Garden landscaping ideas

Landscape gardening is often equated with picture painting. Your art teacher must have told you that a good image should have a main point of interest, and other points just to make the central idea more beautiful, or to form a nice setting for it. So in landscape gardening there should be in the gardener’s mind a picture of what he wants as a whole when he finishes his work.

From this research we will be able to construct a little theory about landscape gardening.

Let’s go to the lawn. A good open lawn area is always beautiful. It’s calming. It adds a feeling of space even to small grounds. So we can generalize and say that it is good to keep the grass space open. If one covers his lawn with lots of trees, with small flower beds here and there, the general effect is choppy and fussy. It’s a bit like an overdressed person. The reason a person loses all individuality is so treated.

A single tree or small group is not a bad arrangement in the yard. Do not center the tree or trees. Let them drop a bit into the background. Make a fun side feature of them. In choosing a tree one has to keep a few things in mind. You don’t have to choose a strong tree; the tree should be well shaped, with something interesting about the bark, leaves, flowers or fruit. While poplar is a fast grower, it sheds its leaves early and is left standing, naked and ugly, before the fall grows old. Mind you, there are places where a row or two of Lombardy poplar trees is very effective.

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But I think you’ll agree with me that poplar sole doesn’t. Catalpa is quite beautiful on its own. The leaves are wide, the flowers are attractive, the seed pods stick to the tree until winter, adding a bit of beauty to the image. The bright berries of the ash, the brilliant leaves of the sugar maple, the flowers of the tulip tree, the bark of the white birch, and the leaves of the copper beech are all points of beauty to consider.

Place makes a difference in tree selection. Suppose the underground is rather low and damp, then the place is ideal for willow trees. Don’t group trees that look awkward. The long-looking poplars don’t go well with the slightly bulbous little tulip tree. A juniper, so neat and tidy, would look ridiculous next to a chestnut spread. One must keep proportion and conformity in mind.

I never suggest planting a bunch of spruce near the house, and in the front yard. The effect is indeed very dismal. The houses surrounded by such trees were tightly closed and not only gloomy to live in, but also downright unsanitary. The main requirement in the house is sunlight and lots of it.

As trees are chosen for certain good points, so are shrubs. In a clump, I would expect some to bloom early, some to bloom late, some for the beauty of their fall foliage, some for the color of their skin and others for the fruit. Some spirea and forsythia bloom early. The red bark of the dogwood keeps a bit of color throughout the winter, and the red berries of the barberry stick to the bushes well into the winter.

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Certain shrubs are good for hedging purposes. Fences are usually prettier than fences. California Privet is excellent for this purpose. Orange osage, Japanese barberry, buckthorn, Japanese quince, and Van Houtte spirea are other shrubs that make good hedges.

I forgot to say that in the selection of trees and shrubs it is usually better to choose those from the locality where one lives. Unusual and unfamiliar plants do less well, and are often out of tune but poorly with their new arrangement.

Landscape gardening can follow very formal lines or informal lines. The former will have straight paths, straight rows on stiff beds, all of which, as the name suggests, are very formal. The other way is of course the opposite. There is a danger point in each.

Formal settings tend to look too rigid; informal, too chatty, too bouncy. As far as roads go, remember this, that roads must always lead somewhere. It was his business to direct someone to a definite place. Now, straight paths, even paths do not disappoint if the effect is like a formal garden. The danger on curvy paths is sudden bends, the effect of circling. It’s much better for you to stick to a straight path unless you can create really beautiful curves. No one can tell you how to do this.

Garden paths may be gravel, dirt, or grass. One sees grass paths in some very beautiful parks. However, I doubt if they will work.

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