Dig­gin’ In: Land­scape de­sign­ers can help you prune your yard plan into shape

The Progress-Index - At Home - - News - BY KATHY VAN MULLEKOM

Never un­der­es­ti­mate the value of pro­fes­sional land­scape de­sign­ers. Trained to know what plants work best and what de­signs func­tion best, they can save you time, money and heartache.

“There is much more to land­scap­ing than pop­ping shrubs around a house,” says Peggy Krapf, a mem­ber of the Vir­ginia So­ci­ety of Land­scape De­sign­ers — www.vsld.org.

“Good land­scap­ing has a real artis­tic com­po­nent — in­te­grat­ing ar­chi­tec­ture, plants and func­tion­al­ity — sim­i­lar to in­te­rior dec­o­rat­ing.”

Here’s what Peggy and two other Vir­ginia land­scape de­sign­ers say about good gar­den de­sign:

Con­sider your ar­chi­tec­ture

“I love to bring the ar­chi­tec­ture of the house into the gar­den.”

“Con­nect­ing them with fenc­ing is a won­der­ful way to en­close the gar­den — mak­ing it feel like an ex­ten­sion of the house. Be sure to use com­pat­i­ble ma­te­ri­als and col­ors in the out­door spa­ces. If your home has a brick foun­da­tion, be sure to choose a match­ing or blend­ing color for walks and path­ways. Pick

out paint col­ors for fenc­ing, fur­ni­ture and sheds that echo the ac­cent or trim col­ors on the house. Choose a fa­vorite flower color and re­peat it around the gar­den for a co­he­sive look.” Peggy Krapf of Heart’s Ease Land­scape and Gar­den De­sign in Wil­liams­burg, Va.; www.HeartsEaseLandscape.com

De­velop your plan

“De­velop a plan, make your wish list, set your bud­get, know the lo­cal cli­mate and imag­ine how you will use the space.

“Also, con­sider main­te­nance. Do you en­joy the gar­den? How much time do you have to spend?

“Do not re­strict your land­scape to only plants. Decks and pa­tios tran­si­tion your home from the in­side out. If you have a pa­tio, con­sider a per­gola or ar­bor. If you have a gar­den path, con­sider a gate.

“This adds an­other unique piece to your gar­den de­sign.” — Eric Bai­ley of Land­scapes by Eric Bai­ley in New­port News, Va.; www. land­scapes­byeb.com.

Eval­u­ate your curb ap­peal

“Al­ways stand at the curb in front of your home and look at any is­sues that steal at­ten­tion from the front door. Block unattrac­tive neigh­bor­ing views with trees and shrubs to keep the eye on your prop­erty. “Hide trash and re­cy­cle cans from view. “Al­ways con­sider the col­ors and ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign style of the house when choos­ing plants, flow­ers, paving ma­te­ri­als and pots for front yards. Ide­ally paving ma­te­ri­als should re­flect the same color as the roof.

“Plac­ing a tree be­tween the curb and the house gives a sense of added depth to the front yard; 90 per­cent of front yard shrubs should be ever­green.

“Keep your house num­bers and front porch well lit, vis­i­ble and clean be­cause this is the first place an ar­riv­ing guest will see.

“Keep shrubs well be­low win­dows and clear from paths to avoid an un­main­tained look.

“Brown is the most nat­u­ral look­ing mulch color and works well with green plants.” — Tami Eil­ers of McDon­ald Gar­den Cen­ter in Hamp­ton, Va.; www.mcdonaldgardencenter.com.

• Kathy Van Mullekom is gar­den/home colum­nist for the Daily Press in New­port News, Va. Fol­low Kathy at Face­[email protected], Twit­[email protected]­gindirt and Pin­[email protected]­gini; her blog can be read at Dig­[email protected]


Above: A nar­row strip of land be­side a house can be dif­fi­cult to land­scape. Right: A paved path, seat­ing, plants and pri­vacy can turn a small strip of land into an in­ti­mate gar­den.


Stylish, comfy seat­ing in­vites guests to linger a while.

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