.
Xeriscape Design Ideas is a list of some of my own design and plans.
Southwest Landscaping Ideas is a collection of design ideas and links to some beautiful desert Southwest Santa Fe style designs, plans, and pictures that I could find.
Also see Xeriscaping for an updated and more detailed version of this post along with some other important xeriscape design resources.
While you may be tempted to overlook the principles and go directly to all the pictures and ideas, just take a moment to skim over them. It will help you understand Xeriscaping better so you can apply it to any design style and idea you choose.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Videos are the present and future of tutorials and ideas. Being able to see a project or idea created is so much better for comprehension than someone trying to tell you or explain the steps or theory of the project.
There are videos available that will teach you how to do practically anything. And how to do your own landscaping projects and garden design are no exception. You can find video tutorials on landscaping all over the internet. The only problem is that in order to find the good ones, you have to wade through hundreds of useless videos.
So in order to help the do it yourselfer find good tutorial videos on landscaping and garden design, the landscape design site created Landscaping Videos.com . Currently there are over 100 video landscaping ideas organized in categories to help you find specific project details related to landscaping and garden design.
For even more, see landscaping ideas for the latest blog post that will show you several resources for gathering landscaping ideas and how to use them in your own yard and property.