Q&A: Expert answers to landscape design questions

By Judy Nauseef, APLD, ICNP

Q: What is the most common problem you see in landscape design, and is there a quick fix you can share with us?

A: The most common problem a landscape designer sees in the existing landscape of a new client is a home that floats or sits uncomfortably on a lot. If there is any landscaping in the front of the house, it usually consists of a few foundation shrubs. The challenge to the designer is to connect the house to the land, emphasizing the best characteristics of the house. Frequently, the porch and walk are already in place, and when the house is relatively new, the clients will be reluctant to take them out and replace them. The day after this landscape was installed (see photos), birds and insects found the garden — delighting the owners — and neighbors who had never spoken with the residents of this home came to visit. A newly designed new entry garden for a home can have the greatest impact of any landscaped area in the yard. Try the following design tools:

Draw a bed at least twice the depth of the porch to create a comfortable proportion and to accommodate layers of plants.
Use stone and pavers for stepping stones and edging to add hardscape texture economically.
Create a design with flowing lines, a mixture of shrubs (coniferous, deciduous and flowering) and perennials to add form, color and scent to the landscape.
Plan a garden that provides a serene walk to the door for visitors and makes the landscape and the house one entity.
Consider a habitat for a diversity of plants, birds and insects. These natural elements anchor the built structure to the land.

Judy Nauseef, APLD, ICNP, of Judy Nauseef Landscape Design, is past president of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD). She is an Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association (INLA) Certified Nursery Professional (ICNP) and a Certified Member of the APLD. For more information, visit www.judynauseeflandscapedesign.com

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