The principles landscape designers practice affords them the freedom to create distinctive designs by applying techniques that are uniquely personal, often accumulated from years of life and client experiences.
While many landscape designers have advanced training and education, you may be surprised that it spans the spectrum from horticulture and landscape architecture to business, engineering, and the arts.
Since there is no one typical set of credentials, you should realize that your own background and life experiences should not be underestimated. Your thoughts and ideas, when blended with those of the design team you hire, will very likely combine to realize outcomes you can own in every way.
The following design ideas are compiled from our years in the industry. A few from formal studies, but most from the collaborative process of serving clients where everyone’s contribution matters.
#1. Bring The Inside Out
Everything we love about the outdoor environment becomes more exciting when we find ways to bring the inside out. Outdoor kitchens and dining spaces have become the most requested homeowner features.
The top trend in this category is a greater specialization that gives people exactly what they want. While outdoor grills will never go out of style, combining or accompanying them with smokers and pizza ovens elevates this aspect of outdoor living.
Getting the layout of your outdoor kitchen and dining area right is a top priority, especially for safety. The cooking area should have sufficient counter space for the preparation and staging of different foods.
#2. Use Vertical Space
If you’ve spent some time inside the home with soaring ceilings in multiple rooms, you probably have an appreciation for defining vertical spaces. There is no question that soaring ceilings raise the energy level of a room, they can make it somewhat unsettling over a period of time.
When you are outside looking for a cozy place to settle down and read a book, doesn’t that space beneath a shade tree feel more appropriate than in the middle of a sun-drenched terrace? Vertical elements such as the pergolas and the canopy of majestic shade trees define vertical spaces, making them more appropriate for specific activities
#3. Frame the Views
Your home may not have expansive lakefront or sunset vistas, but every home has at least one focal point that merits greater focus.
Framing views may require screening other views where the eye naturally wants to go. If there is an objectionable view, it will become a distraction. Rather than obscuring it with a fence or hedge, find ways to work with the edges.
Pulling the edge forward with interesting foreground plantings in front of a group of larger screening plants. Design this in a way that naturally guides your eye around it to a more favorable view. Introduce additional plantings to frame that view to give it greater emphasis.
#4. Track the Sun
Understanding your property’s sun exposure throughout the seasons is invaluable. Pay special attention to areas that receive full and limited sun exposure, because most ornamental plants perform best with partial exposure.
Areas that receive limited sun can be challenging because they tend to have persistent moisture. This can encourage plant diseases and the growth of mosses or mildew on hardscape surfaces.
Midwestern regions such as Oklahoma can expect a variance in sun exposure throughout the four seasons. Taking this into account will inform plant selections, after which the plants themselves communicate if they are happy in their environment.
#5. Respect the Rule of Three
Grouping three objects together creates harmony because threes are balanced, like a three-legged stool. Whereas, even-numbered groupings often signal geometric shapes with hard edges, such as squares and rectangles. In general, odd-numbered groupings of three, five, and so form organic shapes that mirror Nature’s own handiwork.
This is largely true because of the movement organic shapes create in the landscape. The eye naturally moves around when it encounters these shapes, jumping from one to another. Movement is energy that stimulates the senses. What passes the eye test will usually please the mind, body, and soul.
#6. Don’t Forget the Nighttime
Once you start planning for nighttime effects, you soon discover many flowers are not open during the evening hours.
Tropical water-lilies are an example of night-blooming plants. They typically open at dusk and close in the early morning hours. When you combine this interest with the activity of tropical fish in your backyard pond, this night-blooming event can become a celebrated one to share with the family.
Common blue flowering Morning Glories, Ipomea purpurea, will not be showy in an evening garden, because the blooms close at dusk. However, the white flowers of Ipomoea alba, better known as the Moonflower, make for a beautiful display that lights up the night when illuminated by a full moon or LED landscape lighting.
#7. Make Colors Meaningful
Color is the one design element that can make or break a landscape. The wrong color combinations or too much color can assault the senses. Conversely, not taking any chances with color can be as uninspiring as a model home whose walls and furnishings are intended to appeal to the largest audience.
Dark colors make objects recede, and lighter colors bring them forward. Thus, to make a space appear larger you should consider using lighter and brighter colored plantings and hardscapes. Outdoor spaces that are generous in size and receive abundant light may be opportunities for experimenting with bold accent colors.
Proactive Landscaping: Helping Oklahoma Homeowners Enjoy Outdoor Living
Our top priority is creating living spaces that are right for you. We pride ourselves on working with you from concept to construction to create the right landscape for your needs. Contact us today for a free consultation to explore your next landscaping project.