It was very informative. Thank you for making a concise list with such good information. I live in a large manufactured home w / a beautiful landscaped yard of the previous owner. There are many things I do not like and change slowly. We have a pretty big pond w / fountain in the front yard but it seems to be out of place and a bugger to mow. We are going to release it because it was not well thought out and built to begin. I make a water feature with old ceramic lamp bases. They are painted now I have to get the water pump (s) needed, fit the lamps with the tubes and see how it all works.
Build a stream bed to direct water away from a low point in your garden. Or if the slope of the land allows it, use a streambed to drain a low point. Start with a ditch - basically a shallow, shallow drainage ditch. Then line it up with gravel or stones and add interest with rocks, a bridge or plantations. Of course, you do not have to turn your drainage project into a creek bed. A simple depression is an effective and subtle way to control surface water.
Although detailed and complex, the process can be enjoyable if taken a little at a time. You will not regret spending the time doing it properly. When you have finished, you will have a master plan - or a masterful design - to show for your efforts. In the case where the words "blueprint" seem concrete, you can find the idea of a "long-term plan" less fixed but no less useful in accomplishing the big and small goals that add up to a satisfactory landscape. Before putting a pencil on paper or planting flowers, take the time to determine what you want to accomplish in your landscape. Much of the planning and design will happen in your head when you think of ideas and think about what you like the most.
When you sell a house - first home, secondary residence, rental property - you pay the capital gains tax on the difference between the sale price and your adjusted base. The base is the original purchase price, which you adjust for the improvements you have made to the property over the years. If you're installing new plumbing, remodeling the kitchen or paying for some important landscaping work, it's an adjustment.
Trees, shrubs and vines are all effective, although arbours or trellises should be included for the vine or for espalier shrubs and trees. Locate the deciduous trees where the greatest benefit is derived from the summer's shadow and the winter sun - on the west side to protect the house from noon to sunset. It is also beneficial to plant on the east side to protect the sunrise until noon. Shadow not only structures, but also outdoor rest areas, walls and hardscape landscapes. Pay special attention to shade windows, which are the most vulnerable to heat gain. Shading air conditioners can reduce the temperature of the air inside the house, but be sure to allow sufficient airflow around the unit.