Do you cut out and collect magazine pictures of great landscaping ideas?
Do you have a photo album of, say, a stately English mansion that you’d love to
use for your home landscape design in
Houston? Have you admired the plants
and trees of European countryside estates and wondered if they would grow on the
Texas coastal plains? If so, then you have a beautiful start to turning your
landscaping ideas into reality.
Landscaping Ideas: The
Landscape design starts with ideas. Your ideas—before you bring
in the professionals. It is the time to write down not only your needs, but also
your wishes and deepest desires. This is true whether you want to landscape a
two-acre homestead or install a small garden design.
Jeff Halper, landscape design specialist with Exterior
Worlds, says, “Landscaping ideas help in your own landscaping design process.
The more landscape ideas and photos one has, the better. Even landscaping ideas
of things one doesn’t like can help landscape designers and landscape architects achieve the desired results.”
Ideas: Elements to Consider
• Hardscapes. Hardscapes—the
non-plant material of your landscape design—play a critical part of any garden
landscape project. Types of hardscapes include pathways, retaining walls, pool
decking and driveways. You will need to make material choices that range from
basic concrete to decorative stone and brick to wooden decking.
swimming pools. A swimming pool is a necessity for any upscale home. It finishes off
the design of the house because it is a natural extension of your indoor living
space. All choices about a pool should factor in safety. One way to do it is
through the use of fences. Halper points out that they can be built in a
non-intrusive way. “We like to hide fences and gates by weaving them among
shrubbery. This method makes the pool area safe, up to code and aesthetically
pleasing,” he says.
• Outdoor water fountains. Outdoor water fountains come in a multitude of shapes, sizes and styles. Additional
features can be added, such as a cascading waterfall or a contemporary wall
fountain. Whatever style you prefer, the main thing to remember is that your
overall landscape will be improved if you use an outdoor water fountain that
coordinates with the style of your home and garden.
kitchens. Decisions to make concerning your outdoor kitchen include whether to cover it or not. You will want to
consider the overall size needed. For instance, for the chairs at the dining
table, you need at least two feet away from any other element, especially the
grill or any step-downs. Be sure to plan for adequate cabinet space. Counter top
options include tile, granite, stone and concrete. Also you’ll have choices
regarding overhead fans and types of refrigeration.
Landscaping Ideas: Theme Possibilities
Modern landscape design. Modern garden design tends to focus on scale rather
than formal or classic designs that are based on axial relationships from Greek,
Roman, and classical architectural traditions. The architecture of the house
needs to be carefully considered when using a contemporary garden design. The home and landscape can be tied together through
selective use of plantings or the intelligent placement of a hardscape feature,
such as an organic pathway to the front door.
• Formal landscape
design. Formal landscape design invokes order and balance. Think of the
gardens of Monticello, the landscaping of Versailles, and, closer to home, the
gardens of Bayou Bend, which is part of the Museum of Fine Arts,
• English garden design. The English garden design is all
about curved beds, winding paths and free-flowing color. The gardener’s hand is
light. There—but just barely. Houston’s semi-tropical climate is well suited for
vine-covered pergolas, sunny rose gardens, and sparkling azalea beds—all plant
materials that fit well within the English garden’s concept of
• Mediterranean landscape design. The phrase to live by in
this style is “Old World ambiance.” Favored materials include stone, weathered
bricks, terra cotta tiles, flagstone, tumbled travertine, wooden beams, wrought
iron, classical statuary and Roman columns, and outdoor furniture that evokes
Arabian, Moroccan or Italian sensibilities.
Working in the Houston area since 1987, Exterior Worlds provides
landscaping ideas and services to neighborhoods such as the Memorial Villages of
Piney Point Village, Bunker Hill Village and Hunter Creek Village. Contact info: