Do you cut out and collect magazine pictures of great landscaping ideas? Do you have a photo album of, say, a stately English mansion that you’d love to use for your home landscape design in Houston? Have you admired the plants and trees of European countryside estates and wondered if they would grow on the Texas coastal plains? If so, then you have a beautiful start to turning your landscaping ideas into reality.
Landscaping Ideas: The Gathering
Landscape design starts with ideas. Your ideas—before you bring in the professionals. It is the time to write down not only your needs, but also your wishes and deepest desires. This is true whether you want to landscape a two-acre homestead or install a small garden design.
Jeff Halper, landscape design specialist with Exterior Worlds, says, “Landscaping ideas help in your own landscaping design process. The more landscape ideas and photos one has, the better. Even landscaping ideas of things one doesn’t like can help landscape designers and landscape architects achieve the desired results.”
Landscaping Ideas: Elements to Consider
• Hardscapes. Hardscapes—the non-plant material of your landscape design—play a critical part of any garden landscape project. Types of hardscapes include pathways, retaining walls, pool decking and driveways. You will need to make material choices that range from basic concrete to decorative stone and brick to wooden decking.
• Luxury swimming pools. A swimming pool is a necessity for any upscale home. It finishes off the design of the house because it is a natural extension of your indoor living space. All choices about a pool should factor in safety. One way to do it is through the use of fences. Halper points out that they can be built in a non-intrusive way. “We like to hide fences and gates by weaving them among shrubbery. This method makes the pool area safe, up to code and aesthetically pleasing,” he says.
• Outdoor water fountains. Outdoor water fountains come in a multitude of shapes, sizes and styles. Additional features can be added, such as a cascading waterfall or a contemporary wall fountain. Whatever style you prefer, the main thing to remember is that your overall landscape will be improved if you use an outdoor water fountain that coordinates with the style of your home and garden.
• Outdoor kitchens. Decisions to make concerning your outdoor kitchen include whether to cover it or not. You will want to consider the overall size needed. For instance, for the chairs at the dining table, you need at least two feet away from any other element, especially the grill or any step-downs. Be sure to plan for adequate cabinet space. Counter top options include tile, granite, stone and concrete. Also you’ll have choices regarding overhead fans and types of refrigeration.
Landscaping Ideas: Theme Possibilities
• Modern landscape design. Modern garden design tends to focus on scale rather than formal or classic designs that are based on axial relationships from Greek, Roman, and classical architectural traditions. The architecture of the house needs to be carefully considered when using a contemporary garden design. The home and landscape can be tied together through selective use of plantings or the intelligent placement of a hardscape feature, such as an organic pathway to the front door.
• Formal landscape design. Formal landscape design invokes order and balance. Think of the gardens of Monticello, the landscaping of Versailles, and, closer to home, the gardens of Bayou Bend, which is part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
• English garden design. The English garden design is all about curved beds, winding paths and free-flowing color. The gardener’s hand is light. There—but just barely. Houston’s semi-tropical climate is well suited for vine-covered pergolas, sunny rose gardens, and sparkling azalea beds—all plant materials that fit well within the English garden’s concept of abundance.
• Mediterranean landscape design. The phrase to live by in this style is “Old World ambiance.” Favored materials include stone, weathered bricks, terra cotta tiles, flagstone, tumbled travertine, wooden beams, wrought iron, classical statuary and Roman columns, and outdoor furniture that evokes Arabian, Moroccan or Italian sensibilities.
Working in the Houston area since 1987, Exterior Worlds provides landscaping ideas and services to neighborhoods such as the Memorial Villages of Piney Point Village, Bunker Hill Village and Hunter Creek Village. Contact info: 713-827-2255.