We’ve discussed landscape planning in terms of function. Now, turning to aesthetics, you first have some decisions to make regarding hardscaping, existing trees, and what you’ll have as a view when you gaze out the window. If you were giving a room a total makeover, you wouldn’t start by hanging pictures and arranging knickknacks. Getting the hardscaping part of the project right will make implementing the softscape refinements relatively easy.

Decks and patios are also two of the more common and rewarding hardscaping features. Other hardscaping features include:

  • Fences and walls
  • Stone or brick walkways
  • Gazebos and arbors
  • Statuary, water gardens and fountains

Landscape Planning: Unity, Vistas, Privacy Fences

  • Your landscape should be in harmony with your home, to ensure unity in the overall appearance of the property. One consideration influencing unity is proportion. Large trees are in proportion with large homes, but are out of proportion with smaller homes.
  • Accentuate desirable views. You probably won’t want your home to be entirely encased in trees that will obstruct your view. Don’t cut down all the trees, though. Determine what your finest vistas are, clear the trees in just those areas, and use the remaining trees to frame those nice views.
  • By contrast, you’ll want to block out undesirable views. A suburban home with close neighbors is an ideal candidate for some sort of privacy fence. Privacy can be achieved via either inanimate fencing (i.e., hardscaping) or “living” fences.

If you prefer hardscaping to screen out prying eyes, some of the options for privacy fences include the following hardscaping features:

  • Wooden fences
  • Vinyl fences
  • Masonry walls

Landscape Planning: Integration of Hardscaping and Softscape

Water gardens, particularly those with fountains or statuary, can supply your landscape design with a focal point. Because such a water feature is, by itself, so impressive, the softscape needed to make it a true “garden” is rather minimal. A few container-held aquatic plants would be sufficient to supplement your hardscaping. But certainly more elaborate softscape treatments are possible as well.

Similarly, in installing gazebos, arbors, decks and patios you are laying the groundwork to display your softscape elements in a more favorable light than would be possible without hardscaping. A vine on a well-located arbor becomes more than just a vine: it becomes a living, growing archway.

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