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Landscape Design for you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Should I Use an Online Landscape Designer?

By 5:41 AM

First of all...what is an Online Landscape Designer? I won't confuse you be stating all the things he or she could be! I'll just get right to the heart of what one should be and what the advantages of using one are.

She/he is one who provides Landscape designs via drawings to people who generally live outside of her work area. If you are concerned about getting a Landscape design this way, don't be. Here are some questions and/or concerns some people might have and my answers.
1. What are the fees for an Online Landscape Designer compared to a local Designer?

The design fees are typically less expensive. There is no travel time involved and so you will not be paying additional for travel hours. In addition, there is information that you will be providing which the Designer does not have to spend time getting on his/her own.

2. How can a Designer who does not visit the site provide an accurate and professional design?

The person you hire to provide your Online design should have the necessary experience to be able read photos correctly. Yes, you should be sending the Designer photos of your property from many angles.
The Designer should ask for and receive a survey of your property. This will have the footprint of your house, property borders, hardscape and any township restrictions. If additions have been made since the survey was done, you will need to provide this information if it will impact the design.
If no survey is available, then you should attain any measurements and information requested. For steep grade changes, topographical information may also be requested and necessary.
Once the Designer has the accurate information, the methods of designing will be the same as if she visited the site.

3. What type of drawing will I receive?

The drawing may be a large blueprint done with design software such as AutoCad. As an interim, or even final drawing, the Designer may choose to send you a PDF file which can be read right on your computer. This is typically smaller in size than a drawing, but sometimes it is all that is needed depending on the size of the project.

If the drawing is a 3D design done in a program such as Sketchup, you may choose to download software which will enable you to open the drawing. Otherwise, the Designer can convert the 3D design into JPEG photos and send them to you.

4. How will changes be handled?

The same way they would be addressed if you were working with a local Designer. The Designer must have good communication skills so that she can explain the design to you and/or answer any questions you may have. Changes to the design can then be made accordingly.

5. Should I really choose an Online Designer?

It depends. If you find a Landscape Designer Online that you feel is in sync with your tastes and you love his or her work, then definitely. As long as the Designer is a talented professional, there should be no difference.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cheap Landscaping Ideas For Front and Backyard Designs


There are many Cheap Landscaping Ideas that will still create wonderful front and Backyard Designs. Now when I see "Cheap", that's not what I really mean. I should have said inexpensive. There isn't any part of the landscape where you can't reduce the costs creatively.

Patios and Walkways - Some Cheap Landscaping Ideas

If you have looked at the more expensive hardscape materials such as brick, bluestone and other natural stone, you are considering the more expensive paving stones. Yes, they can be very beautiful, but that's not to say you can't still have a beautiful patio or walkway design. Concrete pavers are less expensive than the above choices. Even less costly than pavers is concrete. Consider adding color to the concrete mix for some additional interest.
Retaining Walls

Landscape retaining walls can get very expensive. Costs are estimated by the square foot of one side, but six inches is added on in height for the part of the wall that is built beneath the ground. As an example, if you have a wall that is twenty feet long and two feet high, the square footage would be fifty feet. If you are considering two materials and there is a twenty dollar price difference, that's one thousand dollars.

If you are looking to install an inexpensive wall, I would suggest some of the decorative concrete block walls. The plainer they are, the Cheaper they will be. You might want to go one step up and choose one of the "mosaic" styles for a bit of a more natural look.

Plantings

Always go for good quality. Where you can save money is in the size of the plants. Some plants, such as perennials, are so fast growing that it hardly matters. Even those plants that grow more slowly will eventually be their mature size. A shrub that will grow to a maximum of four feet will get there no mater what size it starts out at. Of course, we don't want to be ridiculous here! Start with a size that is smaller than perhaps you would really like but still look attractive.

Outdoor Fencing

Do you have woods on your property? Consider using black chain link fencing in or near the woods as it will just blend into your surroundings. You can also use less expensive fencing anywhere and plant heavily in front of it to camouflage it.
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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Landscaping - Simple Front Yard Ideas

By 8:29 AM

Designing a landscape for your Front yard will greatly differ from the backyard, because they serve two completely different functions. The Front yard is where people come in and leave; it should thus be the most striking and most accessible area.

What makes a Front yard extremely interesting is walkways and pathways with features and designs around it. It seems intriguing and inviting. The Front yard should not be elaborate, but simple and uncluttered. Invite people in by letting the main walkway lead straight to the Front door. It could be soft and curvy, but not too elaborate as to confuse guests. Frame the Front of the house and door by placing smaller plants next to the entrance. You can also try and "soften" the Front view by using vertical shrubs and plants and by pruning plants regularly to keep it neat. Grass can add immediate texture to a garden and there are many varieties and colours of grass that are bound to compliment your overall design.
You can also create a "container garden" at the Front door with different coloured flowers flanking out in different directions to compliment the colour of the Front door and house. Use evergreens that are low maintenance and that will create a year-round welcoming atmosphere. If you have a long driveway or cul-de-sac, create a successful transition between driveway and Front door. Pocket gardens with flowers, as well as boulders will break the monotony and create this transition.

Garden furniture is not restricted to the back yard; you can easily incorporate small aluminum or wrought-iron tables and chairs near the Front door with umbrella. This will look welcoming and even festive. Adding coloured gravel or mulch underneath will add character. The best option regarding plants and flowers is to use one type of shrub throughout and to stick with one colour, but in different shades when choosing flowers. You can also use arbours, trellises and even a garden sculpture to break the single height of plants and create a second focal point.

Connect the Front and back yards with flowing shrubs and flowers on the side of the house. This will lead guests in a specific direction. You can easily create an interesting "island" in the middle of a large Front yard by placing mounds of dirt, ground and gravel on large pieces of newspaper (which keeps weeds down). Add shrubs and perennials and create a perimeter with old bricks and stones. You should definitely incorporate trees in all sizes, but take care to not go overboard. Large, dense trees can easily hide or overwhelm a house when it should actually be framing the house.

Light up the house and yard with solar-powered garden lights. These will provide security and are perfect for creating a welcoming, secure atmosphere if you decide to entertain guests at night. These are easy to install and require little maintenance.
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