Residential landscaping is the practice of arranging plants, grass, soil, gravel, rock, boulders, water, and structures on the grounds around private homes. It is a highly creative process that involves a great deal of skill, education and experience. The goal is to create a well-designed and attractive landscape that complements the home and enhances its value.
A landscape is a living, dynamic environment that changes daily with sun and shade movement, as flowers bloom and fade, and as tree leaves expand and contract. To get the most out of a landscape it is important to understand how these factors influence the design. This is called conducting a site analysis and it is one of the key elements in the landscape design process.
As the site analysis is conducted it is also important to consider climatic and edaphic (soil-related) considerations. These factors affect what species are appropriate for the location and how much water, fertilizers and pesticides will be required to maintain them. They will also impact the soils ability to retain water and provide nutrients to the plants.
Another critical factor in the landscape design process is knowing how to work with what is already there. This can save time and money by avoiding costly mistakes that can be made when starting from scratch. An experienced landscaper will know how to maximize the potential of your existing garden space.
The next step in the process is to develop a plan or map that will guide the installation of the new features. This is a critical part of the process that many homeowners underestimate. It allows the homeowner to make informed decisions and to budget for the project. It is also a good way to keep track of what has been accomplished and provides a reference to help with maintenance after the project is completed.
A landscape plan is only useful if the plant materials are identified and labeled. This is called “keying”. It is an important step that can be done by the homeowner or by a professional landscape designer. It is a tedious task but is well worth the effort because it will allow future owners to easily identify the plants and to know what care they require.
Once a plan is in place the construction can begin. When installing the plants it is important to do them in the order that they are shown on the drawing. This will ensure that they are properly positioned and protected from the weather conditions. It will also reduce the amount of time and money that is spent on irrigation and to help avoid costly mistakes in installing the wrong plants.
In the end it is a home owner’s responsibility to maintain the landscape to maintain or increase the value of their property. A well-designed and maintained landscape can add 6 to 15 percent to the value of a house.