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Chapter 18: landscape design, installation, and maintenance.


deadman elevation view family and recreation area family inventory final plan functional drawing hardscape perspective plan view preliminary drawing private area public area service area site analysis sleeper specimen plant title block

The use of landscape design brings a new level to plant cultivation, for it does not refer to simply growing plants, but involves placing them in an aesthetically pleasing manner. They may be used alone or in combination with other plants or they may complement a structure, such as a home or commercial building (Fig. 18-1). Landscape design also implements hardscape structures, such as retaining walls, steps, walkways, or patios (Fig. 18-2). In addition, it incorporates various structures such as arbors or pergolas, fences, trellises, and gazebos. Ponds and pondless waterfalls are a popular trend in landscaping today. A good landscape design enhances the beauty of a home or business while increasing the value. Landscaping creates a sense of place, separates play areas from service areas, provides sunny or shady areas, and can provide practical and beautiful solutions to wind, slopes, poor drainage, and other common property problems.


The field of landscaping includes a variety of topics, including site analysis; design for residential, commercial, and public spaces; installation; and maintenance. There are professional organizations in every state as well as at the national level that help to support the work of their members. Some national organizations include the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, the American Nursery & Landscape Association, and the Professional Landcare Network.




Careers in landscaping cover a variety of areas. Some career choices include landscape designer, landscape architect, landscape installer, and landscape maintenance. Many landscape companies also operate nurseries, garden centers, or greenhouses.


Landscape design is a process that incorporates a variety of activities and requires considerable knowledge about plants (Fig. 18-3). Good reference materials on plant characteristics are invaluable during the design process. Much research and thought go into any successful design. The research begins with a site analysis and a needs analysis of the customer, whether it is a family or a commercial entity. A design program is written up that itemizes what will be done and includes an estimate of how long it will take. Preliminary designs are formulated, followed by further consultation with the customer, and finally selection of specific plants and finalization of details and drawings.

Site Analysis

The first step in designing a landscape is to know and understand the site. A thorough analysis must be performed to determine what features exist on the property and which of those features should remain and which should be changed or removed. In a site analysis, property lines are established and measurements of structures and spaces between structures are obtained. An inventory showing existing plants and their locations on the property is developed. Utility lines are located on a drawing of the property. Changes in elevation are calculated, and low and high areas are noted. Soil is tested for texture, pH, and fertility. Table 18-1 provides a site analysis checklist.


Family Inventory

After the site analysis is performed and in close conjunction with it, a family inventory must be done. The designer meets with the owner or owners to determine their concerns and what they want. Table 18-2 shows a family inventory form. If this site is a business site, then the owner or manager should be consulted. If the landscaping is for a group of people, for example, the members of a church, the designer should request that a single spokesperson for the group be appointed for him or her to work with. Otherwise, the designer may find that different people are communicating different ideas, and there is no clear authority to make decisions. If the design is for a couple or a family, the designer must be sure to get the input of both adults involved in the decision making to avoid problems later on.

Design Program

A design program lists all the objectives to be met with regard to the landscape. It will include plants to be removed, areas to be planted, and details about items to be brought in, such as mulch or topsoil. The design program will include estimated costs and time to completion of the project. The purpose of a design program is to clearly express the landscaper's objectives and to ensure that there is agreement with the client about those objectives. The process of developing a design program involves extended interviews with the client(s). It is important during this time to learn what the clients' preferences are and to clarify directions given by the clients. During development of the design program, the designer should provide a time schedule and a fee and payment schedule. Clarity at the beginning of the process can prevent misunderstandings later on. At the end of the proposal development process, the designer may present a contract to the client. This contract should state clearly what services will be provided, the scope of the work, including the number of visits to the site for measurements and inventory, what drawings will be provided, how long the work should take, and an estimate of the final cost. Any caveats or limitations, including work or services that will not be performed may be clearly stated to avoid misunderstandings.

Drawings in the Design Process

Drawings are the beginning of the design process. After inventories are completed, the drawing process can begin. There are three major types of drawings: functional drawings, preliminary drawings, and the final drawing, or the master plan.

FUNCTIONAL DRAWINGS. When all the possible facts and details have been collected, measurements made, and owner input obtained, it is time to sit down and put some preliminary ideas on paper. The first step in the drawing process is to make several functional drawings. Functional drawings are sketched roughly on tracing paper. These will show various practical details, such as expected routes of pedestrian traffic around the landscape, wind direction, areas needing shade or screening, and a driveway, if one is not already present or if the present one does not require changes (Fig. 18-4). Sketches of possible design solutions are made at this stage of the design process. Landscape designers may come up with 5 or 10 different design ideas at this stage. Eventually, some of them will rise to the top for a combination of aesthetic and practical reasons. This step in the process should be completed long before specific plants are selected. Plant placement will be a part of this process, but only in a functional sense. Shrubs may be chosen for a particular location because screening is needed. Later on the designer will select a short list of possible shrubs that will work in that particular space. A tree may be selected for the shade it will provide, but only later will a specific tree species or cultivar be selected.

PRELIMINARY DRAWINGS. After the functional drawings have been drawn and all practical considerations have been explored, the designer may move on to the preliminary drawing stage of the design process. A preliminary drawing will elaborate on the ideas of one of the functional diagrams (Fig. 18-5, see page 468). Plant and hardscaping symbols will be used (Fig. 18-6, see page 469). The houses may be drawn on a regular piece of drawing paper or a large piece of graph paper, with the preliminary drawing done on tracing paper that is placed over the house drawing. Functional drawings can easily be inserted between the two to provide useful information with respect to prevailing wind direction, sun exposure, and so on.

FINAL PLANS. The preliminary drawing will suffice for one's personal use. However, if one is designing for others, it will be necessary to consult with the client at this point, before finalizing the plans. This will give the client the opportunity to provide feedback about the design, changes that have occurred since the family analysis was done, concerns the client may have, and opinions about specific plants and hardscaping materials. Once this last meeting has been successfully complete, it is time to put the final plans on paper. This is a professional-level drawing that may add detail to the symbols (Fig. 18-7) or shading. Color may be used, and the drawing may include other components, such as a title block and detailed plant list (Fig. 18-8). This drawing may be drawn on vellum for durability and longevity (Fig. 18-9). A title block includes the name of the client and their address and the name and contact information of the designer.




The same sized paper should be used for all drawings. A handy paper size that is readily available in tablets of both regular drawing paper and tracing paper is 14 x 17 inches. Graph paper is available in individual sheets at art and drafting stores. Pencil leads come in different hardnesses. Harder leads, designated with an H, are rated in numbers from 1 and higher and provide light lines that become increasingly lighter as the number increases. These are good for drawing guidelines for lettering. Softer leads, designated with a B, are also rated in numbers 1 and higher and get increasingly softer and darker as the numbers increase. These provide soft lines that will smudge if the lead is very soft. They are good for shading and for outlining important lines on the drawing, such as boundary lines and outlines of the house. A medium lead, such as HB or H, will provide a good, all-purpose line that will not smudge (Fig. 18-10).




Typical landscape drawings are done in plan view (see Fig. 18-9). This is the bird's-eye view that shows spatial relationships between objects in two planes: east-west and north-south. Other views that are sometimes used by professionals are elevation views and perspectives. The former is drawn to scale and shows the landscape in two dimensions, height and width. Elevation views can depict only one portion of the landscape, often the front yard (Fig. 18-11). This helps clients visualize how their house will look in the finished landscape. Perspectives are drawn to simulate three dimensions and are not drawn to scale. Objects in the background are drawn smaller, as they appear to the human eye, whereas those that are closer are drawn larger. Parallel lines, such as roads, appear to converge in the distance (Fig. 18-12, see page 473). Perspective is commonly used in landscape painting and provides a more artistic depiction of the landscape design. It is for visualization purposes, as opposed to plan views, which serve the practical purpose of showing the location and placement of elements in the design. In addition to the landscape designer, landscape installers also use the plan view.



Drawing to Scale

Drawings should be done on a scale. The most commonly used scales that work well for most purposes are 1 inch equals 8 feet or 1 inch equals 10 feet. These are designated as 1:8 and 1:10, respectively. Larger or smaller scales are recommended for larger or smaller projects, such that a smaller flower bed may be drawn to a 1:4, 1:2, or even 1:1 scale, where 1 inch equals 4, 2, or 1 foot, respectively. A large landscape may require drawing to a 1:16 or higher scale.



By drawing to scale, one can see the exact relationship among buildings, plants, hardscaped areas, such as driveways, and people. Trees in particular, should be drawn at their maximum size so that they are not accidentally placed too close to buildings or other plants. They should also be selected so that they will not grow up into overhead utility lines. See chapter 17 for more information on tree selection.


The home landscape can be divided into four major areas. Each of these may be treated as outdoor rooms. The most visible of these is the public area. This area usually comprises the front yard but could include a side yard if the house is on a corner lot. Commercial buildings may only have this type of area. The family and recreation area is usually in the backyard and can incorporate side yards as well. Service areas are strictly utilitarian and are no larger than needed for the function they serve. Some examples of service areas are fenced-in places for garbage cans, dog-runs, or even a vegetable garden. Finally, private areas are a special treatment of family areas, are usually connected to a private room in the house, such as a bedroom, and are intimate spaces to be enjoyed in privacy. An example of a private area would be a hot tub on a patio outside sliding glass doors of a bedroom that is fenced or walled off from the rest of the landscape (Fig. 18-13).


To design and implement an effective landscape plan, one should have a firm grasp of the principles of landscape design. One must consider natural and created focal points, visual balance, creating and playing off existing lines, and unifying everything to achieve a sense of relatedness. The principle of proportion helps in the decision of where to put large or small plants, whereas variety and simplicity can be used to complement each other and keep the landscape design lively but not cluttered or distracting.


Focal Point

Anything that calls attention to itself or catches the eye is considered a focal point. These are often unintended points, such as a weedy patch, air conditioning unit, or other utility, or overgrown plants that hide the house. A major goal of landscape designs should be to create aesthetically pleasing focal points and to control their locations. A specimen plant such as a flowering tree or shrub or a weeping evergreen is a natural focal point. Used with care focal points can help to create a lovely scene.


Balance is provided by matching visual weight on both sides of an area. It may be achieved by symmetrical means, where the plantings are identical but mirror images on either side of an imaginary center line. The high point of symmetry in landscape design is seen in classic formal gardens. Asymmetrical balance is more commonly used. In asymmetrical balance, similar groups of shrubs, flowers, trees, and so on, are used on each side of the imaginary center line (Fig. 18-14).

Rhythm and Line

The concept of rhythm and line can be compared to the beat in music. It is a method of repeating a planting scheme at measured intervals. These planting schemes may be designed to complement the lines of architecture or lines of hardscaping or to introduce lines into the design.



The concept of unity in landscape design ties together the various components and areas of the landscape. Unity is achieved through consistency of style, especially in relating the landscape to the house.


Proportion is illustrated through the relative size of the house, plants in the landscape, and human interaction within the landscape. For example, shade trees may be planted where they can spread their branches and dominate a large area that complements their size. Near a patio or entryway, however, use of a fragrant shrub, a small flowering tree, or flowers are appropriate to be proportional to the small area. In using proportion, the right amount of intimacy can be created in the space available.


Variety is the opposite of monotony. Avoid using the same few plants repeatedly throughout the landscape. Repetition is important and can help bring unity to the design. However, variety is important for maintaining interest.



Simplicity is the design principle that limits plant species within a design. The idea is not to be limited to a certain number of species, but to repeat species throughout the design and to use specimen plants thoughtfully and purposefully. Simplicity avoids confusion and chaos. A grouping together of several specimen plants that are interspersed with various statues, fountains, gazing balls, and other lawn ornaments can easily create an eyesore that fails to suggest a clear theme or style. Simplicity should not be confused with monotony but rather indicates elegance. The principle of simplicity dictates that sometimes less is more.


A design tool that is readily available is the shape and habit of the plants themselves. Trees and shrubs have distinct shapes that are very consistent at the cultivar level. Sometimes species will be consistent, too, although sometimes shape can be more variable within a species. Shapes may be rounded in a spherical shape or an elongate shape such as upright or spreading ovals. They may be tall and narrow, providing a columnar shape. Branches may be stiffly upright in a vertical fashion, or they may arch and spread, or even weep. Figures 18-15 and 18-16 show some general shapes of trees and shrubs.

Rounded shapes can be used to soften edges, such as corners of buildings. Columnar trees make a dramatic statement and call attention to themselves, whereas rounded trees are more neutral. Weeping trees are also attention-grabbers and often serve as focal points in the landscape. Whatever shapes you use, it is important to be aware of how you use them and where you place them in the design to maximize the overall effect you wish to achieve.

Plants serve functions that are both aesthetic and practical. Some of these functions were discussed in chapter 17. They may be used to screen a view, to keep children or pets in or out, or to reduce noise or dust. They are used to hide unsightly foundations or to soften the corners of buildings or other bold angles. When used to show off their ornamental qualities, they are used as specimen plants.



Once the design process is complete, a plan has been drawn, and decisions on specific choices of plant and hardscaping materials are made, installation can begin. In general, it is best to install hardscaping first, followed by the plants. But before installation of hardscaping begins, lighting and irrigation should be installed. All water and utility lines would have been located as part of the site analysis, but this should be done again before digging. The utility company will mark buried lines directly on the ground, usually with a colored flag or with color-coded paint. This marking is of immense use to the installation team.


In arid regions, irrigation is considered a necessity and is usually considered a standard part of a landscape design. In areas of more rainfall, irrigation may be optional or not even required. However, golf courses and other large turf areas can benefit from an irrigation system. Even home lawns can benefit from an irrigation system during droughty periods. Automatic timers can allow watering during the prime watering period, between 5 AM and 10 AM, when evaporation rates are lowest, and fungal infection is reduced compared with nighttime watering. Timers can also easily permit multiple short intervals of watering that allow the water to percolate instead of pooling due to slow infiltration rates. When drip emitters are used to irrigate flowers and trees, less waste occurs than with sprinklers. It is much more efficient to apply the water directly to the root zone in this manner (Fig. 18-17).


Landscape lighting can be used to highlight certain features or to improve safety along walkways and paths. Security lighting is a separate concern that will require higher voltage fixtures than typical landscape lights require. There are many styles of landscape lights from which to choose. The designer should select lighting fixtures that meet the stated goals and complement the design style of the landscape and house (Fig. 18-18).




Light fixtures may be installed in such a fashion to project light upward or downward or for special effects, such as creating silhouettes or shadows. Path lights simply create a pool of light along a pathway or beds. Flood, spot, or incandescent lamps commonly used are 20, 25, 35, or 50 watts. They provide a variety of patterns, depending on need.

Cables are used to connect lamp fixtures to a transformer. Most systems are low, 12-voltage systems that are easily installed. The cable need only be placed about 6 inches deep, but be sure to keep a diagram of the wiring layout in your yard in case you need to dig in the area sometime in the future. You will be the only person with a copy of the wiring diagram.


Hardscaping includes all paved areas, such as patios, driveways, and walkways. This category also includes walls, decks, and even fences. Basically, hardscaping includes nonplant components of the landscape. The paving may be bricks, concrete pavers, or poured concrete. It could also be timber, railroad ties, gravel, or other material. Hardscaping should be installed before plant installation (Fig. 18-19).

PAVED AREAS. Areas are paved to provide long-term stability and use. Primary walkways are paved because they are permanent and used frequently. Secondary walkways may be composed of stepping stones or simply be a mulch or stone path (Figs. 18-20 to 18-22). These are less frequently used or designed to have lower impact on the surrounding environment or to have a more informal feel.

Driveways may be gravel or pavement. The latter is more expensive and tends to be less common, depending on the neighborhood. Driveways can be composed of brick or cobblestone, but there are inherent problems with these materials because of movements that occur over time. These movements may be due to frost-heaving or to the effects of water and soil subsidence. They may also be caused by shifts in the retaining/edging material. Gravel driveways, although less expensive in the initial outlay, require replacement materials to be applied occasionally, as the gravel is carried away by various forces or is pressed into the ground with use.

Decorative paving materials commonly used in landscaping include decorative stone such as flagstone and bluestone. Driveways may be constructed of asphalt. Some creative designers use recycled bricks and chunks of broken concrete for walkways and even low walls or edging material.

Permeable paving systems allow water penetration and often provide a more aesthetically pleasing paved area. High-strength plastic grid systems are available that are designed to be filled with gravel or sand. The grid system supports heavy vehicles while allowing grass or another groundcover to be planted in the spaces provided by the grid. This system prevents erosion while providing an aesthetically pleasing solution to a parking area. Other permeable paving materials include porous concrete, porous asphalt, and block pavers that allow water to flow through. The advantages of these systems are that more water is recharged to the aquifer, reducing the load on storm sewage systems, and more water is available to the surrounding landscape.

FENCES. A fence is used to achieve a particular goal in the landscape design. Its use may be functional, such as to keep out animals or to provide privacy, or it may be aesthetic. Fences provide a space-efficient method to delineate space and provide privacy to a degree that plants cannot. In choosing a fence style and selecting materials, consideration must be given to house design and whether the landscape design is formal or informal. Fence style is also determined by how much privacy is desired.

Fences are commonly constructed of wood or vinyl. The former is the traditional material and a variety of styles have developed. The most common are split rail, picket, panel, and shadowbox (Fig. 18-23). Vinyl fences are commonly available in picket, panel, or shadowbox styles. The advantages of vinyl fences are that they never need replacing because of rot and they do not need to be painted. Some people prefer the natural look of wood.





Panel fences provide privacy, but the disadvantage is that they may block airflow to a degree that results in stagnant air in the enclosed area. This blockage often results in higher humidity, too. These two factors can lead to an increase in disease. The shadowbox style of fencing uses overlapping vertical boards on alternating sides of the fence rail. Although one can see through the fence when viewing it from an angle, this style permits airflow. In constructing a fence, one may overlap the boards enough to provide security while allowing ample air movement between the boards. Split rail and picket fences allow varying degrees of viewing through them. These two styles are used for aesthetic purposes more than privacy.

Chain link fences are typically used for security purposes and do not provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance. However, a well-designed landscape planting can ameliorate this problem. If privacy is desired with a chain link fence, fences with vinyl or metal strips woven into them are available.

WALLS. Walls may be used in the landscape to meet aesthetic or functional goals. Retaining walls are designed to retain soil, usually in front of a slope (Figs. 18-24 and 18-25). The general rule of thumb is that for walls less than 4 feet, no special engineering is required. However, it is very important to understand drainage issues with retaining walls Even very short walls can be damaged or destroyed by the forces of water and frost-heaving if drainage behind the wall is not provided. A landscape architect or engineer must design walls that are greater than 4 feet in height. Walls of 3 feet or higher should be buried at least 1 inch for every 8 inches of height. Wall foundations of coarse sand or compacted gravel add stability.

Geogrid is used to stabilize the earth behind a retaining wall or between two tiers of walls, in which the upper tier is set back several feet from the lower one. Geogrid is composed of synthetic polymer-coated fibers woven into a net shape. The 2:1 rule must be followed when making tiered walls, and professional guidance is necessary. Simply put, the 2:1 rule states that an upper wall must be set back 2 feet for every 1 foot in height of the lower wall. For example, if a lower wall is 3 feet high, then the terrace between the top of that wall and the base of the next wall should be at least 6 feet wide. Although the use of geogrid in the terrace area can reduce the required depth of the terrace, someone with engineering knowledge should be consulted before a final decision is made.


Drainage for a retaining wall can be provided in several ways. Sometimes it may be desirable to incorporate more than one method of drainage to ensure long-term stability and longevity of the wall. The primary ways to incorporate drainage are to backfill behind the wall with large gravel and to lay drain tiles at the base behind the wall and run the ends out to free-flowing areas at either end of the wall. Drain tiles, typically made of corrugated, perforated plastic, are buried beneath the large gravel that is then backfilled behind the wall. Another drainage technique that is commonly used with concrete walls is to include weep holes at the base of the wall (Fig. 18-26). Weep holes are commonly 4 inches in diameter. Landscape fabric is often placed between the wall and the backfill material to prevent clogging of the weep holes or drain tiles.



Retaining wall blocks come in a variety of styles and sizes. Interlocking blocks are available with pre-formed lips that allow recessed stacking. Native fieldstone can also be used, but it will be necessary to consider the design to incorporate the necessary setback of the blocks to permit the wall to resist the forces of gravity and pressure from the slope. Walls may be dry-laid or cemented. Dry-laid walls permit water to pass through them and thus may not require the extent of drainage considerations that solid walls require. Walls made from landscape timbers are not as heavy as those of concrete and stone. They require anchoring into the backfill, which is accomplished by laying occasional deadmen (Fig. 18-27). Sleepers are crosspieces attached to the deadmen to further anchor the wall. Timber walls require drainage similar to that used with blocks. Other wall materials include building bricks, concrete blocks, mortared blocks, and cast concrete.



STEPS. Steps are necessary when a slope exceeds 20%. Slope is calculated by dividing the rise (height) by the run (length). Thus, a 1-foot rise over a 5-foot length would require the use of steps. Steps make it easier and safer to walk up and down. They may be built of timbers, blocks, bricks, concrete, or other materials. Rustic steps can be cut into the earth, using timbers just at the leading edge or using stepping stones. Manufacturers of retaining wall blocks have special blocks made for incorporating steps into the retaining wall (Fig, 18-28).

Steps have treads and risers. The tread supports the foot and the riser is the vertical component. A comfortable riser for most people is 6 inches, with a 12-inch deep tread. Deeper treads are common in outdoor situations, especially where gentle slopes occur. All risers should be of equal height to prevent tripping, including both the top and bottom steps.

Although wide, gently rising steps do not necessitate a handrail, one should consider the potential users before deciding against one. Elderly people and children especially appreciate a handrail to hold onto. If safety is a concern, such as on public property, a handrail is recommended.

WATER GARDENS. Water features in the landscape such as fish ponds, ponds with waterfalls, and pondless waterfalls add an interesting and sometimes entertaining element to the landscape design. The possibilities with water gardens increase as plant species not usable elsewhere in the landscape can be accommodated in the water garden (Fig. 18-29). Water features in general attract birds, may add the element of sound to the landscape experience, and are pleasing to sit near. In short, water features attract people (Fig. 18-30).



Ponds are built with two types of liners: molded liners that have a specified shape and size, and nonmolded rubber liner material that can be laid into the form that is dug out in advance.

Water Garden Plants. There are several different types of plants that may be used in a water garden. Thee include marginal plants, floaters, aquatic plants, oxygenators, and bog plants. Marginal plants live in shallow water and do well around the edges of ponds. Their roots are below water and their shoots are above water. Floaters do not have anchoring roots but actually float around in the water. Aquatic plants have their roots anchored into the bottom of the pond or in submerged pots, with leaves floating on the surface of the water. Plants that remain submerged filter and clean the water, providing much needed oxygen while remaining largely unseen. Oxygenators provide habitat for fish. Bog plants grow naturally in saturated soils and provide a nice transition between the lawn and garden and the water feature. Table 18-3 lists plants for water gardens.

Location of Water Gardens. Water garden plants tend to perform better in full sun situations. Fish, however, require some amount of shade during the day. Plants can often provide this, whether they are growing directly in the water or surrounding the water. Be wary of trees and even deciduous shrubs, though. The leaves and needles make extra clean-up work when they drop, and roots may become a problem by invading the pond.

Cleaning and Maintenance. Keep the pond free of fallen leaves and other yard debris. Familiarize yourself with the hardiness of plants used in your pond. Many will be able to over-winter, even in cold climates. However, if you have some tender plants, they may require indoor storage. A floating pond de-icer can prevent ice from closing over the surface of the pond and allow gas exchange. This is important for plants that are over-wintered in the pond.

Plant Installation

While many people focus exclusively on selecting the plants that they will use in their landscape, it is wise to wait until everything else has been finished before adding the plants. For example, irrigation and lighting require digging trenches and laying underground wires or hoses. If this were done after plants were installed it would probably be necessary to dig into the bed for proper placement. Hardscaping may require the use of heavy equipment, removal of subsoil, and so on, in addition to work and staging areas where plants could easily be trampled.


Once the area for a flower bed or garden has been properly hardscaped, then soil preparation can take place. Ground preparation varies, depending on the type of planting. Trees and shrubs may be planted into holes in their designated location without a great deal of preparation. However, flower beds should be prepared by tilling to provide adequate aeration and eliminate existing compaction. If the area was planted to turf formerly, then the turf should be killed using one of the methods presented in chapter 16. These methods include using a general herbicide, killing the turf by covering it with newspaper or plastic, and possibly even eradicating weeds using the solarization method (see also chapter 10).

If tilling is used, it is preferable to allow weed seeds to germinate before flowers are planted. If the area can be tilled at decreasing depths for two or three times, then much of the seed bank present in the soil will have been eliminated before the flowers are planted. The area may be prepared in a similar manner whether the flowers are to be direct-seeded or transplanted into the area. However, if seeds are used, then care must be taken to provide good seed-soil contact and to maintain ample moisture during germination.

If only perennials are to be planted into the area, it may not be possible to skip the tilling after existing plants have been killed or removed. A good compost material that is free of weed seeds should be applied atop the desired area and plants may be dug directly into the soil. In any case, a starter fertilizer should be used immediately after planting. This could be accomplished by applying a water-soluble fertilizer when watering the plants in. After planting, mulch should be applied to the area to reduce weed problems and maintain adequate soil moisture.


A landscape is constantly evolving. Plants grow into their location and require pruning to maintain their aesthetic beauty. Herbaceous perennials require division to maintain proper spacing. Wooden structures require painting or other treatment and possible replacement after many years. Tastes change, and areas may require redesigning. As families change, needs change. Children, pets, aging parents, and changes in income, all affect the needs and desires of owners. Homes acquire additions that affect the surrounding landscape design and require changes. For these and other reasons, even the most complete landscape is never finished.

Ongoing efforts in the landscape can be divided into regular and longer term maintenance activities. Some of these activities, such as pruning of shade trees, may require more attention early in the establishment of the plants and then require less attention for many years, as long as the tree remains healthy and undamaged. Other activities, such as mowing, fertilizing, and applying mulch will be required monthly, seasonally, or annually. Frost-heaving may result in uplifting of bricks, blocks, or cracking of concrete. These are less of a concern if the materials were properly installed with consideration for the frost line and if walls were provided with proper drainage. Nevertheless, these activities may be required from time to time.

Although trees and shrubs should not require watering once they are established, flower beds may require supplemental watering in areas or times of low rainfall. Fertilizing is important for all plants and should not be neglected.

Tree pruning can be kept to a minimum if training is practiced early in the tree's life (see chapter 11). Shrub pruning should be done annually. Depending on growth habit and the individual's preference, some perennials may be pruned during the growing season, and ornamental grasses may be burned in the spring before new growth begins.


Landscape design brings the aesthetic and artistic element to plant cultivation. It imposes another layer of structure that exceeds mere culture and attempts to create a sense of place or otherwise impose a human touch on nature. The landscape design process consists of a data gathering stage, a processing of information stage, and a final stage of integrating the information and coming up with a plan. Design principles are implemented to achieve desired effects. A final design is often more than a combination of plantings, but may incorporate sidewalks, driveways, garden paths, and constructed features such as pergolas and arbors. Use areas are identified during the data-gathering stage. Installation may include planting, irrigation design and installation, lighting, hardscaping, paved areas, and even fences, walls, steps and water features.

Landscape maintenance processes are the same as those mentioned in earlier chapters on plant cultivation but also may include leaf collection, hardscape maintenance, and winterizing water features. Construction and other nonhorticultural skills are required for some aspects of landscaping. Some even require the help of a licensed professional. However, by following the steps outlined here, it is possible to achieve the desired aesthetic results by enlisting the help of others and following the general principles involved.


* Conduct a site analysis of your family's home. Include a drawing of the house and property lines if they are available. Locate all major woody plants and flower beds, vegetable gardens, and so on. Make a list of existing features and their positive and negative qualities.

* Conduct a family inventory of property owners whom you know. Visit with them at the property location and walk around to discuss changes they would like to make, improvements, and other ideas they have about the property. Create a design plan based on the information.


1. Name three hardscape structures.

2. What are the steps in the process of landscape design?

3. What is the purpose of the site analysis and family inventory?

4. What is a design program? What is its purpose?

5. Discuss the objectives of a functional drawing, including what the drawings include. Do the same for preliminary and final plans.

6. Softer leads are darker/lighter than harder leads. Beginning with 1B for a soft lead, the numbers get larger/smaller as the leads get softer. Beginning with 1H for a hard lead, the numbers get larger/ smaller as the leads get harder.

7. What dimensions are depicted in the plan view? Elevation view? Perspectives?

8. Name and describe the uses of the areas or outdoor rooms of the home landscape.

9. List and briefly describe the principles of design.

10. Discuss the importance of providing drainage behind a retaining wall and describe how this is accomplished.


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Ingels, J. (2003). Landscaping principles and practices (6th ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning.

Sauter, D. (2002). Plan it, dig it, build it. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning.

Sauter, D. (2004). Landscape construction (2nd ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning.

Dr. Marietta Loehrlein currently teaches horticulture classes at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. She earned both her bachelor's degree in Agronomy and her master's degree in Plant Genetics at The University of Arizona. Her master's research project was concerned with germination problems associated with triploid seeds, from which seedless watermelons grow. Following that she worked for 5 years in a breeding and research program for Sunworld, International near Bakersfield, California. She worked with peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, and cherries. Then she returned to school to earn her Ph.D. in Horticultural Genetics at The Pennsylvania State University. Her Ph.D. research focused on flowering processes in regal pelargonium (also called Martha Washington geraniums). While at The Pennsylvania State University, she bred a new cultivar of regal pelargonium, "Camelot." At Western Illinois University, Dr. Loehrlein teaches nine courses: Greenhouse and Nursery Management, Introductory Horticulture, Landscape Design, Landscape Management, Home Horticulture, Plant Propagation, Turf Management, and two courses in Plant Identification.
TABLE 18-1
Site Analysis Checklist

ITEM                         INFORMATION           COMMENT        OTHER

Soil texture
Soil pH
Soil fertility
Buried electrical lines
Telephone poles
Other utility features on-site
Existing trees
Existing shrubs
Existing flower beds
Existing plantings: screening
Existing plantings: foundation plants
Other planted areas
Sidewalk condition and location
Property lines located
Architectural style of house
New walkways or driveway desired?
Existing views from house
Existing views from landscape
Desirable views to maintain
Undesirable views to screen
Other observations

TABLE 18-2
Family Inventory

ITEM                                         COMMENT              OTHER
Family members: number and ages
Hobbies of family members
Public area
Focal point
Entry walk
Fences, walls, etc.
Family living area
Hobby garden (herb, cut flower, etc.)
Flower bed(s)
Fruit trees
Small fruits/berries
Pergola, trellis, arbor, etc.
Sitting area
Entertaining area
Outdoor kitchen
Entertaining: group size
Seating area
Game area
Pet area
Children's play area
Private area
Hot tub
Service area
Trash cans
Vegetable garden
Water feature
Attract wildlife

TABLE 18-3

Plants for Water Gardens

COMMON NAME            SPECIES                 TYPE

American lotus         Nelumbo lutea           Aquatic

Arrowhead              Sagittaria              Marginal

Asian lotus            Nelumbo nucifera        Aquatic

Black leaf taro        Colocasia esculenta     Bog plants

Bog bean               Menyanthes              Bog plants

Cattails               Typha laxmannii         Marginal

Club rush              Schoenoplectus          Bog plants
                         lacustris subsp.

Corkscrew rush         Juncus effusus          Bog plants

Eelgrass               Vallisneria             Oxygenators

Egyptian paper reed    Cyperus papyrus         Bog plants

Fairy moss             Azolla caroliniana      Floater

Flamingo plant         Oenanthe javanica       Bog plants

Frogbit                Limnobium spongia       Floater

Golden club            Orontium aquaticum      Bog plants

Grassy-leaved          Acorus gramineus        Bog plants
  sweet flag

Gray fanwort           Cabomba caroliniana     Oxygenators

Hardy water lily       Nymphaea species        Aquatic
                         and cultivars

Hardy white            Hedychium coronarium    Bog plants
  butterfly ginger

Horsetail              Equisetum hyemale       Bog plants

Irises                 Iris versicolor,        Bog plants
                         Iris ensata,
                         Iris siberica,
                         Iris pseudoacorus

Lavender musk          Mimulus ringens         Bog plants

Lesser spearwort       Ranunculus flammula     Bog plants

Little floating        Nymphoides cordata      Oxygenators

Lizard's tail          Saururus cernuus        Bog plants

Marsh marigold         Caltha palustris        Bog plants

Native water canna     Canna flaccida          Bog plants

Pickerel rush          Pontederia cordata      Bog plants

Scarlet swamp          Hibiscus coccineus      Bog plants

Spider lily            Hymenocallis species    Bog plants
                         and cultivars

Swamp rose mallow      Hibiscus moscheutos     Bog plants

Sweet flag             Acorus calamus          Bog plants

Thalia                 Thalia geniculata       Bog plants
                         f. ruminoides,
                         Thalia dealbata

Tropical water         Nymphaea capensis,      Aquatic
  lilies                 Nymphaea colorata,
                         Nymphaea gigantea,
                         Nymphaea lotus,
                         and Nymphaea rubra

Umbrella palm          Cyperus                 Bog plants

Underwater             Nymphoides aquatica     Oxygenators
  banana plant

Variegated             Baumea rubiginosa       Bog plants
  striped rush           'Variegata'

Water arum             Peltandra virginica     Bog plants

Water bamboo           Dulichium               Bog plants

Water forget-me-not    Myosotis                Bog plants

Water hyacinth         Eichhornia crassipes    Floater

Water lettuce          Pistia stratioides      Floater

Water mint             Mentha aquatica         Bog plants

Water plantain         Alisma plantago-        Bog plants

Yellow floating        Nymphoides peltata      Oxygenators
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Author:Loehrlein, Marietta M.
Publication:Home Horticulture: Principles and Practices
Date:Jan 1, 2008
Previous Article:Chapter 17: ornamental trees, shrubs, and groundcovers.
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