Understanding Landscaping: Exploring the Basics

To be able to call yourself “landscape” (verb) you have to make improvements to the grounds of a property (or maintain past improvements), either in a practical way or an aesthetic one. Landscape refers to everything outside the house that is on your property. Landscaping is a related term. When you landscape your yard, you are engaging in landscaping.

If you can see from your window a feature that is fixed in your yard and affects the aesthetics or functionality of your home, it’s part of “landscape” for your property. It is important to note that certain practical aspects of landscaping are crucial, even if they cannot be seen.

Harmony between House and Landscaping
The above definition is a simple, practical way to define the term “landscaping.” However, first-time home owners will benefit more from a general overview of what they can do themselves (or have a professional do for them) to improve their yard. Below, I’ll give you a brief overview of some of the landscaping features that you can add to your home. Some homeowners may not want to install all the features discussed in this article, but many will.

There is one fundamental question we need to answer before we start. Should a home and its landscaping complement each other? This is not about practical considerations, like planting shade trees south of your house to reduce energy bills. I’m not talking about practical concerns. Should the appearance of your home influence landscaping decisions, such as choosing plants and arranging them in a certain way, or deciding whether to build a wood deck or a brick patio?

Some homeowners prefer to color coordinate the house and landscaping. It’s easy to do, but what is the best way to harmonize your house and yard? Can you, for example, landscape your yard in the cottage garden style if the house style does not fit the “cottage” category? You can, but you’ll have to decide how much harmony you want because everyone has different tastes. It’s a fact that certain types of hardscape features look better on some homes than others. A rustic-styled deck, for instance, will look better attached to a cabin log than an ultra-modern contemporary.

What is ultra-modern contemporary?
The ultra-modern contemporary style is a minimalistic design or architectural style. It is characterized by clean lines, geometric shapes and neutral colors. Frank Lloyd Wright, an architect from the United States is one of most well-known builders of ultramodern contemporary design.

Harmony can be achieved intuitively. If you want to complement your home with landscaping, then you need to go to the next step: landscape design. This is an art form that also takes into account practical considerations.

Landscape Features Types
Here are some examples of landscaping elements. Do not feel obliged to use all of them in your landscaping. Some landscapes are beautiful, but they leave out more than half of the items on this list. This is a small sampling.

Planting beds, such as flower borders
Lawns
Shrubs
Flowering trees
Plantings for foundations
Driveways
Walkways
Fences
Fountains
Water gardens
Before you Start Landscaping
Now you have a better idea about the extent of landscaping. What else should you consider before making any drastic changes to your yard or garden?

You should ask yourself the following question: Will I stay on this property for a long time or will I list it on a real estate website at some point in the future?

The answer to this question will help you clarify your priorities, and establish a general idea for your home landscape projects. You need to only consider your tastes if you plan on living in the home for the rest of your life. If your property will be listed for sale, you should think about “curb appeal”. You are landscaping to meet the tastes of other people, namely potential buyers.

Landscape Design Software: The Best Software for Landscape Design
Avoid Costly Landscaping Errors
Some of the best decisions you can make in home landscaping are based on what not to do. Some do-it yourselfers, who love the idea of a new start, decide to begin their home landscaping project by removing an old tree. However, the American Nursery & Landscape Association points out that this is a bad idea:

In one study, 83 per cent of Realtors believed that mature trees had a “strong or moderate effect” on the saleability of homes under $150,000. On homes over $250,000 this perception increased to 98 per cent (Source: American Forests, Arbor National Mortgage ‘).”

Let’s examine some ways to acquire information on how home landscaping can increase the value of your property.

A spiffy home landscaping design increases real estate value. How much is it? The average number that has been found by various studies is between 7 and 15 percent. Even though 15 percent is a high number, let’s use it as an example. To put that increase in perspective, a home landscaping design with a value of $200,000 to $225,000 (before taking into account its landscaping) could add up to $30,000 on the real estate.

How often can you make a decision worth $30,000? Such decisions should not be made on a whim. You’d like to be guided by hard facts when making a decision of $30,000 about an investment in stocks, wouldn’t you? You’d at least like to get some expert opinion. In the case of landscaping, you should consult the same types of experts.

What could they be? How can you determine what types of home landscaping are the most popular in the real estate market today? The resources available for home landscaping ideas are plentiful, so your biggest challenge is not finding them, but sorting through and prioritizing. You’ll want to make sure that your home landscaping has as many options as possible to create beautiful winter scenes and fall colors. This is because these are timeless trends.

How to Find Good Landscape Ideas
Here are a few ideas for home landscaping:

Observe how other people design their landscaping. If possible, ask them about the reasoning behind their choices of home landscaping materials and their intentions.
There are many sources of information about the “hottest” home landscaping designs. Magazines, books and television all have a wealth of information.
Consult a landscape designer.
You can get some great ideas at your local nursery if you do not want to hire a landscape designer.
Real estate agents are constantly observing the reactions of home buyers to landscaping. They can provide advice on current trends.
You should remember that buyers may not have the same tastes as you. This is why it’s important to do all of this research. You may enjoy spending time outside and not be concerned with winter colors. The trend for homebuyers is to look for:

Low maintenance landscapes. If you have a choice of a smaller or larger tree, go for the smaller one. It will require less pruning.
Artificial waterfalls, ponds and fountains. Landscape designs with the most impact have a focal or accent point. Water features can be a focal point to set your property apart.
Year-round visual interest. Winter bleakness can be alleviated by evergreens, berry-producing plants and shrubs.
Landscaping that is beautiful all year round
It is important to expand on the trend of homebuyers seeking interest all year round. Visual interest is not limited to color. You can, for example, create winter scenes by using hardscape elements like stone walls, gazebos and arbors. Include tall ornamental bushes or other graceful elements to soften such hardscape elements. Tall grasses are beautiful in winter, even if you don’t have hardscape elements.

Don’t assume that because you are reading this article on a humid and hot day, it is inappropriate to talk about “winter scenes”. It’s not the time to start working on your landscaping so that it can create winter scenes when the weather is cold and there are two feet of snow on the ground. Your spring and summer landscaping will have a big impact on how your landscape looks in the winter. It’s hard to grow ornamental grasses during the winter. You should also do a lot of hardscape design in good weather.

Don’t forget to add color and life to your spring and autumn landscapes as well.

You don’t need to wait until spring for color if you plant bulbs now.
If you cut back the perennials after they have bloomed, some will bloom again later in summer or early in fall.
The Top 10 Shrubs & Vines for Fall Colour lists the top 10 shrubs & vines that are resplendent with fall color.
Do not miss out on 2-for-1 offers. Euonymus alatus or “burning bush”, is a versatile plant that can be used for both fall and winter scenes. It is prized for its fall foliage. Its bark is what makes it a good choice for winter scenes. Euonymus alatus stems have a corky membrane protruding that gives them a strangely squarish form. This shape is perfect for creating beautiful winter scenes. Burning bushes can be invasive, so you should keep them under control.


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