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Need a Landscaping Design Help?

The great thing about landscape designers is that they help expand your horizons and present you with exciting possibilities. Professional designers spend every working day solving problems most of us only face once or twice a lifetime – no wonder they have better landscape design ideas than we do!

A landscape or garden designer has knowledge and training on plants and landscape construction and can provide you with drawings, construction details and lists of suppliers and plants. Landscape architects have a degree and belong to a licensed professional association; they generally do higher-end residential or larger commercial projects. Be sure to check credentials, references and ask to see a portfolio.

Designers and landscape architects can help the process of finding a contractor, getting permits and overseeing your project to completion.

Landscape design costs

It’s difficult to generalize about fees, as they vary quite a bit, depending on where you live, the experience and training of the person you hire, and the scope of your project. A full landscape design (drawings showing landscape features and planting plan) can range from a couple of hundred dollars to over $1,000 or more, depending on the complexity of the design and the overall budget of the project.

Landscape designs for free? Too good to be true?

Be careful when garden centers or contractors offer “free” design services. They may be more interested in selling their plant inventory than creating a design that meets your needs. And the people hired to do these designs are generally not as experienced as someone who has invested time and training to become a professional landscape designer. Nothing is really free: design costs are built into the mark-up on plants and materials.

You say formal, I say casual

Be as clear as you can about what you want – a good reason to have pictures on hand. Garden magazines are full of inspiring ideas. Be upfront too about how much you have to spend. Professional landscaping usually costs a little more than you think it will.

Think ahead, way ahead

Every spring, landscape madness grips every neighborhood in the country. “Let’s do that project we’ve been thinking about,” everybody says, all at the same time.

Spring fever means that landscape designers and contractors are run off their feet. If you want your work done early in the season, contact landscape pros the previous fall or in early winter – they’ll love you for it – and you’ll have their full attention.

Fall can be a much less hectic time to have a landscape project done – and it’s still warm enough for construction and planting in many parts of the country. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to live where winters are warm, landscape projects can be spread over more months of the year, but even so, spring is still a busy time.

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What to Look for In Landscaping Design

Whether you plan to “borrow ideas” or plan on creating your own landscaping design, you should have at the very least a basic understanding of the principles of landscape design.

Don’t feel that you have to apply every principle to every part of your plan. Just having an understanding of these principles can help you generate ideas and increase your creativity.

Great landscaping lies in the eyes of the its creator. So, while the principles of landscape design are great guidelines to follow, don’t feel like they’re the “have to rules” of landscaping. Abstract and creativity are allowed.

Unity should be one of your main goals in your design. It may be better understood and applied as consistency and repetition. Repetition creates unity by repeating alike elements like plants, plant groups, or decor throughout the landscape. Consistency creates unity in the sense that some or all of the different elements of the landscape fit together to create a whole.

Unity can be created by the consistency of character of elements in the design. By character, I mean the size, height, texture, color schemes, etc. of different elements.

A good example would be in the use of accent rocks and boulders. If you’ve ever seen a landscape design that had several different colors and sizes of boulders, then you’ve seen that unity wasn’t created by this particular element.

This is just one example but the principle applies to all other elements such as groups of plants and materials.

A simple way to create unity in your landscape is by creating theme gardens. Creating a theme garden is easier when it’s related to something you’re interested in or have a passion for.

If you’re interested in butterflies for instance, you could create a theme using plants that attract butterflies as well as using statues, ornaments, and other decor that are related to butterflies.

Unity should be expressed through at least one element in your landscape and preferably more. Using elements to express a main idea through consistent style and a specific theme is what creates harmony.

Simplicity is actually one of the principles in design and art. It’s one of the best guidelines you can follow as a beginner or do it yourselfer. Just keep things simple to begin with. You can do more later.

Simplicity in planting, for instance, would be to pick two or three colors and repeat them throughout the garden or landscape. Keeping decor to a minimum and within a specific theme as well as keeping hardscapes such as boulders consistent is also practicing simplicity.

Balance in design is just as the word implies. A sense of equality. There are basically two types of balance in landscape design. Symmetrical and Asymmetrical.

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The Best Look for Your Home

The right landscape design style for your yard will depend on the appearance of your home, as well as your personal preferences and needs. There are many different styles to consider, each with their own unique characteristics, and each offers a number of individual variations for different tastes and purposes. Listed below are various types of garden styles. See which one will work best for your property.

Formal Gardens have linear patterns, defined shapes, and an overall neatness describe the formal garden style. The Georgian Garden is a perfect example of this design style and many other prominent estates feature the uniformity of a formal landscape design. While formal gardens are spectacular displays, they require extensive maintenance and can be quite costly.

Informal Landscape Designs are natural and relaxed, featuring imperfect shapes and meandering curves. The key to an effective informal design style is planning a natural layout with native plants that grow in overflowing flower beds full of color and texture. This type of landscape has an unkempt, laid back appearance and is easier to maintain than a formal garden, but it still requires careful thought and regular upkeep.

The English Garden Style is a unique blend of formal and informal garden styles, the English, cottage, and country garden designs are colorful and relaxed with an intriguing air of elegance amidst the simplicity. These gardens are characterized by quaint borders and hedges, vibrant, lush blooms, and intimate outdoor living areas.

Oriental Landscapes are peaceful, balanced, and serene, oriental gardens reflect the relaxing effect of nature. These Asian influenced styles highlight the beauty of the outdoors, often on a miniaturized level. Lush bamboo provides privacy and shade, charming foot paths and bridges add elegance, and the natural flow of water brings even more tranquility to these outdoor designs.

Tropical Outdoor Designs are lush, with vivid colors, and depend greatly on a warm, moist climate. Ferns, shrubs, and fruit trees with oversized leaves create a wonderful backdrop for the bright blooms common in a tropical landscape. Comfortable island style accessories with splashes of color create an outdoor paradise with a flair of the tropics.

Desert Garden Styles are dependent upon warm weather, but requiring a more arid environment, southwestern landscape designs make the most of a dry, hot climate. These gardens typically include a variety of native plants like cacti and saw grass. Desert style landscapes demand careful planning, especially in plant selection.

Contemporary Landscape Design is a more modern approach to outdoor design follows a formal garden style with defined lines and geometric shapes, but contemporary garden styles integrate various angles and patterns with innovative outdoor materials as well. Unique garden sculptures, rare plant species, and groups of similar flowers and shrubs are common elements in this style.

Natural Gardens are a completely informal landscape style, natural gardens are typically seen in Essex areas with large expanses of land or outdoor parks. Also referred to as Xeriscape, this style incorporates native plants in carefully planned natural areas for a landscape that reflects the pure qualities of nature.