Creating an Environment


The dual goal in planning landscaping is to design a pleasant environment for your family, and at the same time to design features that are usable, long lasting and easy to live with. This section discusses the overall planning of a space and ways to achieve the desired results. Begin the overall planning of your lawn by taking a walk around your home and the courtyard with a pencil in hand. Take an inventory of what you have, what you would like to keep, what you would like to add and what you would like to eliminate. The same approach can be used for planning a new yard or remodeling an old yard.

To increase the probability of attractive features in your landscaping plan, consider the following criteria during the tour of your yard. The house should have an inviting or interesting look as you approach the entrance from the street or driveway.

You will want to design features into your landscaping plan that will make your home more usable and easier to live with. Take the following criteria into account as you tour your home and yard.

All family members must be considered. Small children need a play area. Older children may need areas for sports and hobbies. Adults may want a quite retreat, a gardening area, or a place for outdoor entertaining.

An outdoor living area is usually desirable. Some outdoor living areas are not used because they are not easily accessible from the living areas of the house. Making a door out of a window or building a pathway to the area are two ways of correcting this situation.

The yard should contain provisions for clothes drying storing trashcans, garden equipment, bicycles, boats, etc. Service areas should be screened from the other areas of the yard or house, easily accessible from the kitchen or garage.

Plan your landscaping to make the most of the climate you live in.

There are many more features to consider when you plan your landscaping. They affect the ultimate appearance of your property and how pleasant it will be to use. Some typical features are discussed below to emphasis the need for and possible benefits from careful planning.

After you assemble your ideas for what you would like in your yard, make a detailed plan that brings it all together.

It will be worthwhile to make a scale drawing of your property on graph paper. Figure out a workable scale. In your house locate the house, garage, or any other structures, and existing trees or shrubs you want to keep. Indicate the driveway, sidewalks or fences you have. Show by symbol the doors and windows. Note the height from the ground to the bottoms of the windows. Show the location of the rooms within the house to help you effectively place any outdoor living and service areas. Walk through the house, look out the windows and note the windows where you would like to create a pleasing view. Locate underground utility and sewer or septic lines.

Any pavement additions must be planned to allow future access to these lines. Use tracing paper over your scale drawings of the yard and work out several alternate plans for landscaping the yard. Experiment with different geometric shapes that define areas. Squares or rectangles are the easiest for most people to work with. You could also use circles or ovals. Curves are generally the hardest to design. Unless you are very artistic, use whatever shape you choose throughout your design. An exception might be a curved flower border along a long fence. Typical proposed landscaping designs make use of squares (1), circles (2), and rectangles (3).

Size is an important factor when planning areas for specific purposes.