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Home Landscape Tips

Home Landscape Tips



Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes

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DESIGNING THE PUBLIC, SERVICE, AND LIVING AREAS

Each successful landscape contains three basic landscape areas. Define these areas carefully to prevent them from becoming overrun and confusing. Public areas are those that show the house to view. Traditional public designs accent the home, but in some situations, the public design serves as a screen or barrier. Service areas are utility areas that harbor and facilitate functional living. Living areas are extensions of the indoor living area. Their function complements and continues the interior and exterior design of the house.

THE PUBLIC AREA Landscaping the public area is important because it is the most visible. It does not always lend itself to family activities but serves to frame the home and emphasize the focal point. Blend the house with the surroundings to give a natural look. The strong horizontal lines of the ground are combined with the vertical lines of the structure. This transition, if successfully done, helps develop a strong visual sense of blending the landscape and home.

The design of the public area maintains open vistas to the home, soften the architectural lines of pavement and other structures and frames the building with plants.

A house is usually the most expensive purchase one ever makes. The doorway of the house usually serves as the focal point; landscape plants should draw the eye to that focal point. The best designs are simple, easily maintained, landscapes without frills and distractions. Trees in the public landscape should not bisect the house. Balance and proportion are important when selecting all plant materials. Select and use plants skillfully to enhance the formal or informal architecture of the home.

THE SERVICE AREA Service areas contain the unmentionables so acknowledge the need for this area and design it accordingly. Clothes lines, garbage cans, firewood, compost piles, vegetable gardens, fruit trees, and utilities are all part of the service area. Add storage for lawnmowers, snow blowers, garden tools, fertilizers, outdoor furniture, recreational vehicles and equipment and the service area expands even further.

Service areas need screening from public views and need to be convenient. Avoid the temptation to make them too large! Possessions usually expand to fill the available space.

Some service functions can be located in other areas if they are skillfully designed. Include vegetables in attractive flower and border plantings. Fruit trees can double as landscape ornamentals if the design is done carefully. Play equipment may go into either area but play areas for small children should be easily viewed from the house.

THE LIVING AREA The living area of the landscape is an extension of the living area of the home. Make it a personal design that reflects the habits, needs, and desires of the family. Define living areas more closely than the other landscape areas by creating and emphasizing the walls, ceilings, floors, and windows of the outdoor room you design. Plan for and utilize focal points carefully. Focal points may include selected trees or shrubs, garden structures, a piece of statuary, a fountain or a picturesque view. The focal points are the windows of the outdoor room.

The floor of the outdoor room is generally turf although ground covers are becoming more popular. Paving surfaces of many kinds including those used in patios and decks and ground covers are part of these floors. The walls are any structures and plant materials that form the borders of the living area. The first walls are usually fences but as landscapes grow and mature fences are enhanced and supplemented by plants. Plant walls become higher and more natural and create beautiful, appealing living areas.

The ceiling of the outdoor room is mostly sky but the sky is softened, blended and supplemented by the overhead canopy of patio covers and tree branches. The windows are the views that we frame and enhance. Plant materials also serve as curtains for areas that are best screened from view.

Consider the needs and desires of the entire family before designing the living area. Include recreational equipment, outdoor relaxation and cooking areas and specialty gardens such as water features or rock gardens.

Living areas are dynamic as the ages and interests of families change the gardens can also change. Play equipment and sand boxes are often replaced with decks and flower beds as family interest change.

Save Yourself Time, Work and Money by Designing it Right the First Time

Matt Palmer, Tooele County Extension Agent and Larry Sagers, Regional Horticultural Specialist for Utah State University Extension Services are teaching Home Landscape Design this fall and winter. This eight week class will cover designing your home landscape, drawing your landscape plan and what plants will grow well in Tooele County gardens

When: Classes begin Oct 4 and are held on selected Wednesdays for eight weeks. Meet at the Tooele County Extension Service Auditorium at 151 North Main in Tooele. The Advanced Landscape Design Class is open to those who complete the basic course.

Course Content: The course includes a garden field trip, landscape booklet and CD to help you with your plant selections. Other optional USU publications are available at the class.

Registration: Please preregister for the course so we can have materials available for you. Call the Tooele County Extension Service office at 435-843-2350.

I will also be teaching several series of Home Landscape Design and related classes through Utah State University at Thanksgiving Point. Please call 801-768-4971 or toll-free 1-888-672-6040 ext. 4971 to register. The first series of classes starts on September 12, 2002.

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