“The first step to getting anywhere is deciding that you’re not going to stay where you are.” -JP Morgan
“Your current situation does not determine where you can go. They simply determine where to start. – Nido Qubein
“Every day is a fresh start, an opportunity to do what needs to be done and not be seen as just another day of spending time.” –Catherine Pulsifer
“Every moment is a new beginning.” – TS Eliot
Decorating your landscape for curb appeal and function helps provide outdoor living spaces for personal and social enjoyment. This can be accomplished through the proper use of enrichment items and selective hardscapes.
Many landscaping products are on the market to create elegant and graceful walkways, geometric or curvilinear lawn and garden paths, beautiful and functional patios, and impressive outdoor spaces which may include benches and seating, hearths and chimneys, steps and stones.
Additionally, investing in landscaping to enhance and enrich the curb appeal of your home increases the economic and aesthetic value of your home and property.
In landscaping and ground maintenance practice, hardscapes refer to paved areas such as driveways, sidewalks, patios, and yards where the actual upper ground profile is no longer the surface exposed to the elements.
A balance must be struck between the use of landscaping and the availability of grass and beds to allow infiltration and minimize the amount of water that must be removed by actual drainage systems. Any imbalance or lack of proper capacity can cause major flooding situations after heavy rains or storms.
Landscaping projects, like everything else, need to be planned carefully to minimize common mistakes and provide a space that can be enjoyed for many seasons and years.
First, consider the entire area as a whole in the design process, even if the project will be developed in parts or segments. Think of it through the vision of your home’s structure – you’re planning the whole house, not one room at a time every year.
For example, you want to undo incorrect patio placement this season, which will hinder expansion next season and will need to be removed or broken. Strive to design appropriate placement of your usage areas.
Second, a very serious potential problem is ignoring drainage. Never ignore drainage. If you do, the end result can be very ugly and expensive.
You need to know that the area will be properly drained and what impact your patio or wall project might have on drainage (surface and below surface) and what issues need to be addressed before construction.
From an environmental perspective, you should design your project so that any runoff can be collected or directed so that it can be used on site. Otherwise, it will be wasted leaving the site through the drainage pipes.
Also, any material used as landscaping should blend into the landscape. For example, boulders that are placed on the ground as part of a site development do not blend in as effectively as those that are partially buried in that part of the landscape.
These rocks which are partially buried blend together and appear as a natural component.
Also, appropriately reflect on the natural lines of space in the landscape rather than rigid geometric shapes and forms. Include curves and irregular shapes that allow landscape components to transition and flow more gracefully into the rest of the landscape. Rectangular or square patios may not be the best “shape” answer to your situation.
Additionally, develop a strong balance and complementarity between the use of green vegetation and hard surfaces. Know when to “green” it with grasses and ground covers and when to “grey” it with concrete, stepping stones or brick – the choice is yours.
Turf is a much safer playing surface for children and also helps to cool the landscape on sunny days, while paving better serves traffic patterns and heavy-use apartments or landings.
Whether your goal is a casual or more formal hardscape, make sure it has a well-defined style that matches your agenda. In your style and with the help of a professional, select a few materials that complement rather than contrast both the interior and exterior of your home and are visually creative. Don’t oversimplify with one color or one material.
Always buy a few more bricks or stones than you have calculated, as the extra quantities can be used to highlight beds, add stepping stones or provide landings. These additional features will complement the dominant landscape and provide more effective continuity.
When selecting landscaping, consider price, quality, availability, durability, longevity, weather resistance, color and complementary features. Price doesn’t always determine quality, but know that you can’t normally get something for nothing. Be cost conscious and do your homework researching the materials available for the best investment (shop around).
Also, make sure the site has been properly prepared with proper shaping, grading, firming, sloping, drainage, preparation and base construction, and following sound specifications. Track every step of development through observation and inspection to ensure effective quality control and proper execution.
If you are unfamiliar with the project, seek out the appropriate resources for proper assistance. Don’t wait until the project is complete as many errors may have already been covered at this point.
Increased property values, reduced maintenance costs and instant curb appeal can result from effective landscaping. When planning your landscaping designs in the landscape, always keep sustainability and environmental friendliness in mind. Always be selective and limit the volume of items to include in your hardscapes so that clutter doesn’t become an issue.
“For the grace of God has appeared which offers salvation to all men. It teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live controlled, righteous, godly lives in the present day…” – Titus 2:11-12
“Be imitators of God like beloved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 5:1-2
“Seek the good and not the bad, in order to live. Then the Almighty Lord God will be with you, as you say. – Amos 5:14
Dr Eddie Seagle is Sustainability Auditor, Golf Environment Organization (Scotland), Agronomist and Horticulturist, CSI: Seagle (Consulting Services International) LLC, Professor Emeritus and Honorary Alumnus (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College), Distinguished Professor for Teaching and apprenticeship (University System of Georgia) and short-term missionary (Heritage Church, Moultrie). Address your inquiries to [email protected]