Well-designed topography adds richness and dimension to a landscape. In gardens, grade changes offer opportunities for artful design and dynamic compositions. While terraces, rockeries and retaining walls are often put in place to capture views and manage functional needs (such as drainage and steep slope), they are also opportunities for mindful garden design.
With some forethought, plantings cascading over walls, graceful terraces, and bubbling streams can look completely natural. On a hillside, cozy grottos create welcoming entries or back yard escapes. Terraces that have been made to maximize views are also excellent vantage points to enjoy gardens below.
If you are building or remodeling, think about how your landscaping will integrate with the architecture of your home and other site features. Consider landscaping from the outset while making decisions about grading the site.
Bring together your engineer, garden designer, architect, and general contractor to collaborate on a holistic design. By planning ahead you will probably be surprised by all of the creative options those professionals can suggest. You’ll be able to choose the one that best suits your own vision for combining form + function in your garden.
Are you ready to remove the guesswork and increase your success rate with plantings and garden features? Contact us to learn more about garden planning, landscape design, and solutions for challenging sites.
What is your winter garden telling you about its overall design? Using Witch Hazel, Hellebores and other winter blooming plants bring color and depth while the bare deciduous plantings and wetter weather expose the core of your landscape plan for you to scrutinize. Use this time to assess how your landscape design is working. How did it look during the winter months? Are there things that did not work the way you hoped or features that you would add? The final weeks of winter are the best time to incorporate any lessons learned from this winter into a landscape plan. Things to take note of include:
- Screening and privacy: Did you have the coverage you wanted when deciduous trees loose their leaves?
- Circulation: Are pathways and patios in the best location? Is it easy to walk the entire garden and keep your feet dry?
- Structure: Are garden focal points and plant groupings positioned for views from inside the house too?
- Winter color: Do perennial borders need something additional for dormant season interest? Would evergreen color and texture add depth?
- Outdoor living: Did you have sufficient covered space for being outside on wetter or colder days?
You don’t need to wait for spring to start thinking about your seasonal transition or about your longer range plans for your garden.
Landscape Design. Serving Greater Seattle including Bellevue, Redmond, Renton, Kenmore, Bothell, Woodinville, south King County, Shoreline, Kenmore, Bothell, Woodinville, Lake Forest Park and south Snohomish County.
Is your garden adding value to your home? A “for sale” sign along with the fresh scent of several yards of beauty-bark and some perennials desperately shoved into the dirt is a sad but familiar scene. Nice try, but no one is fooled by that trick–especially not a property assessor.
A strong investment in a garden shows in your final resale price, especially if it is well-designed, established and maintained. After I purchased my home and redesigned the garden spaces, the value increased significantly. Over time, I can also see that my home has increased in value at a more rapid rate than others in the neighborhood. When I recently refinanced, I was able to learn the details of how your landscape figures into an actual assessment of property value.
The assessor explained that the landscape of an individual house is compared to other landscapes within the neighborhood, similar to how some of the other quality-related characteristics of a property are evaluated. When the landscape quality exceeds the average in the neighborhood the margin of that difference is added to the value of the property. Similarly, neglected or outdated landscapes detract from the value. The actual amount is different for each home and neighborhood but can be as much as 10%. You can experiment with this by looking at properties you are familiar with on Zillow.
If resale value is among your objectives, your landscape design can be a considerable asset. Be cautious about more extravagant features–such as fish ponds–as they pose a maintenance issue for a potential buyer and as such might not add much to the monetary value of the property. In the end, paying for cover ups does not add value. Investing in the longer term need not be expensive or elaborate to have a great pay-off, and you get to enjoy the investment along the way!