Provide intermediate spaces in the newly planted garden so that these open areas are not overgrown with weeds. One option is regular mulching with an organic material, such as pine fines, jagged leaves or double-hammered hardwood mulch. All of these mulches suppress weeds, appear attractive, retain moisture and protect and build healthy soil. Deficiencies can also be filled temporarily with annuals for a few years, provided they are not overcrowded or compete with permanent plantations. Do not over-populate plants during initial planting to create an "unstable landscape" (Figure 19-45).
Locate all existing features on the property and the house, and be sure to include the following: Mark these features on the base plan as shown in Figure 19- 29. Call 811, a free utility locator service, before completing the basic plan and 48 hours before the start of digging (Figure 19-30). This service advises the services of electricity, phone, gas, water and water to come and mark the property. A different color aerosol paint is used for each utility. As a rule, the utility line is located underground in an area of 5 feet around the marked line, 2.5 feet on each side of the line.
Residential landscapes are part of a larger landscape and an ecological community. When we design a landscape that respects the environment, we protect the natural elements of the site and treat the landscape as a living system. We plan to reduce inputs of energy, water and materials and avoid the use of toxic or forbidden materials. The following environmentally friendly design techniques and considerations are based on the enhancement of ecosystem services in the landscape. Traditional landscaping often incorporates the removal of all off-site water as quickly as possible. In an ecological design, water is not treated as a waste to capture and transport off-site.
Model plants are located in the design to create focal points and draw attention to a specific area. We must conceive for time, or succession, when it comes to living and growing plant material. The initial planting should be based on the adult size of the plants. Although all the space is not filled, the young plants should be placed in such a way that they have enough space to grow and reach their adult size.
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