Landscape design is an art dealing with arrangement of outdoor space – by Kim Conway

A well-designed landscape is a pleasure to the owner, enhances a community, adds to the property’s resale value and limits environmental impact. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement and organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment. Some of its major goals include:

• Organizing and developing the site for maximum use and pleasure.

•Creating a visual relationship between the house and the site.

•Reducing landscape maintenance to a practical level.

•Assists in conserving energy

•Reduces environmental inputs such as water, fertilizers and pesticides.

Americansspendtremendous amounts of money “landscaping” their businesses, homes, streets, parks, schools, etc. Much of this money is wasted, however, because of little or no planning. People cannot understand how to landscape until they know why they landscape. There are several reasons why people “landscape:” some think it improves the appearance of their place; others like to grow plants; still others just want their place to look pretty. Too often these landscapes dominate rather than serve. Masses of plants or other materials in the landscape may take up a large portion of the space and leave little room for people.

Not all landscaping improves the appearance of a building. The work of an insensitive designer can subdue a building, conceal important features or contradict thearchitect’s intent. Good landscape design can significantly improve the building’s appearance by adding warmth, livability and personality. It can also relate a building to its site and environment and give it the desired degree of dominance.

Growth and change separate landscape design from other forms of art. Most works of art such as architecture, sculpture and painting look their best when new. Landscape designs, however, are at their worst when new and improve with age.

Whether you are landscaping a newly-built home or redesigning an existing landscape, the results will be much more satisfying if you plan first.

Planning, design and installation will be critically important to the long-term maintenance of the landscape. This includes its impact on the environment. Mistakes or poor judgments at this stage of the process can result in excessive water use, potential contamination from fertilizers and pesticides, increased energy consumption, etc. Not only will these decisions impact the environment, they can significantly increase utility bills and other costs associated with maintaining the landscape.

Kim Conway is horticulturist at the Agri-Life Extension Service.

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Landscape design is an art dealing with arrangement of outdoor space - by Kim ConwayConcept Landscape & Urban

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