Let your landscaping complement your life. The utilitarian purpose of any yard should be surpassed only by its beauty. Beautiful landscaping can turn an ordinary yard into a purposeful work of art that will attract lots of welcome attention from your visitors, neighbors and passersby.
A well thought-out and properly executed landscape design idea is not only an expression of your personality, but also is a show of respect for the land. At Shearer Patio & Landscape Services, our design experts will help you turn your landscaping dreams into a reality. Our experienced landscaping team can offer a variety of creative landscape design ideas to perfectly complement a purposeful beauty and respect for the unique features of your property.
Cultural and Environmental Landscape Design Ideas
Before you can even start getting your hands dirty, selecting an overall theme or style for your landscape is a must. Though the front and backyard serve different purposes, how they flow together and complement nature is just as important as how beautiful they look. There are particular landscape design styles out there that not only address the needs of nature and man, but also build on them. Here are just a couple examples of cultural or thematic design directions that you could go in.
Far East Landscape Design Ideas
Let feng shui and ideas of meditation and contemplation guide the direction of your East-Asian themed landscape. The definition of feng shui is a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy. Feng shui landscape ideas combine a starkly humble beauty, offering up minimalist features that accentuate the land and complement the natural surroundings.
Asian-themed landscapes have deep, rich colors, beautiful textures and utilize natural materials. Irregular stones, bamboo and Asian structures can add a quiet excellence that stands out. Perhaps an Asian-style gate with a pergola could welcome visitors by its conspicuous absence of a wall or fence.
One of the first things that stands out about an Asian-inspired landscape design is the variety of color in the trees. Expect a blossoming of color and beauty with such trees as:
- Blazing Japanese maples, which come in many varieties
- Redbud trees, the cherry blossom’s long-lost cousins
- Richly dark red plum trees
Choosing a cultural-themed garden also involves adhering to particular cultural norms from which the design originates. Some Asian-themed landscape considerations include the following:
- Straight pathways could invite bad spirits into the home.
- In many Asian countries white flowers and chrysanthemums are thought of as funeral flowers.
- Featuring a statue of Buddha’s head, rather than his entire body, is considered defacing a deity and is deemed disrespectful.
No matter what Asian-themed landscape idea you go with, the incorporation of native plants and cultural art and materials are absolutely necessary. This style of landscaping should invite a calming sense of quiet appreciation for a minimalist beauty. Let feng shui be your guide as you complement the spirit of your personality with the beauty of Asia.
Mediterranean Landscape Design Ideas
If you are looking for a water-wise landscape design idea that still adds a certain cultural flair to your landscaping, then a Mediterranean style is the way to go. Not only do Mediterranean gardens provide vibrant hues while using less water, they can also add fragrance and utility to your yard with herbs. Common Mediterranean garden plants include:
Add lavender to the mix for appealing scents as well as gorgeous purple colors. Fortunately, the sights and smells don’t end there. You don’t have to lose out on natural beauty and luxurious scents just because you want to have a more environmentally friendly landscape. Some flowers that use less water while still providing beauty and landscape enhancement include:
- Rock roses such as the henfield brilliant
- Shrubby wallflowers such as the apricot twist
- Griffith’s spurge or fireglow
The people of the Mediterranean lead an outdoor lifestyle and without the appealing smell of fragrant herbs, the calming sound of running water or the welcoming color of terra cotta, no landscape design will properly emulate the Mediterranean lifestyle. Add these elements to keep the spirit of the theme:
- Tiered fountains
- Terra cotta pots
- Greek-style columns
- Greek statuary
- …and of course a glass of red wine
These are only a couple of examples of culturally themed gardens, but there are many more, from English gardens to Amish gardens. Whether you go with a cultural theme or one more personal and customized to you, it is important to take your landscape design section by section, and there is no section that says more about you to the world than the front yard.
Front Yard Landscape Design Ideas
Your front yard is likely the first thing people notice about your property. Well-crafted front yard landscape designs make a favorable and long-lasting first impression and give your home a high level of curb appeal.
Whether you have landscape design ideas for a small front yard or big, or your home is located in the city or countryside, the approach to your home sets the stage for the rest of your landscape design. The distance may vary from a few feet in the city to a few hundred feet or more in the country.
As cities become more urbanized, the need to make the best use of the space available is always a first consideration. First we’ll look at some design ideas for the front of your property if space is at a premium.
Container Gardens – New construction these days seem to put more of an emphasis on the size of the home rather than the size of the yard. You may have a large home with a small front yard. Try container gardens as an economical and space-saving solution. Fresh herbs and small flowering plants can be used in varying sized metal buckets and other containers to provide fragrance and modernist beauty in a small space.
Trellises – Even if you have no yard at all, chances are you have a wall. Allow beautiful and lovely smelling Honeysuckle to climb your trellis and provide beautiful yellow colors and appealing scents. Different variations of Morning Glory plants also provide an excellent source of differing color to any trellis.
Container gardens and trellises can add the perfect accent to any size yard and if you have more space to work with, this just opens up more possibilities. With more square footage things like walkways, hedges and surface material come into play. A flagstone walkway gives your visitors the opportunity to view the rest of your landscaping. If you wish to maintain a bit of privacy in your front yard, certain lattices and hedges can also provide the cover you need while still adding to your property’s appeal.
Backyard Landscape Design Ideas
If your front yard is what you have to say to the world, then your backyard is what you have to say to yourself, family and close friends. Whatever landscape ideas for backyard you prefer, whether it’s entertaining, playing or just relaxing, you’ll need to establish a good plan. The last thing you want to do is invite friends over or step out of your back door to a badly planned and uninviting backyard.
These days, amenities that once only had a place inside your house can increasingly be found outdoors. With good planning, design and execution, your backyard can be a multipurpose area for dining, playing or roasting marshmallows. Some potential amenities that add to your backyard’s capabilities include:
Water Features – Strategically placed water walls, waterfalls and ponds can transform your backyard. The look and sound of running water can soothe the mind and spirit while adding a touch of class to the entire yard.
Outdoor Kitchens – No longer are we in the world of simple outdoor barbeques. Now you can play world-class chef right in your backyard with one or more full grills, countertops, sinks, bars, refrigerators and storage units. If full kitchens are outside of your budget, there are all kinds of design ideas that include much more budget-friendly built-in barbeque units that can still entertain while adding beauty and value to the home.
Fire Pits – Fire pits are always a popular attraction with friends and family on those cold winter nights. It can be built into the ground, or there are stand-alone varieties that use a number of different materials to produce heat.
No matter what backyard landscaping design ideas you have, what people are going to walk on is a consideration. Paver patios can provide a beautiful elegance and clean functionality without the extra work that comes with concrete. For small backyards, pavers are ideal as well. If you have less space to work with, arbor shades over a paver-laid dining patio can provide both shade and artistic flair. Bamboo and see-through screens of feather grass create a perfect backdrop for a patio set or pair of reclining lounge chairs.
So, now that we have taken a look at different cultural and more generalized look at landscape design ideas, knowing some examples of different varieties of plants we can use is crucial. What kinds of groundcover, trees, bushes and shrubs you use is just as important as the design and layout of your landscape.
To Lawn or Not to Lawn: That is the Question
It seems like every year, droughts around the world get more intense. In this environment it has become increasingly mainstream to eschew the traditional lawn for more water-friendly options. Fortunately, you can have a beautiful layer of grass while still conserving water. Here are some options that allow for beautiful green grasses while still allowing you to be water-conscious.
- Rock – Maybe you don’t want to replace all of your lawn with rock, but that doesn’t mean you can’t accentuate your lawn with it in strategic places. If there are areas of bad irrigation, dead spots or just awkward-shaped spaces where nothing else looks good, try a bed of rock to provide low-maintenance beauty and utility.
- Pavers – Pavers are extremely important to any landscape design idea. Pavers are excellent because they can be adapted to whatever the space requires. The different varieties of pavers also allow for your artistic expression during the design process.
- Drought-Resistant Grasses – Even if your neighborhood isn’t in a drought, there are drought-resistant grasses available that can provide for a beautiful lawn that doesn’t brown easily and is better for your water bill. Such varieties include zoysia, fescues and St. Augustine.
Whether you have a fully manicured lawn or desert landscaping, there is always room for some form of grass, even if it’s just ornamental. So now that you’ve picked your groundcover, what will be providing your shade?
Being the potentially largest component of your property, what trees you choose is of immense importance. Making sure you have a stunning and bright show of fall foliage is a must on any landscape design that allows for deciduous trees in a moist climate. There are so many different varieties of trees to choose from, but here are some tips to making sure you select the right ones:
- Are you in an area with overhead power lines or structures that are close to your property? Pick tree species that have a maximum grow height of 25-30 feet to ensure future growth doesn’t cause a problem. Examples of these varieties include crabapple, ornamental cherry and tree lilac.
- Avoid planting trees that have a weak branch structure and are prone to breakage, such as poplar, Siberian elm and silver maple
- If a tree is going to be planted along a road or sidewalk, you may want to consider varieties that can tolerate higher levels of salt, due to potential deicing work in the winter months.
These are just a few considerations when deciding on what trees to use for your property. Keeping these things in mind will ensure you choose trees that will only serve to enhance your property with beauty and ample shade.
Bushes and Shrubs
Bushes and shrubs serve to accentuate your property, add to privacy and aid in the proper flow in any landscape design. Just as with trees, here are some examples of the two varieties of shrubs that could be used in your landscape design:
Deciduous shrubs are great because, like trees, they add colorful fall flair to your landscape and some even come in fruit-bearing varieties. Some excellent varieties of deciduous shrubbery that can be put to use in your landscaping could include:
- Dwarf Cranberry Bush – This shrub is a very adaptable shrub that can flourish in many different soil conditions with proper draining. It is a low-growing, densely branched shrub which typically reaches up to two feet tall. With leaves that turn yellow-red to reddish-purple in the fall, this shrub is an ideal low hedge, foundation plant or border filler.
- Grow-lo Sumac – This deciduous shrub is perfect for extended groundcover, whether it be on flat land, banks or slopes. It is easily grown in dry to medium, well-drained soil. This fragrant shrub typically only grows one to two feet tall, but can spread out as far as 8 feet wide. Look for the green foliage to turn red to reddish-purple in the fall
Let your evergreen shrubbery provide your landscape with the deep emeralds and greens that you need. These types of shrubbery often form the backbone of any landscape design. Evergreen shrubbery form ideal privacy hedges at strategic points throughout your landscape. Here are some examples of evergreen shrubbery that you can put to good use in your landscape:
- Boxwoods – There are many different varieties of boxwood shrubs, and they are very versatile and useful in creative landscape design ideas. These compact evergreen shrubs are perfect for clipping into a small, formal hedge to create an enclosure, share a design, or edge vegetable or flower beds. These shrubs are very hardy and tolerant of deep shade.
- Mountain Laurel – You can’t go wrong with Pennsylvania’s state flower, the mountain laurel. These shrubs prefer cool, moist, well-drained soil and can thrive in either full sun or partial shade. They grow in large, rounded mounds and have dark green leaves. In the spring you can expect white, pink and red flowers. These shrubs do require soil with a slightly more acidic pH and prefer soil that includes plenty of organic matter, such as compost or peat moss.
There are many considerations in what bushes and shrubs you pick. Some varieties have a very large grow area while others are very slow-growing. It is important to assess the specific needs of your landscaping in concert with your aesthetic design idea to ensure you pick the proper bushes and shrubs.
Final Considerations for Your Landscape Design Idea
Before finalizing your dream landscape, here some final things to consider:
- Flowers – The wonderful feeling that comes from smelling the intense fragrance of a bright flower should be welcome in your garden. At Shearer Patio & Landscape Services, our experts can tell you exactly what flowers are right for the season.
- Lighting – How your landscape is illuminated once the sun goes down can really provide a welcome ambiance that can’t be said for the inky black of darkness. There are a variety of landscape-lighting options that allow you to show off your landscape in the day or night.
- The Environment – When fall arrives, the last thing you want to do is rake leaves all day. During winter, how snow and ice impact your property is as equally important as how beautiful it looks in the spring. By being strategic in how you plan while respecting the forces of nature, you can ensure a long-lasting beautiful landscape that will withstand any conditions Mother Nature throws its way.