These before and after photos come from a house we owned before. In the picture Before, notice the wall around the front of the house. When we bought the house all the neighbors we met asked what we thought of the wall. We removed the wall and created a small yard. Balance, rhythm, unit and form. Here is another "before" image from a different angle. We went down the wall, removed a dead ash tree and cut down the trees. This has created a lot more light inside and out. You are the artist here and the landscape is your canvas. Think about where you want the eye to move. Understanding terms like annual, perennial, deciduous, espalier, hybrid, spread and rhizome will prevent you from making costly mistakes.
Think of the foundation planting as you would for the perfect setting for a beautiful painting that enhances its natural beauty. Omitting a lawn is not just for areas where water conservation is essential. Lawn-less front yards will not suffer when water prices rise as supply decreases. Plus, there's no need for lawn care, which eliminates the cost of a gardener. That means more time to enjoy your outdoor living spaces all summer.
Use trees to shade the walls rather than the roof of the house. The branches of trees on the roof spill a bed that clogs the gutters. If heavy limbs fall during a storm, they can damage the house. Create a windbreak by identifying the prevailing winter wind and installing evergreen trees in the wind of the house. A row of trees is effective, but a five-row windbreak with several different species is more effective. The windbreak also serves as a privacy screen. A biodiversity-rich (or screened) windbreak composed of native plants also provides sources of food and shelter for beneficial insects and wildlife, including birds.
Review a topographic map of the site and browse the property to review stormwater trends. Look for signs of erosion and note poorly drained or low areas that remain wet for several days after a rain. For areas with signs of erosion, consider rainwater harvesting options to reduce the amount of water flowing through these areas after a rain event. rain. Use tanks or rain barrels to collect runoff from the roof and save for future use (Figure 19 - 33).
Low-rise houses seem larger if pyramidal evergreen plants are used to alter the horizontal lines of the house. The purpose of the foundation planting is to connect the structural materials of the house and the surrounding landscape. The foundation planting must be balanced and simple enough to accent the building. Usually, two or three different plant species are sufficient to achieve this effect. Often, tall shrubs are planted at the corners of the house, accent plants are used by the front door and lower growing shrubs are planted under the windows. To make a larger house appear larger shrubs are placed just off the front corners.
Do not try to do everything at the same time - choose one or two things you can do now and consider the things you can implement later. Over time, each small improvement will create a truly sustainable yard, but the biggest impact in the shortest time will be the choice of your plants, which is a good starting point. First, identify the plant material you currently have and eliminate the invasive alien species. The simple removal of invasive plants will make your garden more durable and often more aesthetic. For a list of invasive plants, visit the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council website.
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