This Old House: Detroit Project (September 25-Oct. 1) Watch as the This Old House team restores an abandoned 1939 home in the Russell Woods-area of Detroit with help from the...
On this special segment for "Making It Grow" we learn about some landscaping tips to use around your home landscape. Durant Ashmore of Durant Ashmore Landscaping Nursery gives us tour of a home he landscaped while pointing out the many landscape principles he used.
The Focal Point
The first question that a landscape designer asks himself is, where is the focal point. And 99 times out of 100 in anyone's front yard, that focal point is going to be the front door. So highlight the front door. The last thing we want to do is block the front door.
So how do we create a focal point.
- One way that we do that is to frame the focal point with two plants on either side of that area. We use our tallest plants-- only ends with descending height towards the center.
- Extend the foreground planning. A neutral foreground such as a lawn is very important in establishing a focal point. So we take all of those factors into consideration.
And when we have established the primary focal point-- which again, is usually the front door-- we can establish additional focal points throughout the yard.
Landscape Flow: Plant Layout
As far as the overall plant layout is concerned, look at groups and mass plantings. The biggest thing you want to avoid is a hodgepodge effect. It is very important that landscapes flow and they have continuity and they have harmony.
Using the same plants on either ends of the yards, using similar plants in the mid-ground, then the same plants in the foreground-- all of this lets a landscape flow. It establishes harmony and it lets the landscape blend.
It's also very important that the textures of the different groups of plantings vary and the textures are fine, medium, and coarse.
The primary feature that distinguishes the texture of the plant, basically, is the size of the leaf. So the varying of the textures is one thing that is important in any landscape plant. Vary the heights, you vary the colors, you let everything blend together.
Landscape Flow: Lawns
Another landscape feature that landscape designers make use of is lawns in the landscape. Now, I am a lawn minimalist and I like to use as little lawn as possible. However, lawns definitely have their place in the landscape.
In the backyard, as far as child's play is concerned, lawns are of paramount importance. And they also are important as far as a neutral foreground in front of a focal point. One thing to keep in mind with landscape design is form does follow function, the same as with architecture.
As we look through the different aspects of this landscape, you'll notice continuity, harmony, uniformity. These are all elements that create a pleasing landscape. We don't want to have a hodgepodge effect. We want to avoid that at all costs.
It creates a pleasing look, a landscape that can be enjoyed, and it's a landscape that I hope that you can pick up on some of the design elements we've talked about today so that you can utilize these in your own landscape. That's what brings a landscape together.