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Main Landscape Planning

Main Landscape Planning


Main Landscape Planning

by Marshall Clewis

In this "entrance" area, the aim is to create a pleasant setting for the house and a welcoming entrance to it. Since the house dominates the picture, particularly on a small property, plants should be arranged to bring out its good points and mask poor ones. A common mistake is to make the planting so elaborate and colorful that it distracts rather than complements.

On most properties the approach area needs to be defined on the sides by fences, hedges or shrub borders. The converging lines of these boundaries lead the eye to the house.

Frame the House with Foliage

The first step in planning the view of your property from the road is to frame the house with masses of foliage. If you have enough room, place trees or large groups of shrubs to the front and sides of the house. On a narrow lot you will probably have only enough space for one or two shrubs or trees.

These masses of foliage should be in scale with the house and property. They should be dark or mid green, and of average texture and habit of growth. Plants of outstanding character, such as golden-leaved mock orange or Koster's spruce, are too showy to use here; save them to use where you want emphasis.

To soften the corners and set off some of the attractive features of the house, arrange a few shrubs near the base of the wall. In most cases a very few plants are better than the masses of foundation planting so common around houses on high concrete foundations.

Choose shrubs for their proper height, habit of growth and foliage texture. It is a mistake to choose them for their bloom as it is usually only present for a few days each summer.

Native trees and different zone 10 trees, such as pines, spruce and cedar, do not belong near the walls of a house. Instead, choose plants that, when full-grown, will not hide the desirable lines of the house or shut out light from the windows unless such shade is needed. The height and form of the plants at maturity determine the way in which the eye will travel.

Herbaceous plants are sometimes used at the base of a building but their form changes from season to season. They give no feeling of performance because they have no constant mass effect. Though colorful and attractive, neither they nor spring-flowering bulbs and annual flowers can take the place of permanent woody plants.

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