2 • The Herald Spring Home & Garden • April 2011
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ARA — Building your own outdoorparadise can be a daunting, yet rewardingproject. Before you invest your time andmoney, it’s a good idea to consider thecomponents of a successful landscape orpatio project.A great place to start is to look for profes
sional landscaping design ideas on the web.Web sites like www.landscapingnetwork.com offer design tips from professionals tohelp you get your project off the ground.“Building a poorly designed landscapecan cost just as much as building a welldesigned one,” says landscape design expertMaureen Gilmer. “When you’re forkingover big bucks to create the outdoor livingspace or garden of your dreams, it pays toget the design just right.”Gilmer offers the following tips on howto avoid five common landscape designmistakes:Common mistake: Choosing the wrongsize for your patioHow to avoid it: Of all patio sizingtips, making sure your patio’s dimensionswork with your concept for patio furni
ture arrangements may be the most impor
tant. For example, your patio should be atleast 10-by-10 feet to accommodate chairsaround a table with a 5-foot diameter. If you’re crunched for space, consider differ
ent furniture options, or creatively adjustyour surfaces to add space behind the areaswhere chairs will be placed.
Creating a discon
nect between indoors and outdoors
How to avoid it:
Consistent use of col
ors, materials and even plants between yourpatio and adjacent indoor space can makeyour patio seem like an extension of yourhome. Design consistency makes each placeseem bigger and more useful when yourpatio doors are open.
How to avoid it:
Piecemeal design canoccur when you take on one project withoutthinking about its long-term impact on youroutdoor space as a whole. For this reason,it can be helpful to sit down and develop aflexible master plan for your outdoor space,which will allow you to complete your ulti
mate design goals in phases without com
promising the look and feel of your yard.Consulting with a professional landscapedesigner may be helpful when developingthis plan.
Plants that don’t fityour space
How to avoid it:
Choosing plants thatwill fit in a designated space when theyreach maturity can help ensure your yardand patio don’t become overgrown. Plantsthat need to be sheered to fit their spacesoften don’t look as beautiful as a plant that’sallowed to flower and flourish. Choosingplants that survive well in your climate willalso save you time and effort when it comesto lawn maintenance.
Misunderstandingthe importance of good designIt’s exciting to tackle an outdoor project,but when you forget to think about the bigpicture, the project can sometimes turn outto be less than what you had hoped for. If you don’t have the time to learn the basicsof landscape design yourself, it might bea good idea to hire a professional. A gooddesigner should be able to show you a port
folio of projects he or she has worked on soyou can get an idea of whether their work iscompatible with your desires. If you needhelp finding a landscape designer in yourarea, check out the directory at www.land
scapingnetwork.com.For additional resources, visit theAssociation of Professional LandscapeDesigner’s (APLD) web site.
How to avoid five common landscaping and patio mistakes