John and Eleanor's steps leading to their pool.
I'll be adding to this entry later.
When we are using our drawing on graph paper, I like to develop the garden around an axis. I looked up the term "axis" in my little desktop dictionary. An axis is a real or imaginary straight line around which parts are arranged in a symmetrical way. Our livable garden is arranged around an axis. I like to use the term "balanced" instead of "symmetrical". Balance is attained when the proportions of mass, texture and color are proportional on either side of the axis.
In drawing #1 we have the livable garden area of a typical suburban lot. The placement of the building was taken off of a plot plan or drawing. Notes were added to show the views. In drawing #2 we have the beginnings of ideas that the designer has been considering. The design is developing around the axis. Please note that there is a main axis and a couple of minor axis. In drawing #3 we see the addition of trees, shrubs and flowers around the axis. In drawing 4 you will see that things are happening around the axis and their intersections. Walks spring up, features are added. Drawing #5 is the final drawing. The axis will help when it comes to transitioning from a drawing to the actual grounds. It is much easier to measure walkways, borders and paths. Although there isn't one lot in Sunshine that conforms to the boundaries of our drawings, the philosophy is the same. Use the three areas and develop the garden around an axis.
In your private, livable garden area there are six things to consider. Do you have a feeling of spaciousness? Does the lawn area balance with the trees and shrubs, or is one overpowering?
Is your garden interesting? Is it inviting? The garden should make you wantto get out and walk around.
Is it livable? The garden should be a place to do things. Do you want to play outdoor games, sit back in a lounge chair or hurry back into the house?
Does it have imagination? The garden should reflect the family's personalities.
Can you circulate around the garden? This not only means paths, walks and driveways, but open areas as well.
Are the plants well chosen? Most people have an idea of the kind of plants they would like to have in their garden. Try to incorporate the ones listed in the planning questionnaire. The plants will add true beauty to the garden.
The landscape plan should start with a survey of existing conditions. Part of that survey are the answers to the questions posted in the last section. Continuing the survey requires paper and pencil. I have always used graph paper with a scale of 1"=8' or 1"=10'. Each square on the sheet of paper will equal one foot. Acquiring a plot plan will give you the measurements on where the house sits on the property and the boundaries of the property. If a plot plan is not available, a very good tape measure is your best friend. Once you have a drawing of where all of the existing buildings sit on the property it is time to discuss the division of the property. The property should be divided into three distinct areas. Those areas are the entrance development, the work unit and the livable garden area.
The Entrance Development
Most entrance developments are influenced by the neighborhood in which the house is located. Most homes are landscaped as not to be too radical. It's nice to be different but not too different. The entrance development should allow the house to blend in with nature and give visitors a favorable impression.
The Work Unit
The size and shape of the work unit will vary depending on the families requirements. The work unit is where the clothesline, compost pile, wood storage, vegetable garden, potting yard, lath house, greenhouse, cold frames and anything else associated with maintenance of the house and grounds. It is possible that the work unit may not even be needed.
The Livable Garden
The livable garden is just what is says, the area for outdoor living. The variations possible are unlimited. They depend only on the family requirements and good taste. This area is the most difficult to plan and requires the most discussion.