Do-It-Yourself Designer Landscapes Do-It-Yourself Designer Landscapes

Not every gardener can afford a landscape architect - and not every gardener needs one! Today's enterprising homeowners can design and install their own landscape with true designer appeal. A successful landscape blends the gardener’s sense of style and beauty with local surroundings and conditions. The subsequent article demonstrates features of designer or upscale landscapes and offers suggestions toward installation of attractive garden elements.

A synonym for "designer" might be "formal" when it comes to the landscape plan. "Designer" also seems to say that man is doing the designing here, not nature. A well-designed landscape does not leave the designing to nature without risking a wild element upsetting the picture. Therefore, the first question to ask yourself when it comes to installing a designer landscape is how much time you are prepared to commit towards your garden and landscape's maintenance. The next step is to draw up your plan while considering your space - be sure to note sloped, wet or forested areas as you may want to adapt features to suit the special conditions or microclimates of these areas.

As for specific features of a designer landscape, one cannot help imagining carefully pruned and shaped hedgerows when thinking of a formal garden. Squared-shaped hedges and raised geometric patterns across the lawn are spectacular features that reflect a designer look. Consider installing a series of these hedges in rows of squares that feature a dwarf tree raised above their center. The shrub acts as a natural container. Also, this type of design lends itself to the concept of a garden maze or labyrinth. Shrubs may also be carved in circular patterns and tall hedges might even be tiered to match the look of a wedding cake for instance. Using geometrical shapes or designing over a grid has been long practiced by classic landscape architects.

Going on the square and rectangle note, flowerbeds may also be designed along these lines. Your hedgerows could beautifully divide a series of rectangular flowerbeds sporting tulips if you opt for a simple design that is always formal and elegant. Consider plantings for your flowerbeds carefully. Consider sticking to a single color theme for a dramatic effect. Splashes of all-red sections are a marked contrast with your rows of green hedges; white also adds purity and serenity to any garden. You can add some height to your garden by incorporating alternating raised flowerbeds; this will relieve a flat landscape and add another visually interesting element to your landscape.

Adding hanging vines and climbers is also a possibility for a designer landscape, but these must be carefully maintained and placed in check before becoming unruly and wild. A great focal point for your landscape might be a series of arbors that function as a tunnel from the front to the back of your garden. Training climbing white roses or trailing jasmine to cover these supports makes for a stunning feature. Consider installing a small patio beneath your tunnel of roses with a small set of wrought iron table and chairs for an old-world bit of charm.

Your designer landscape will also be in need of a path through it for guest to stroll and admire the many features of your garden. Cobblestone makes for an elegant walk, but more modern gardens may opt for a pavement of large geometrically cut stones. Add steps and decorative borders for your walk. Also, map it out so it looks out over the best vistas and garden scenes. If possible, ornament your path with stone planters or other relevant ornaments such as lighting features for example.

Water is a major component of most designer gardens and often is the true focal point of any landscape. A large-scale garden pond is a dramatic feature. Consider a rectangular pond rimmed with decorative stone. Installing a fountain in the center will keep your pond water from becoming stagnant and add to the health of the water. Fountains come in every style today so you will have many to choose from. Opt for something in keeping with the architecture of your home. A large classical goddess holding a jug of water might seem out of place for a minimalist ultra-modern house.

Other designer water features might include a basin somewhere on the property for a surprise water feature. A wall fountain for the patio area is the perfect accompaniment for evening entertainment. Waterfalls may be installed to suit any style garden and may be constructed in miniature or on a grand scale. Waterfalls that cascade into pools or into a running stream will add natural beauty to your design. No matter what water feature you choose, be sure to maintain it for optimum health and beauty.

Finally, consider additional garden features carefully. Choose the highest-grade construction materials as you can reasonably afford. Aim for harmony and simplicity when it comes to the entire layout as well as the small details. Space your hanging baskets so that an equal distance lies between them. Consider an attractive garden wall or garden gate apparatus as an additional feature. Streamline your features for the greatest impact. Install your containers in uniform intervals. If you choose to incorporate special features such as statues and sundials, take care to landscape around them or give them an attractive backdrop.

Landscaping with a designer’s eye is all about care for the grand features as well as the small ones. Use features to highlight the best views rather than forcing them into situations where they must compete. For example, a gazebo placed too close to a pergola does nothing for either feature. Take care to space your features so each may be enjoyed in their own right.

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