YOUR NATURAL HABITAT
Modern Living has confined many of us to urban surroundings. We all have a longing for a natural habitat where we can enjoy outdoor living during spring, summer, and autumn. We like our gardens to be a place where we enjoy many memorable hours with our families, relax and feel a connection with nature.
We are passionate garden lovers and can help you to create your natural living space, from transforming your small town garden into a green living oasis to developing your large garden plot into a manageable, attractive and tranquil place.
The first step to your dream garden is to assess your to developing outdoor space, draw a plan incorporating your dwelling space to create a harmonious living environment which suits your requirements and resources.
The natural world of plants provides us with individual qualities making our efforts in the garden more successful.
Three considerations are important when deciding on a garden layout :
the existing structures, the hard, non-living part are as important as the plant life, this will give our garden the structure
use the four type of plants: trees, shrubs, perennial plants and flowers, and annuals. The garden will have a natural shelter belt, will look better, provides beauty and colour also in the winter time and is easier to maintain.
always chose plants that suit your site, soil condition, and space available
Next Step In Design Approach
Factors in designing your garden include objective qualities; such as the climate and microclimates; topography and orientation, site drainage and groundwater recharge; municipal and resource building codes, soils and irrigation, human and vehicular access and circulation, recreational amenities (i.e.: sports and water), furnishings and lighting, native plant habitat botany which may be present in your garden, property safety and security, construction detailing, and other measurable considerations. Factors in designing also include subjective qualities such as: genius loci (the special site qualities to emphasise); your personal needs and preferences; desirable plants and elements to retain on site, modify, or replace, and available to use as borrowed scenery from beyond; artistic composition from perspectives of both looking upon and being in the *gardens; spatial development and definition; plant palettes in designed layouts, and artistic focal points for enjoyment. There are innumerable other design factors and considerations brought to the complex process of designing a garden that is beautiful, well functioning, and thrives over time. The up-and-coming practice of online landscape design allows professional landscapers to remotely design and plan sites through manipulation of two-dimensional images without ever physically visiting the location. Due to the frequent lack of non-visual, supplementary data such as soil assessments and pH tests, online landscaping necessarily must focus on incorporating only plants which are tolerant across many diverse soil conditions.
Before Buying Plants, Understand Your Site
The first trip to your local garden center or nursery in spring can be exhilarating. After six months of winter, gardeners may allow their emotions and excitement rather than their site conditions to determine their plant choices. It’s important to select plants that don’t just grow in your landscape but thrive. Healthy, long-lived plants can be a good investment in your landscape as well as a well-landscaped yard adds value to your home.
Take time before visiting your local garden center or nursery to gain a good understanding of your soil, the quantity, and quality of light in your landscape, and your space available for planting. Armed with this information, you will make better plant choices, and better choices will save time and money, and improve your chances for a healthy, beautiful landscape.
Understand your soil. Healthy soil is like building a good foundation for your house, and understanding your soil type is the first step to a healthy landscape.
As a starting point, you should know whether your garden soil is clayey or sandy by doing the soil ribbon test. Clay soil does not drain well while sandy soil drains too quickly. Mixing in compost can help in both of these situations. Amending soils for perennial beds.
Observe the quality and quantity of light in your landscape.
Plants are usually labeled with their optimal light requirements for best plant performance. “Full sun” means the plant requires six hours or more of complete sunlight. “Part sun” is 3-6 hours of complete sunlight. “Shade” means three hours or less of the sun. “Heavy shade” means almost no sun. Remember that nearby trees cast shade as well as buildings, overhangs, and fences. Quality of light is also important to understand. Six hours of morning sun is going to be less intense light and heat than six hours of afternoon sun. Some plants like Ligularia and Hydrangea macrophylla will wilt in the intense heat, so locating them in a site that receives less intense morning sun may reduce wilting.
Know how much space you have available. The goal is to choose plants that will easily fit into landscape spaces when they reach their mature size and form. We can advise you in your choice, we will show you how we incorporate windows, steps, driveway, walks, patios, decks, easements, and utilities on your garden design drawing. You may choose to draw a base map. A base map is drawn to scale and represents your entire property on paper. It shows existing plants, this will give us an impression of your garden design ideas.
Planting Themes & the Components of Design.
As mentioned, there are may ways to lay out a landscape design. Some people like traditional approaches and others prefer to take their own road. To help, here are a few methods of design that may give you some inspiration. You might even choose parts of each approach below and create something entirely new and different.
Mix plant heights and the depths of planted beds: A standard approach to arranging plants is to put the tallest at the rear, then stair-step forward to the smallest. This approach can work very well but it gets mundane. In some places, play with the idea of putting a few taller plants toward the front, or running a row or two of ornamental grasses through a bed in an undulating line. These plants act as natural partitions that offer glimpses between plant groups, yet not revealing everything at once. Small clusters of taller plants can be effective as accents in spots where the light will highlight their colours or other features too. Another trick here, you can change the height of the planted bed itself by adding small berms in some places. Once you have decided on the character of the individual groups, then start to group the groups so they fit together as a unified whole.
Select a dominant color, tone or theme: This doesn’t mean you must stick with a single colour or type of plant. Use plant colour and textures in the way many artists use them. The overall design should have a dominant colour throughout its different parts to unify the plan as a whole. The other colours play a smaller role but add detail and variation.
Play with secondary/transitional colours and textures: This means use the greens, grays, and blues of foliage to soften the “visual jump” from one main planting to another. For example, even though two shrubs have yellow flowers, one might be faded while the other is intense and more dramatic. The foliage colour helps to neutralise any conflict between the two hues and shades of yellow. (It can also be very visually pleasing to have the two right next to each other, it just depends on the plants involved). Another approach to using transitional colours is to put lighter coloured plants farther away. For changes in textures, add ornamental grasses, flowerless shrubs and ground covers between the larger shrub groups. This technique sets up natural dividers and helps to avoid potential clashes between different shades and hues that don’t quite fit together. One more benefit, the grasses, ground covers, and less showy shrubs provide an effective border or background around plants with fine leaves, small flowers or seed heads that are supposed to be appreciated up close.
Or, consider being simple…yet elegant: While plant diversity can be exciting, it doesn’t take hundreds of different plants to make a beautiful garden. Some of the best designs use just a few carefully placed ornamental trees and shrubs, separated by neutral ground covers, evergreens, and less showy ornamental grasses. These groups are set up in measured intervals that establish a natural rhythm. Arrange smaller flower beds the same way. Showy flowers like roses become the focal point in the same way that the ornamental tree or shrub does in the larger design, with smaller plants like vinca, daises and low-growing ornamental grasses filling in the gaps. In this type of plan a single, simple design establishes the mood for the whole garden.
Create Understory Screens; This approach works on the area between the bottom of the tree canopy and the ground level. Sometimes these plantings are done to “screen out” unwanted views, and sometimes just to add plant diversity. Try placing smaller, flowering trees and shrubs beneath the larger canopy trees. This layout makes a very effective understory screen.. Be sure to choose a mass of different species to allow for flower and leaf changes throughout the growing season and to give you a change of scenery without ever leaving your site. Depending on the varieties you choose, the understory screen can also serve as an effective windbreak or just add to your privacy.
Natural Patterns: Nature has its own way of designing a landscape, and provides numerous patterns for us to emulate. People who want to create the natural look, just need to visit places where this exists. It is a good idea to take pictures to help you remember a certain “composition” if you really like it. Or, just jot down a few notes about what plants are there, how they relate to each other and the type of area they are in (sunny, dry, cool, moist, north or south facing, and so on). It’s also a good idea to think about the sizes of the plants involved. If you don’t have the space for, say, a larger pine then choose a variety that fits your site with the same characteristics. Another place to get ideas quickly, just take a look around the neighborhood for arrangements that work well.
Spillers Lane, Clonakilty Co Cork, designed by Joe Evans & Tomas Tuipear.
Plants are great but they aren’t the only element in a good design. Built structures form their own layer in a plan. Sometimes the site provides the obvious place for a gazebo or deck but often it doesn’t. How do you decide what goes where? With decks, it is easy, as most people want them connected to a building. However, they do not always have to be attached to another structure. Simple or even complicated decks and gazebos can be freestanding, located away from buildings and surrounded by plants. Consider placing them in or near a grove, beneath the canopy of mature trees. Decks can also provide a comfortable platform for enjoying significant views, and a gazebo can be a great spot to listen to the sounds of a nearby stream away from a busy house or play area. The steps to start placing buildings are similar to deciding on where the plants go. Simply select the spot for larger buildings or decks first. They can even be part of the same layer that includes the large trees and shrubs. Gazebo styles vary and they can be custom built. The fun part in designing a deck is that it can be made truly site-specific, and unlike anyone else’s. Decks just don’t have to be squares or rectangles, or even just one layer.