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Quality Landscaping Tips to Grow Your Design Success - The Advanced Guide Series

guide to choosing trees for landscape design

guide for roadside landscape design

guide for landscape restoration and mitigation

guide for landscape design

guide for choosing plants for landscape design

guide for using flowers in the landscape







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Landscape Design Trends - Roof Gardens

Tread carefully!

landscape trends, roof gardenA roof is an unused space just waiting for a creative landscape design, and planting it can have a mitigating effect on the environment of the building, but keep in mind the huge weight and damage wet soil can bring to the structure. No matter how sturdy the roof, plant material options will be limited, because of the limited root space on a roof. Large trees, even if they are located above structural columns in the building, need more room for root growth than a rooftop garden can provide. Use plant material suited to roof gardens—Sedums, Junipers, Herbs, Daylilies, vines, and ornamental grasses.

If you don’t know the weight and load your garden design will put on a roof, you could be creating a very dangerous, elevated Eden. Hire a structural engineer and check building codes. Don’t play with the idea of growing plants on a roof without careful load and drainage calculations. Use special structural soil manufactured to be light-weight. Provide an over-designed underground drainage system to accommodate future plant growth.

A roof garden must be able to withstand extreme weather and earthquake activity. If it fails under stress, all the floor below it can be damaged. A leaking roof can destroy an entire building. Rooftops that carry gardens must be able to carry wet soil and drain properly. Retrofitting an older building is difficult to do successfully, so the best rooftop garden for an older building is a garden of large planters. New buildings can be designed to accommodate a roof garden, and offer better opportunities to create a safe, successful structure.

Landscape Designers are Keepers of Natural Beauty

Trendy Landscape Design

trends in landscape designTrends in the landscape industry focus on single issues—pollinators, roof gardens, vertical green space, climate resiliency, or the exhausted term, sustainability. Addressing these issues can harmonize well with a steady focus on landscape beauty, if done right. Placing too much attention on the latest trendy issue can take focus away from creating a beautiful, successful landscape design.

Lasting landscape design is about beautiful outdoor spaces. A sophisticated landscape plan incorporates components that fit responsibly with the natural environment. A sensitive design works efficiently with the drainage and water basins in which it exists. A self-sufficient design anticipates maintenance needs and minimize them. A beautiful design mixes plants with contrasting colors and textures, providing diversity. A successful design is installed well and is skillfully maintained to make it stay healthy and last. A beautiful outdoor space provides a legacy of enrichment to the people who use it without forgetting stewardship.

Seven Major Roadside Design Checks

Design Checklist

Every time you create a roadside landscape design, you need to do a quick check of a few things before starting. It’s surprising how nicely this pulls together your concept and moves you toward a great design! By checking these items initially, you can map out the basic configuration of use zones, which develops the structural framework from which your design can be based. Sometimes, after doing this, a shape calls out to you. Block out zones for setbacks, vertical clearance, overly steep slopes, clear sight lines, sign visibility, guard rails, and utility easements to keep your landscape design free of safety conflicts. Consider the following items your first priority.

• Setbacks and the Clear Zone

Keep any tree you propose on public rights of way well beyond the required safety clear zone to avoid creating a fixed object that might be hit by an errant driver that runs off the road. This gives the driver an opportunity to recover and get back on the road without injury or damage to the vehicle.

• Tree Canopy Clearance

Leave an adequate vertical space open along the road travel way to avoid overhanging branches from slapping against panel trucks driving near the edge of the road.

• Slope Steepness

Plant material can barely establish on slopes steeper than 3:1, and mowing on steeper slopes is not possible to do safely. The clear zone doesn’t exist for slopes steeper than this.

• Sight Lines

Drivers need to be able to see oncoming traffic when they attempt to turn into or cross over public roadways. It is the designer’s responsibility to keep sight lines open.