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Starting a landscaping project: what plants will you choose

Kobe magnolia

You’re thinking of starting a landscaping project, but you don’t know where to begin. Know why this is a key question? Because almost every time, when people are dissatisfied with the results of their landscaping, it’s because they did not give enough thought to the process as a whole.

I know, it may sound boring. The artist in many of us just wants to go out and get plants that we love without giving it anymore thought. And then we get stuck with plants that don’t fit the spots where we want them to be, that don’t do well where we put them, and a landscape that looks original although somewhat awkward.

So you need to hold our horses, and consider the following:

  • The space as a whole, in other words, the whole yard, including the house and possibly the houses and landscapes nearby.
  • Each individual space. In your complete landscaping, for instance, you may have the space before the front porch, the space under the living room windows, the spaces on either side of your side entrance, the space next to the driveway and so on.

When starting a landscaping project, you need to imagine a “modular landscape” based on what you need and want for each space. It is an easy and sensible way to undertake the job at hand. The sum of what will be included in each individual space will become the list of what you actually need to bring your whole landscaping plan to life. The result will be a well designed and structured landscaping.

In the course of the process, you may decide to:

  • Add or cut back on individual spaces, based on how much time or money you want to spend.
  • Work gradually on each space. You can spread the cost by adding plants over a few years.
  • Spread spaces over several years. Maybe work on the space before the front porch in the first year, then work on the driveway the following year and so on.

Why is it so important to consider individual spaces

Because each space has its specific needs. The space before the porch for example. Maybe you want trees or bushes that will become tall enough to hide the underside of the porch and to give you some privacy, but not so tall as to block the sun completely. And maybe you will also want flowers in front of those trees or bushes to bring color and light to the space. Many people like to have a two or three level design when working on a space: higher trees or bushes in the back, mid-size plants in the middle and optionally low-lying plants in the front. This is especially popular around the house’s main entrance. It seems to send a welcoming message to people coming inside the house.

And each space may have its own sun and water conditions. You may get a lot of sun and water before the front porch and much less next to your driveway, for example. This absolutely needs to be taken into consideration.

Why consider the plan as a whole

Because balance is also very important in landscaping. This doesn’t mean that you are forced to make everything equal and parallel, with each side being a mirror image of the other side. It merely means that you have to keep the whole picture in mind as you are developing each module.

Starting a landscaping plan begins in the mind, in the imagination

Begin by figuring out what kind of a decor you want for your property. Do you want it, for instance, to be very neat and classical, or more natural and free? Consider various options, look at different styles and pictures. Also consider various ideas.

Then, you may just be ready for the most important step of all: creating your actual landscaping plan. It is in this plan that you will add the “modules” that we talked about earlier. And the sum of your modules will make up your complete landscaping. At that point, you will really begin to get a good feeling of how things will actually look. Having gone through all these steps, you will almost be ensured that all your efforts will be crowned with success.

Now let’s go back to basics: you need to consider the big picture as you are starting to think about landscaping your yard.

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