I have recently been working on planning the new design of my front yard. Having previously been a horticulture specialist (in a past life), I knew where to start my research, but maybe others don’t. Here are my tips to designing a yard that not only compliments your home, but is also functional for your needs.
- Know your climate. You have to really know the climate you live in: average temperatures during the day and at night, what seasons (if any) does the area experience, how much rainfall does the area receive throughout the year, and does the climate include extreme temperatures (hot or cold, or both). You’ll want to find plants that tolerate the conditions in your specific climate.
- Watering. Is there, or will there be, a sprinkler system? Are you willing to go outside and water the yard (plants) every day? If the answer is no to these questions, and there isn’t an abundance of rain year-round, you’ll likely want to go with drought-tolerant plants. You’ll also want to look at each type of plant you choose to make sure the watering requirements are similar so you don’t over-or accidently under-water any of them.
- Sunlight exposure. You’ll need to look at the specific sunlight conditions in the area you are looking to plant in. You’ll need to be aware of how much sunlight each area receives during the day and in what areas of the yard. Be sure to look at the specifications for the plants you are considering to ensure they will receive the appropriate amount of sunlight in that particular area of your yard.
- Maintenance. You’ll need to decide how much time and money you want to throw at the maintenance of your yard. Some plants require more maintenance than others, so the time spent will vary by the type of plants you use in your landscape. Also, will you (or someone in your home) be doing the maintenance, or are you going to hire someone to do it for you? How much are you willing to spend?
- Color. The fun, but for me, the hard part of the process. What color do I want in my yard? What compliments the color of my home? What color schemes look the best for my yard, and where do I want to put the colors? These are all questions that should be asked.
Other things to think about:
Fillers – i.e. small plants, grass, artificial turf, wood chips, etc.
Fertilizer – what type you should use
Sprinkler system – if you’re going to put one in, you’ll need to decide what type to purchase, who is going to install it, and where the controls for it will go
Trellis – if you choose to add vines to your landscape, you’ll likely want to include a trellis, so you’ll need to know what type, size, and color will look and work best