Landscaping a Small Space

Designing and landscaping small spaces is one of my favorite things to do. I tend be be somewhat of a private person myself, so I enjoy creating intimate, private spaces. There is something therapeutic about being outside, yet having that feeling that you are still “in your room”. Sort of like relaxing in your den or your favorite chair after a long day. There are a lot of things to consider when landscaping a small space, but I will hit a few of the basics

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A well designed space can be the difference between actually enjoying your time in the space, or just looking at it from your window, wishing you would have spent your money on that new hardwood floor. .

The first thing to do is to ask yourself some questions. Don’t forget to consider practicality as well as esthetics.”What am I going to use the area for? Entertaining? Do I just need a place to put my grill or do I also want room for patio furniture and a hot tub?” Questions like this will help you determine the size, the location (a grill would normally be close to the kitchen, for example) and how you will access it. What features would you like to see? How about a water feature, such as a pond or bubbling rock? Do you want a paver patio, a deck, or just a small area of grass? If you need a walkway will it be flagstone, pavers, or any of the new concrete products available? In the photo above, the large piece of flagstone to the right of the sidewalk will be where the grill goes. The two large boulders integrated into the sidewalk and the flower pots do nice job of framing the door to the three season porch.

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Just like a room in your house, your outdoor room also has walls, a floor, and a ceiling. The walls could be a hedge, your house, a fence, or even a low  flagstone wall. The ceiling could be an arbor, the canopy of a large tree, or even the sky. The floor, can be composed of any number of things, including a  patio, a walkway, planting beds and even your lawn. Consider how you want to incorporate these elements in to your space to create your outdoor room. In the job we did in photo at the left, the walls are a lattice fence, the house, and a small detached garage. The sky is the canopy of a shade tree, and the floor is combination of a paver patio, a raised planting bed, some lawn, and a flagstone walkway. The raised planting bed could also be considered part of the wall. (Click on photo to enlarge)

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Don’t be afraid to consider breaking up your room into into smaller segments. This can create interest and also give you the feeling that it is actually a bit larger by creating depth. Make sure you keep it in scale, however. For instance, don’t use pieces of flagstone in your walkway that are too large, or a plant that that has large leaves instead of one with

a finer texture that will look better in a narrow planting bed. In these photos I used a walkway, raised planting beds, and a small patch of lawn to break up the space. The lattice fence screens the area from a neighboring daycare center. The lattice-work creates privacy without feeling too boxed in.

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In the lower left photo, the boulder in the foreground and the trunks of the Pagoda Dogwood in the background add a feeling of depth.The Pagoda Dogwood forces your eye to follow the sidewalk around it to the entrance, adding an illusion of a larger area.The wooden steps are actually quite close to where I was standing when I took this picture.
Right: A little serendipity never hurt anybody! In this picture, a small, old stature my client picked up is combined with a birdbath. You can find them hiding on a low stone seat-wall in among the ferns.

The photo at the below is the view of our pond from our bedroom window, and shows what can be done with a problem area. The pond itself is 11′ by 16′

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Landscaping a small space

Designing and landscaping small spaces is one of my favorite things to do. I tend be be somewhat of a private person myself, so I enjoy creating intimate, private spaces. There is something therapeutic about being outside, yet having that feeling that you are still “in your room”. Sort of like relaxing in your den or your favorite chair after a long day. There are a lot of things to consider when landscaping a small space, but I will hit a few of the basics

A well designed space can be the difference between actually enjoying spending time in the space, or just looking at it from your window, wishing you would have spent your money on that new hardwood floor. .

The first thing to do is to ask yourself some questions. Don’t forget to consider practicality as well as esthetics.”What am I going to use the area for? Entertaining? Do I just need a place to put my grill or do I also want room for patio furniture and a hot tub?” Questions like this will help you determine the size, the location (a grill would normally be close to the kitchen, for example) and how you will access it. What features would you like to see? How about a water feature, such as a pond or bubbling rock? Do you want a paver patio, a deck, or just a small area of grass? If you need a walkway will it be flagstone, pavers, or any of the new concrete products available? In the photo above, the large piece of flagstone to the right of the sidewalk is where the future grill goes. The two large boulders integrated into the sidewalk and the flower pots do nice job of framing the door to the three season porch as you approach the entrance.

LP 1 (30).JPG Just like a room in your house, your outdoor room also has walls, a floor, and a ceiling. The walls could be a hedge, your house, a fence, or even a low flagstone wall. The ceiling could be an arbor, the canopy of a large tree, or even a starry night sky. The floor, can be composed of any number of things, including a patio, a walkway, planting beds and even your lawn. Consider how you want to incorporate these elements in to your space to create your outdoor room. In the job we did in the photo at the left, the walls are a lattice fence, the house, and a small detached garage. The openness of  the lattice-work creates privacy without feeling too boxed in and also serves as a screen  from a neighboring daycare center.   The raised planting bed could also be considered part of the wall. The ceiling is the canopy of a shade tree, and the floor is combination of a paver patio, some lawn, and flagstone leading to the patio.(Click on photo to enlarge)

Don’t be afraid to consider breaking up your room into into smaller segments. This can create interest and also give you the feeling that it is actually a bit larger by creating depth. Make lpic1 (3).JPGsure you keep it in scale, however. For instance, don’t use pieces of flagstone in your walkway that are too large, or a plant that that has large leaves instead of one with a finer texture that will look better in a narrow planting bed. In these photos I used a walkway, raised planting beds, and a small patch of lawn to break up the space.

In the lower left photo (seen from the 3 season porch in the upper photo), the boulder in the foreground and the trunks of the Pagoda Dogwood in the background break up the space and add a feeling of depth.The Pagoda Dogwood forces your eye to follow the LP 1 (15).JPGsidewalk around it to thLP 1 (49).JPGe entrance, adding an illusion of a larger area. The wooden steps you see are actually quite close to where I was standing when I took this picture.
Right: A little serendipity never hurt anybody! This small, old stature my client picked up is combined with a birdbath. You can find them hiding on a low stone seat-wall in among the ferns.

 

If you would like help on a landscape design for your home, just give me a call or e-mail me and I will be glad to help.

Posted By Doug Grove, Grove Landscaping, Northfield, MN

Farmer’s Almanac: Weather predictions for 2011

Farmer's Almanac, 1883

Farmer’s Almanac, has always been known for its long range forecasts. But it also contains a lot of other information, such as gardening tips, tide tables, moon phases, astronomy and articles on farming. It has been around for over 225 years, making it the longest running periodical ever.

You can also check out the weather history for any given day all the way back to1946.

According to the Almanac, winter was supposed to be a bit drier than normal.  March is (or was) predicted to be a snowy month. Looks like they may have got their months turned around. April and May will be cooler and a bit drier than normal, with a chance for significant snowfall in mid-April


.April and May will be much cooler and a bit drier than normal, with a chance for significant snowfall in mid-April.

 

APRIL 2011: temperature 37 ° (4 ° below avg.); precipitation 1″ (1″ below avg.);

Apr 1-8: Sunny, cool;

Apr 9-10: Sunny, warm;

Apr 11-14:  Rain to snow, then sunny, cold;

Apr 15-17: Showers, mild;

Apr 18-30: Rain to snow, then sunny, cool.

 

MAY 2011: temperature 51 ° (4 ° below avg.); precipitation 2.5″ (0.5″ below avg.);

May 1-8: Rainy periods, cool;

May 9-11: Showers, seasonable;

May 12-17: A few t-storms, turning warm;

May 18-23: T-storms, then sunny, chilly;

May 24-31: Scattered t-storms, seasonable

Summer will be hotter and drier than normal. The hottest periods will occur in mid- to late June, early July, and mid-August.

September and October will be much cooler and slightly drier than normal.

This web site is fun to “poke around” on. It has something of interest for everybody. If you like to throw a line in the water now and then, check out their “Best days to fish”.