Oftentimes, homeowners desire to make a change in their landscape and have questions about how to get started. However, they may feel a bit intimidated to ask. Recently, Mary Palmer sent out an invitation for our readers and friends to send us their landscape design questions, great and small, providing each inquiry with an informative answer. Below are some of the questions sent in, along with Mary Palmer’s responses.
Beautiful photo! I am wondering about the actual design process itself. Do you begin with taking photos, sketches of spatial concepts, etc.?
I am a plant lover, so immediately go to what I want to plant, and get overwhelmed with the choices. Just curious what your own process is on the initial steps. Thanks! (AZ)
Your question indicates that you have the design gene!
Yes, there are distinct steps involved. Sometimes, just a photo of an area begging for improvement and sketches on that photo are all that is needed. Use the art elements and design principles to make it a pleasing picture. I have some great blog posts about this at www.dargan.com/blog. All plants have distinct shapes.
For deeper study
- Create a program of needs and goals
- Discover the raw potential of the property by analyzing its salient raw, built and living components
- Use the PLACE system to provide a framework for future decisions which include dpatial arrangements of use areas like terraces, parking improvements, etc.
- Evaluate your long term needs in terms of lifelong Landscape design and learn the Principles of the 4 part master plan (2 of my books!) .
- Then work in harmony at ground level !
It’s design in a nutshell! Please let me know if you want to learn more!
My Sprout program is the springboard to success!
Happy new year to you and your garden!
Dear Mary Palmer,
I need to know of a tropical plant that can deal with total shade AND morning sun in Texas. We want symmetrical plants on either side of a doorway. What do you think of Sago Palms?
They are the ideal plant, Anne. There is a whole range of cycads (sago palms family) and a trip to a great nursery will share ones that are not soooo prickly. Some come with softer foliage, a naturally rounded form and a glossy green, too… Very appealing on either side of a front door.
I appreciate you writing!
What flowers and plants would you use for a colorful border for a long, curved stone front walkway? (NM)
Great jumping jehozepah! Is this a Cashiers or FL garden?
The curving walkway is universal… Lumps of anchor plants at each end and a focal point plant of an interesting texture or form can be in the curve. A carpet of ground cover under the focal point. Is it sun or shade, wind or sheltered?
Great question, Nan. Send me a photo! Xxx
We’ll have more questions and answers from Mary Palmer to share with you at a later date, so stay tuned to our blog! In the meantime, if you have a question for Mary Palmer, feel free to leave it in a comment below. If you’d like to speak with Mary Palmer or one of the Dargan Landscape Architects team members about creating a master plan or tune-up for your landscape, contact us today! We’d love to hear your ideas and share how we can help you achieve the garden you’ve always wanted!