Thursday, February 19, 2009

Three Artsy Landscaping Tips

We’re practical folks, but we like to think we have an eye for beauty. Working as Spokane landscaping contractors we’ve certainly gotten our fair share of landscaping testimonials, so I think we can share three simple tips about the composition of your outdoor space. Mind you, anything you go with has to butt up against cold reality. Landscaping and hardscaping jobs need proper drainage and well-constructed features. We’ve got a Spokane area landscaping materials yard for those of you who want to do it yourself, but if your job is ambitious, remember that you can always give us a call.

Anyway, here are the tips!

Anticipate Use

It’s a no brainer: If you want a landscape to work, you need to think of how people will interact with it. You see problems all the time in places like shopping malls and public parks, where the designers didn’t really think of how people would react to the space once it was dressed with furniture, or where people would actually tend to cluster. That’s why, for instance, you have mall areas that attract teenage skateboarders instead of shoppers, or bottlenecks created by people sitting on retaining walls just off of a thoroughfare. (Hint: People always sit on retaining walls!) The best way to figure this out is to tour the space yourself. Try laying out some furniture and boxes to get a rough ides of where people will go in the finished space.

Vary Color, Shape and Texture

Even if you’re dead set on a huge, flat, brick patio you should change up the color, shape and texture in the area. There needs to be something interesting to set your eyes anywhere you look, and a perfectly even slab of bricks gets tired really fast. As you can see from our concrete hardscapes we switch up the look a bit even in very large spaces. It doesn’t matter so much in areas you’re going to dress with furniture, but make sure to spruce up edges with different colors, moving from smooth to rough textures, and laying things out without relying exclusively on straight lines. We like the natural look, so make sure any hardscaped elements fit the surrounding softscape’s contours.

Define Level and Height

Rolling hills look great on postcards, but up close, they’re not so exciting – your yard may have just half a hill and all it does is make it hard to set down a picnic table. That’s where softscapes held by retaining walls come in. These let you sculpt the space into definite levels that can be flat enough to be functional as garden space, patio space or anything else you want. Once you have these, adding gentle sloping back is just a matter of moving dirt. We’re not totally anti-hillock, but make sure you treat it as something you can control, instead of working around for less than ideal results. If your space is flat, add levels, either by moving earth or by using stone and brick walls. This makes the space more intimate and interesting.

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