Creating Healthy Balance In Your Yard
With the building lot sizes shrinking and the houses getting larger it becomes much more challenging to create a balanced yard layout.
Applying balance, one of the main design principles when designing a yard, is a way to counter the visual and ecological weight of hardscaped areas with living green masses like trees, shrubs, perennials and lawns, or with natural water features such as ponds, streams and waterfalls.
Unfortunately the hardscaped areas such as driveways, walks, patios and large outdoor fireplaces are often taking up a large amount of space in the already small green-space around a home. The trend to cover large, sparsely planted areas with gravel mulches, rather than increasing the density of the plantings, results in an even greater imbalance in favour of hardscape materials which create heat sinks on the properties.
This imbalance is often the reason why sitting on a backyard patio is unbearable on a hot summer day, even when sitting in the shade. The increased planting of trees and shrubs will not only offset the visual weight of the driveway, patio, walkways, etc. but also helps to absorb the heat and create shade.
Another ecological benefit of large planting areas is the attraction of birds, butterflies and the increase of good soil organisms. Plants prefer to grow in groupings, which creates shade for their root systems, promotes healthy growth and helps keeping weeds out.
It is of great importance when having a balanced yard layout created, that the designer has a profound knowledge of all plant material hardy to our area and is familiar with all the design principles of landscape architecture. This will help to avoid the lopsided and uninviting yards we see only too often in our area.
The ultimate benefit of an inviting well-balanced layout is the well-being of the visitor who feels relaxed and “just right” in the beautiful outdoor living space.