By Deena Lawrence, Colorado Master Gardener
Designing a new landscape or making plans to renovate an existing one is exciting and full of opportunities. Considering these five factors will help to create a space that is beautiful and enjoyable for years to come.
1. Patio size – To feel comfortable, outdoor living spaces are best designed much larger than most people would guess. A deck or patio should be significantly bigger than the furniture that will be placed on it so there is plenty of room to walk around.
2. Slope issues – If a property is sloped, trying to cover the area with wood chip mulch or rock will be problematic. Gravity will win, and continually pull the material to the bottom of the hill. One good solution is terraces. Retaining walls (of wood, stone, or brick) can divide the space into terraces, so materials stay put. Bonus: Irrigation will now be more effective as run-off will be reduced.
3. Lighting – Landscape lights are a simple way to enhance a yard for evening enjoyment and provide safety and security as well as beauty. Lights can be built into stairs to reduce tripping, placed along paths to guide the way, and can shine up into trees for vertical interest. Once set up on a photo-sensitive timer, lights will turn on automatically at dusk, then off automatically as programmed.
4. Plant selection – Careful consideration of the mature size of plants is critical. Plants grow, and adorable little shrubs and trees can end up swallowing doorways, paths, even driveways as the years go by. Research into the mature size of each new plant is time well spent. If the small plants look too far apart at first, annual flowers can fill in the gaps until the permanent plants grow larger.
5. Paths – It’s nice to easily get from A to B, so paths are recommended between all commonly used points. Width of the paths can vary based on the usage each will receive. A path or sidewalk from the street to the front door provides a convenient way for guests to approach and also makes a house look more welcoming, enhancing curb appeal.