Here are some backyard landscaping tips – Red Deer Advocate

A well-tended garden offers additional living space, enhances the property and enhances the house.

A well-landscaped garden consists of both hard and soft landscaping materials. The hard part of the landscape are parts that, if done well, are seldom moved. It includes preparing the site with drainage and good soil and moving on to the more visible elements such as: fences, paths, patios, driveways and retaining walls. All parts of the hard landscape should correspond to the style of the house and complement the buildings and plants and not overwhelm them.

The soft part of the landscape, plants, can be changed as even the largest tree can be removed. The choice of plants and their placement have a major impact on the overall appearance of the courtyard and buildings. Place a tall tree next to a single story house and the house will appear shorter. Move the same tree further away and the height of the house will appear to increase.

Like the tough landscaping, the soft design and plant material should complement the house style. An example of this is a wild cottage garden that would suit a small older home, but would look out of place in front of a square modern building.

Landscapes have focal points that should grab the person’s attention when they enter this part of the garden. After seeing and admiring the focal point, you then take in the rest of the area. Plants, statues, bird baths, or a structure are often used as focal points. As the garden changes with the season, the center of gravity can also change. Evergreens are noticeable in the winter months, but become the backdrop for colorful flowers in summer.

Ornamentation falls between the definition of hard and soft landscaping as it has a hard surface but is easily interchangeable.

As with hard and soft landscaping, ornamentation should be chosen wisely. A large ornament like a statue or a bird bath can be the focal point of a garden. It could also be hidden around a corner and pleasantly surprise visitors.

Plant pots and trellises are part of the garden, but are rarely the focus. Choose ones that either blend into the background or complement the plants. Plants are the stars of the garden and should be seen first, with supports and pots being only part of the picture.

Placing anything in the garden – hardscape, plants, or ornaments – must have a purpose. Things without a purpose seem out of place and make the landscape look cluttered.

Items can have one or more purposes. Paths lead the eye as well as a light tread. Plants are used to add value to the home, frame views, and block unsightly objects. Pots and trellises hold plants.

The amount of ornaments available for gardens is overwhelming. Choose carefully, because the decorations should add the finishing touches and reinforce what is already there. Too many ornaments in too many places distract the gaze from the overall landscape, so that people concentrate on the ornaments and not on the entire garden.

Linda Tomlinson has worked in central Alberta for over 30 years. She can be reached at your_garden@hotmail.com.

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