Landscape Design For Difficult Spaces

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Many clients find themselves in a difficult position trying to integrate a remodeled home with new elevations, entrances and windows that no longer have a good relationship with the existing landscape design. A new home on a cleared lot that has no landscape design can be even more overwhelming with endless possibilities and viewpoints from which to consider a new garden, pool, arbors, pathways and landscaping. A good landscape designer can bring fresh eyes and new possibilities to difficult spaces.

Define the Landscape Program

As a home owner it�s important to break through the frustration of your existing landscape design and just decide what you want. Your program is an outline or list of desired wants/needs and functions for the site. For example, �I want a beautiful pool with some kind of water feature, grill area and spot for entertainment� or �I want my landscape design to reflect the beauty of the Tuscan Valley.� Visualize and use all of your senses in how you will enjoy your new landscape garden entertaining or relaxing with family and friends.

Landscape Concept

Once we meet on site with the client and get their landscape program, challenges of the site and the relationship of the architecture to the site a basic working skeleton or backbone begins to emerge. These might be simple indications of desired locations for the pool, areas to screen and pedestrian flow patterns. As good landscape designers intuitive, imaginative, analytical abilities and experience of space all come together, a design intent and concept crystallizes.

Turning Landscape Liabilities into Assets

The goal is to create spaces that relate to the home and elements that also have a relationship with the yard and surrounding area. First, look at the large factors that will literally determine whether or not you can have all the items on your wish list or not. �We really need to screen the neighbor�s windows, or we will have to conceal the generator or pool equipment.� In looking at assets and liabilities we are first testing the big picture the viability/capacity of the site.

Refining Spaces and Transitions

Once the larger assets and liabilities are resolved you can move on to the details. Now is the time to address the smaller spaces such as transitions between the home were maybe the foundation is unsightly and needs to be hidden. This is were you put attention on how to hide 18� of concrete foundation or moving a 3 foot path away from the foundation to accommodate for greater landscape layering. The landscape design is a hierarchy of problem/solution/problem/solution down to each detail and back out in relation to the whole. The overall objective of any great landscape design is a space that breathes with the home and has a relationship to its surroundings-reflecting the client's visual desires and functionally working together in every aspect.

Additional tricks of the trade are listed here:

- Arbors and Pergolas- can be utilized to screen neighbor�s homes or to create a focal point in an area that needs a destination.

- Decks and Patios- Utilize to organize outdoor spaces. Be intentional and define space-a 10� x 10� is a standard for simple 4 person sitting area. Your �hierarchy� of patio space may be public entertainment, private seating area for coffee, reading, and pathways to connect to the home or side yard.

Pools- the present design trend for pools includes; sun shelf, swimming area, spa, functional and detailed elements such as benches, jets, and fountains. If the relationship of the home to the site has many odd angles, a curvilinear or arch in the pool design may resolve this beautifully. In a formal home scenario, you might relate the house to pool and patio and resolve the relationship of the property line with plantings.

- Screening Hedges - Large trees can be strategically placed to give privacy to fence edges or offer screening to neighbor�s houses. ) Long driveways and property line fences often need SCALE to them were hedges and colonnades could be used. Another opportunity in breaking up a long boring fence would is with the use of wire pattern work for vines. These don�t have to be typical rectangles they can be overlapping triangles, creative patterns that not only add scale but something of creative interest to look at as well.

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Jeff Halper is passionate for Landscape and wants to share infomation about that passion.

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