Basic Rules of Landscaping 101
When landscaping a home sight there are a few basic design elements to be considered. These elements are hard fast and almost never broken. A landscape must draw attention to the entry of the home. This is accomplished in a number of ways. The most common is color next to the entry, and a unique focal plant next to the entry door that draws attention to the entry, year round. Plants on the corners and perimeters of the site must be taller than the focal plant or plantings next to the entry door. Use plant material to break down vertical, harsh lines at the corners of your home. Keep in mind that you want the landscape to flow into and around the home. Taller height on perimeters and shorter plants near the entry draws the human eye to the door. Landscape beds must be three dimensional, in other words,
do not simply install a row of plants along the foundation. Landscapes must be tiered or stepped to create depth. i.e. shorter growing plants at perimeter, then depending on scale, taller plants behind, and even taller plants next to the foundation or what is otherwise known as the stair-step effect. Always determine a plants mature height and width when designing. Many designs incorporate a tree in the center of the front yard. In this case always select a tree that ultimately has a canopy that begins above the line of sight to the front door. In some cases clients desire a somewhat hidden entry, taking their visitor on an almost secret path to the front door. Decide which effect you desire before you begin the design process. There should always be a back drop behind the house utilizing evergreen plants that, at mature height, are thirty percent higher than the tallest point of the homes roof line. The most common mistake in landscape design in front of your home is installing to many different types of plants in an area creating what we call the "carnival effect". Do not be over creative! In many cases a simple design is a timeless design. You definitely want a timeless landscape. It takes many do it yourselfers years and sometimes lifetimes to understand what makes a design timeless. The most important factor in design is planting the right plant in the proper exposure. i.e. you don't want a shade loving tree or plant in full sun and vice versa. This is a major mistake that even experienced designers make. Always select a competent, experienced company to design an architecturally sound landscape. Don't be afraid to ask questions and input your thoughts to your chosen designer. In some cases designers install what we call "cookie cutter designs" because they are trying to utilize plant material they have overstocked. Again, a trusted landscape source with years of experience is a good choice. I genuinely hope this helps as landscape design is an art form, and simply put, many architects are not artists.