Landscape design is much more than pulling up weeds, planting flowers and putting down mulch. The true measure of successful landscape design isn't whether it makes a pretty picture for five minutes after you've finished. The true measure is whether you've created a landscape that people use in the way you were hoping and enjoy for years to come. Landscapes are designed for people, and not just for their eyes. Landscapes are meant to be used and experienced and enjoyed. So how do you make that happen for yourself or your clients?
First things first: maintenance. Whether it's mowing the lawn or pond management, maintaining the landscape is the first thing you should consider. A complicated landscape with too many things to manage is an unsustainable landscape. If you design your landscape with management concerns in mind, then you'll see a landscape that lasts longer and brings more enjoyment.
Create Functional Spaces
The second major consideration must be the creation of functional spaces. Now if the whole function of the space is to be aesthetically pleasing, then you can pretty much skip this step, but most spaces are not purely decorative. They're also spaces that you want to make use of, either through gardening or through activities. Consider how you're planning to use the space and create a design that revolves around that use.
Now you get into the nitty-gritty of design. Landscapes are living art and anything alive is by its very nature dynamic. It can be dynamic through contrasting foliage and flowers, or through the terracing of different layers, but if nothing else, it will be dynamic through the seasons. Careful attention to planting and the dynamics of the space can create an area that's just as pleasing in summer as it is in the dead of winter.
Turn Foibles into Features
A landscape is also a conversation. You have your own things to say, but you can't change the essential content of your landscape. Work with the lay of the land instead of against it.
Good landscape design makes it easy and effortless for you to enjoy your outdoor spaces. It encourages you to get out, see nature, and enjoy it. If you want great outdoor spaces that anyone can enjoy, you should follow these four principles. Build a space that you can maintain, that serves a function well, is visually dynamic and works with the existing features of the landscape instead of against them.
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