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The science of landscaping involves understanding the land itself and the art comes from combining beauty and practicality. If the soil is acidic there is no point in planting flora that only thrives in an alkaline soil. Likewise there is no point in building a sundial in a place that is constantly in shade.
Using a spade will quickly show you whether the soil is mainly clay or sandy. The former means that the soil retains water whereas the latter means that it won’t. That is another factor in choosing what to plant. Then you need to know where any pipes or cables run underground so that you do not accidentally build or plant over them. This is true whether your project is to improve the front of the property or its’ backyard.
When deciding on what to plant you should remember balance, not proportion. A well balanced distribution of plants produces a centerpiece as the garden ought not be symmetrical. For instance, a big tree to the left of the garden can be stabilized by two smaller sized trees to the right. This creates a far more pleasing result whereas a symmetrical look appears totally unnatural.
Likewise do not fill the garden with plants that blossom all at the same time. A mixture of evergreens, early and late bloomers, shrubs and vines will project different colours and scents all year round. You may decide to have a section as a herb garden and fill that with various mints, thyme, parsley etc most of which have their own distinctive aromas thereby stimulating the sense of smell as well as the eye.
If building a patio or putting in decking, consider a trellis so that you can have a honeysuckle or roses growing overhead. The possibilities are endless but need to be thought out before any work is started. What is done in one area will have an effect on all of the others. This is why it is essential that you start with a plan and a budget.
Draw out the area you intend to work on and get ideas as to what you can do. Will you have a water feature or a rock garden. Will there be a path and if so will it be stone, brick or gravel. Do you want outside lighting or any special requirement such as a tap at the end of the garden.
As you can see there is a lot to consider even before you start. But your landscaping project is a wonderful investment as it will not only increase the value of the property but it will be a statement of your taste and achievements. Every time you look over it the sense of peace and pride will make you very happy.
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