Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Landscape Research

First, I would like to say that today we had class.  It was really fun to get back with fellow WISE students and talk about what we are all doing.  Mrs.Gergely also informally raised the bar.  She said that we should be journaling 3 posts minimum a week, and that's just the minimum.  So maybe it is in our best interest to up the ante.  In class we also made a recipe for an excellent journal entry.  Things to keep in mind when I blog:
-Add pictures, add personal input, edit the post, update frequently, don't be repetitive, stay positive about the project and  be creative! Got it?

I must say though- this post may be a tad boring.  It's just a bunch of research that I would like to do to heighten my knowledge.  If I can figure out how to have a separate tab on my blog specifically for research, I will definitely do that instead.

Disclaimer- Research below is very basic, and may seem like common knowledge.  But it's good to start from the beginning and work your way up from a solid foundation!

Research Focus: Backyard Landscaping
- A backyard space can be modified and designed for any life-style, need, use or preference.
- Plan first before designing; make a list of what you want in your backyard
-Start with objectives that will help you achieve your goal with a minimum of time, expense, and work.
-People will not use areas that are hard to get to, so make sure there is easy access between all areas of the space, for example walking paths
-Patios in the form of courtyards go back to the gardens of ancient Egypt
-Patios can be used to make a wasted space usable again; it can also be used for outdoor activities such as sitting, eating, cooking, etc.
-Patios, again, should be designed based on needs.  Big/small? Sun or shaded? secluded or convenient?
-Patios are permanent, and therefore need to be planned in great detail before started
-Plants surrounding patios should add color, form and should not require constant pruning
-Decks combine the comfort and low maintenance of the indoors with the openness of nature
-Plants can be placed on the deck instead of beyond it; these plants need to be in containers and therefore need more frequent watering
-Planting decks around existing trees can provide shade and interest, and can be fairly simple, just cut holes in the deck where the tree is standing

-Built in benches and raised planters can also be added to a deck
-Plan what you want your space to be used the most for, ex: if volleyball is an option, do not fill the space with trees and shrubs. 
-Making outdoor patios and decks too large is a common mistake
-If time spent in the garden is mostly at night, plant white blooms for a shimmering setting
-Garden lighting adds atmosphere and safety- lamps, footpath lighting, candles, and hanging lanterns are all options
-Fire pits and space heaters can be perfect for warming the space on cool evenings

Planning a Project:
The present:
-List what about the space is most enjoyable.  This way you will be sure not to destroy these features as you continue with your design plan.
-Every design should add ease, comfort and delight to the space.  Therefore specific needs should be thought out before hand
-Add nothing to the space without having a purpose to it; whether that be to solve one of your yard's problems or to accent one of its best features
-Look around at other landscapes and pick out good and bad points of each    

Here is a picture of what landscape sketch symbols look like.  This picture just shows tree symbols, but there are all kinds of others like symbols for brick patios, mulch, etc.

This picture, below, I like. I like the tree as the vocal point, it provides shade and atmosphere.  It also looks like there is some open lawn in the background for other activities.  I would change a few things to this space, though.  I would add to the patio with tables and chairs or some kind of system for relaxing.  I would also want to make sure that the tree does not block the view from the house window to the outside.  Lastly, I think I would stain the fence a darker color in order to add to the sort of wet looking environment. 

Reading this step-by-step landscaping first was super inspiring. It really made landscaping look a lot less intimidating.  Plus it got my brainstorming on other ideas for upcoming weeks.  I could observe other landscapes around Ithaca to see what I like and dislike.  I can also do my own practice design sketches, using areas like my back yard for example.

Citation for my research:
Blume, James D. Step-by-step Landscaping: Planning, Planting, Building. Des Moines, IA: Meredith,       1991. Print.

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