Monday, September 11, 2006

Evaluate your Landscape

This is the perfect time of year to evaluate your landscape. Most plants still have all of their foliage and are in full form. Walk your property and take photographs, preferably with a digital camera, of your favorite spaces and/or plant combinations. Take photos of the areas that bug you, too. Sometimes having a two dimensional image to look at allows you to "see" it differently than when you're actually out in the space or even viewing it from a window.

You can use your photos in several different ways. First, compare your favorite landscape areas with those that are a "problem." What are the differences? Look for contrast in plant height, form, or texture---is there enough of it? If you are comparing flower plantings you could also check for bloom density and color combinations.

Next, and here's where those digital images are ideal, convert your photos to black and white. The exclusion of color will allow you to look at your plantings, again, with a totally new eye. Check again for contrast in sizes and shapes of plants, foliage and flowers. Now also look for repetition. By repeating the use of a specific plant, say a shrub or an ornamental grass, throughout the entire landscape, you create a visual thread that ties everything together. Also, by repeating the use of individual plants by planting them together in groups you can create more visual impact and your garden will "read" more clearly.

Finally, use your photos to create a season- by- season (or even month-to-month) record of your landscape. You can then refer to this at any time to plan your next, best, outdoor project!

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