Specialized information on Hardscape Landscape Waterscape Ecoscape

Wednesday
Sep102008

Jacksonville Hardscape Planning

The term Hardscapes is a relatively new term that is becoming increasingly popular around the home.  Hardscaping by definition is the practice of landscaping and designing and installing non-living aesthetic and functional features outside your home or living area.  Most often included in hardscaping is; patios, decks, walkways, pergolas, and things of that nature. Its no secret that Landscape plantings can increase a property's value year after year, but often its the complete outdoor living package that increases value and appeal.

When planning your Jacksonville Backyard it's important to balance the hard costs--such as hot tubs, arbors, furniture and retaining structures--with a good choice of local plant materials, trees and shrubs that will complement and reinforce the design.

Several tips to achieve natural and attractive outdoor oasis:

(1) Avoid unnatural plant groupings.

The most common design error in home landscape is to automatically place all the improvements around the edges. For example, shrubbery tightly hugging the house walls or flower beds planted in straight rows around the property line can appear unnatural.  Many houses become swamped by shrubs and trees that were installed too closely and grew too large.

(2) Get oriented.

Position the deck or patio for view, privacy and comfort. You want to step onto a deck or patio that is at the same level as the house. If there is a grade change, the deck's descent shouldn't begin at the house wall. If it is on the south or west side of the house, you'll need to provide shade with either plants, structures or both.

Be sure to provide clear access to the side or rear property, and place screening or barriers only where needed. The landscape elements should look their best from the home's windows and outdoor use areas, not necessarily just from the neighbors' perspective.

(3) Hide unsightly elements.

Houses in subdivisions are rarely oriented for optimum landscape use, but tend to be laid out at the center of the most economical lots. This can result in mostly unusable side yard areas. However, this gives you a place to put the unsightly elements--trash containers, HVAC units, pool equipment and the like.

(4) Use the right ground cover.

Use mulch, rocks, or evergreen or flowering ground cover. They will improve with time and tie the landscape together.

Lawns are the most labor-and cost-intensive part of any landscape. Use turf as an area rug, not as wall-to-wall carpeting.

Remember, designing a residential landscape is like furnishing a family or living room. The largest elements are purchased and arranged first, while the less essential follow naturally.