Landscape Design: Getting Inspired

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Designing, like most everything else, is always better with a good foundation, which means doing your research before starting your design. So, how do you make finding landscape design ideas enjoyable?

Driving around your neighborhood and checking out local public gardens is one way to make research entertaining.  Not only will you get landscape design ideas, but you’ll see which plants do well in your area and how they grow in the context of a garden.

Seeing full-grown plant specimens will help you select the right plants for your own garden. Young plants purchased in their pots can be misleading as they’ll mature into something that looks very different. Little potted Christmas trees are one example. In just a few years, those cute little blue-needled pine trees that look like fuzzy teddy bears are likely to grow into towering giants with long, deep-green needles. Then they may continue growing to a lofty height of 120 feet or more. That can be a tall problem if planted in the wrong place!

For more landscape design ideas, try thumbing through books or magazines. Decide on the kind of look that you want and make sure it harmonizes with the style of your home. Then research how other people have handled patios, walkways, sheds, parking and other hardscape (permanent) features. Check out how and where trees are placed for safe growth and best use of shade. Once your basic layout is established, the next step is to list the plants you want to include in your landscape. Keep in mind that decor can add color, whimsy, theme definition and comfort to your landscape design.

Catalogs are perfect for researching interesting plants, outdoor furniture and other stylish decor. There are thousands of catalogs available on the Internet and in print. If you find one online and want to enjoy the feel of thumbing through the pages on a bleak winter day, just request a printed catalog and it will likely arrive right away. Catalogs can be an entertaining way to work on your garden when the weather keeps you house-bound.

There are numerous sites on the Internet where you can see what garden designers, home owners and architects have created. Your local garden center can also offer helpful ideas for your landscaping research. There are many resources that can help you gather ideas.  Put together your favorite discoveries and sketch them out on paper, or lay them out online starting from the biggest items and finishing with the smallest and you’ll find your landscape will almost put itself together for you. And the process can actually be fun!

Photo credit: Jane Gates

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