Landscape Planning: Designing Ideal Recreation Areas Outdoors

Garden maintenance and landscaping
Garden maintenance and landscaping

For most of us, maintaining a garden of any size fills an inherent need of some kind. Whether it’s to bring additional beauty to our homes, add some appealing fragrances, or simply fill an ongoing desire to grow and nurture something… we just can’t seem to resist this most basic urge. And once we’ve started of course, we often just keep right on going. In fact, most gardeners tend to start with a small bare patch of ground somewhere around their yard, but eventually they’ve expanded their efforts into almost every nook and cranny.

Now, even if you don’t expect to be landscaping your entire yard anytime soon, it’s actually an excellent idea to plan as if you were right from the start. This way even if it takes you ten or twenty years to accomplish everything you’d like, the end result will look like it was professionally designed instead of haphazardly put together on a whim.

Just like the inside of your home has designated areas for specific activities, the outside areas of your home can too. So this is an important thing to consider when you start your garden and landscape planning. If for instance, at some point you’d love to have a covered porch on the front of your home, you might not want to plant a large tree or bush right next to the door. Why? Because if it takes you ten years to actually add the porch, you’ll find that removing that tree or bush is needed because it’s in the way. And since it has had ten years to really become large and established, moving it might be a major job which requires a contractor.

There are other practical reasons for planning your landscape design too. Some areas of your yard should be designed specifically for kids, playtime, and heavier foot traffic for instance, and you wouldn’t want to plant your prize rose bushes right in the area where your kids and pets play the most, right? Try to keep your busiest traffic and play areas planted with everyday grass or hardy ground covers, so it can stay looking nice no matter how much time it is used for play.

Shade trees are usually a great idea to have around or nearby entertainment and barbecue areas, however you also need to consider any utility lines that may be suspended above the property too. If you plant a tree while it’s young, you may not realize that there will be problems once it is partially or fully grown. If it becomes large enough, it may intersect with an electric or telephone cable, and this can be quite dangerous.

So before planting trees anywhere in your yard, be sure you know what is above them, plus how large they’re supposed to grow once fully matured.

You might want to consider designating some areas of your yard for rainwater runoff too. If you have an area of your yard which seems to naturally collect and pool rain water for example, you might want to consider putting a pretty flower or tropical garden in that area. This way you’ll be making use of natural rainfall, saving on your public water bill, and preventing a mud hole mess all at the same time.

There are of course many other things you can do while planning your landscape and garden designs, and one of the most important of course, is to consider how much time you’ll have to take care of what you put into place. So stop and think a bit about what you currently have, how you can take advantage of your natural resources, and how much energy you have available – or want to devote. Then start planning your own special landscape and garden areas!

Do You Have A Garden Bench?

Courtyard garden bench
Courtyard garden bench

After a long hard day – actually even after an easy day – plonking down on a comfortable garden bench with a couple of mates for company and a favourite brew at hand, is a relaxing and pleasant way to wind down.

Garden benches come in many designs and materials and about my only advice is to first choose one that is comfortable. There’s nothing quite as irritating as a bench that bites after a few minutes. And there are plenty of designs to choose from.

Then pick a bench that is durable and strong. The last thing you want to to have your seat collapse because a bolt has failed or a joint has rotted through.

Make sure the bench is heavy to move so that wandering nocturnal shoppers are discouraged from carrying it away.

Make sure the environment around the bench is attractive, user-friendly and comfortable. No thorny bushes, firm footing or decking, easy access to replenish stocks of favourite brew and a bit of light if you like sitting there after sundown. At this time of year a citronella candle to keep the mozzies away is also a good idea.