Landscaping involves the use of natural resources, plus the introduction of balance, control, and color to the lawn, flowerbeds, and the home itself. Walks, driveways, and entries must be included in the landscape design to achieve an attractive appearance from the curb. An approach to successful landscaping also includes knowledge of soil type and seasonal temperature ranges as well as proper use of shade and sun locations. A perfect landscape does not happen quickly, but is a work-in-progress that allows for continuous evolution and experimentation. Both front and back yards can benefit from a landscaping plan, and proper care of both will add value to a home.

Landscape Design: Factors to Consider

Elements to consider include depth, shape, texture, and flow. When making new plant introductions to the landscape, think of sizing as well. Too many low-growing, sparsely-planted shrubs or flowers will lose their impact if added among taller vegetation. Front yards are often designed with the home's structural decor in mind while a back yard may acquire more color and variety of plantings. Activity areas require special treatment, such as sand or additional pathways, while calming water features can offset the sounds of a busy street. Trees are part of the landscaping scheme as well. Established trees offer challenges for lawn care, but decorative hardscaping at the base �� or even extended to the drip line �� will offset most problems. Keep the mature root system in mind when adding young trees to the landscape.

The varieties of flowers and shrubs make landscaping choices difficult, especially when working with both perennials and annuals. There are many themed designs that can narrow the selection. Butterfly, bird, and wildlife habitats, as well as English or country gardens, are easy to design; more dramatic themes include moonscapes and desert or exotic landscaping. In areas that are drought-prone and soil quality-challenged, a xeriscape or hardscape may be the answer. Replacing grasses with hardier plants such as yucca and building up problem areas with stones and other non-living materials is appealing from an environmental aspect as well. Most landscaping can utilize some form of hardscape in several ways. Edging that weaves around a flowerbed will delineate without creating a visual barrier. Add pavers where footpaths seem to flow. Trellises, fountains, and large planters with seasonal flowers also are part of the hardscape or natural design. With time and patience, the landscape will become an important part of the home's integral structure.

For information on outdoor lighting see the following article from HomeDoctor.net: Landscape Lighting.