Landscape design and landscaping are artistic and a technical processes used to create beautiful outdoor living areas that complement the home's design and construction. Therefore, it is an important component of the home design and construction process. It includes many concepts, elements, and design styles.
What is landscaping?
Landscaping1) involves activities that modify an area of land for both practical and aesthetic2) reasons. It includes the following components:
- Plants3) including annuals, aquatics, biennials, bulbs, deciduous trees, evergreens, groundcovers, ornamental grasses, perennials, shrubs, succulents, tropicals, and vines
- Natural elements such as bodies of water, landforms, and terrain elevation and shape
- Abstract elements such as lighting and weather conditions
- Hardscapes4) like decks, fences, patios, and retaining walls
- Outdoor furnishing like benches, chairs, lighting fixtures, ornaments, and tables
- Practical elements like drainage systems
Landscaping requires expertise in artistic design and horticulture. Landscape design5) involves analyzing, planning, and creating functional and attractive exterior spaces. Horticulture6) is the art and science of cultivating flowers, foliage plants, fruits, herbs, nuts, turf, vegetables, and woody ornamentals.
What is the difference between gardening and landscaping?
Gardening and landscaping are both techniques7) used to enhance the aesthetics of a home's design and construction, but there are differences.
Gardening involves growing and caring for one or several plants that grow in the ground or in containers. Landscaping entails the design and construction of outdoor areas including gardens. Professional landscapers and gardeners play an essential role in the home design and construction process.
Why is landscaping important?
Whether it is a new construction home or an existing home with an outdoor area that could use some improvements, landscaping is important for several reasons8).
Creates a More Pleasant Home Environment
Colorful plants, trees and shrubbery, beautiful garden design, attractive ornaments, and hardscapes like decks and patios can create beautiful, peaceful, and functional outdoor living spaces that contribute to quality of life.
Increases the Value of Homes
Professional landscaping can increase the value of a home by 10% to 12%. This is particularly important for owners who want to sell their homes because poor landscaping (or unattractive yards) can decrease a home's value.
Protects Against Flooding
Proper landscaping can prevent9) excessive rainfall or other water hazards from flooding a home's basement or below-grade rooms. This can prevent costly repairs, expensive replacement of damaged items, and a great deal of stress.
Landscaping can increase the energy-efficiency of a home. For example, shrubs can direct cool breezes and trees can provide shade. These landscaping elements can help cool a home and reduce energy use.
Landscaping can make it easier for occupants to navigate through their yards. Plus, walkways and paths help keep water and mud from being carried into the home.
Landscape Design Styles
Home owners can choose from a number of landscape design styles10) to transform their yards into lovely outdoor spaces. Seven of these styles are described below.
The coastal11) garden design style involves incorporating the surroundings into the design. With their simple, free-flowing design, these landscapes enhance the natural beauty of their locations and provide serene outdoor spaces. This style emphasizes shrubs. Taller shrubs act as a windbreaker without blocking views. Lower-growing, drought-tolerant, mounding shrubs are robust enough to withstand harsh soil and weather conditions. A large amount of these shrubs will grow together over time. This provides the illusion of an ocean, which enhances the scenery rather than distract from it. This style incorporates the following elements:
- Exposed aggregate
- Marine artifacts
- Sea grass furniture
The Landscaping Network: Country Landscape Design garden design style originated from the English gardens of the 1600s. Over the centuries, it has become suited for the farmhouse, ranch, rustic, and Victorian architectural styles. The style was originally designed for functionality. Beehives, farm animals, fruit trees, herbs, and vegetables were the main elements while flowers were used as filler. However, the modern garden style focuses on flowers, dense plantings, and traditional building materials. It contains the following elements:
- Brick, gravel, or stone paving materials
- Ornate cast iron benches
- Picket fencing
- Wicker furniture
Country landscapes include intimate spaces and areas that complement nature. Its casual and quaint style makes it feel like an extension of the home's design and construction. Although the style has personal and regional differences, its overall design still emphasizes plant elements. Ornamental grasses and native plants are commonly used.
Inspired by the coastal areas of France, Italy, and Spain, the Landscaping Network: Mediterranean Landscape Design12) garden style is known for its "casual elegance." This type of garden design combines formal designs and accents with plants and relaxed materials. It includes plants that provide color, structure, and texture like cypress trees, lavender, and ornamental grasses. Bocce ball13) courts, Roman columns, terra cotta pots, tiered fountains, and statuary are common elements in Mediterranean gardens.
The modern14) garden design style dates back to the 1950s and 1960s—an era that featured linear designs and bold geometry. It is known for its "streamlined aesthetic and sleek sophisticated style."
Modern gardens feel organized and controlled. They emphasize hardscapes as opposed to plants, which are typically green and chosen for texture and shape. Furniture cushions, painted walls, and planters provide pops of color.
Concrete, metal, and wood are popular materials in modern landscape design. Many designers leave concrete surfaces their original color (natural grey). These surfaces, however, can be stained a variety of colors. Metal, particularly weathered corten steel, is commonly used as an accent in modern gardens. It is used as planters, privacy screens, or small retaining walls15).
Contrast is one of the primary goals of modern design. For example, a mass of ornamental grasses against a grey concrete wall or orange cushions on steel patio furniture provides an eye-catching difference in colors.
The Southwest16) style represents arid regions in the west. Native American and Spanish details as well as native plants contribute to a simple, low maintenance, and functional design. Furthermore, hardscape materials have colors that are generally seen in natural southwestern landscapes or in the sunset. Similar materials are used to construct walls, walkways, and driveways. Brightly colored plantings and décor add bursts of color and character to outdoor spaces. The style includes the following elements:
- Decomposed granite
- Desert colors
- Native American décor
- Natural stone
- Olla pottery
- Red clay pavers
- Terracotta tiles
The Spanish17) garden design style strongly reflects Islamic, Moorish, and Persian garden designs. Its design features include drought-tolerant plants and ceramic tiles. This tile is commonly used in hardscapes like benches, reflecting pools, retaining walls, walkways, and water fountains. Bright blue décor, large terra cotta pots, rod iron, and urns are also features of these gardens. The style also includes courtyards with fountains and terraces and walled sections that create patio areas. Additional elements include the following:
- Cantera stone
- Carved cantera forms
- Moorish lanterns
- Saltillo tiles
- Slump block
Xeriscaping18) involves choosing plants that have the ability to thrive in the landscape with as little additional water as possible. Native plants and adaptable species are the best greenery for this type of landscape. Even though xeriscaping is a kind of low-water landscaping, people who have an interest in it frequently employ other ways to reduce their footprints on the planet. People become interested in this landscaping style for several reasons:
- Many municipalities restrict use of water for landscaping. Xeric plants enable people to create beautiful gardens that require less water.
- It has environmental benefits (i.e., less use of water and other resources).
- It saves time and money.
Landscaping adds value to a home. It provides beauty, pleasure, and functionality, and it can increase a home's value. This is why it is an important element of the home design and construction process.
Learn more about residential real estate including eco-friendly home construction and home valuation at RealEstatece.com.
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