Kyle Burgamy, Landscape Architect, ISA Certified Arborist
The biggest factor in how a landscape “feels” is the presence or absence of large trees. If you live in a newer subdivision with few trees or none at all, consider adding a few large-growing shade trees such as Oaks, Maples, Tulip Poplar, Elms, River Birch, etc.
Pruning the lower limbs of existing, large shade trees may improve the view of your house from the street. It is also good for the trees, and can give your yard a cleaner look. (Not necessary in wooded or natural areas, or where screening is desired)
Use mulch or pinestraw around all trees and shrub beds, both for plant health and aesthetics.
Having well-defined edges to all lawn areas will do wonders for the appearance of your yard
When laying out these bedlines, use broad, graceful curves, which are easier to maintain and more aesthetically pleasing than wiggly, uneven lines. Straight lines are more suited to formal designs and architectural features.
Design with plant form (overall shape) in mind, not just flower color; Against the house, choose plant colors that complement the house.
Design with foliage color in mind; colorful trees and groups of shrubs can have a much bigger impact than small flower beds, and give you more bang-for-your-buck.
Use mostly evergreens around a house foundation, but use a mixture of evergreens and deciduous plants throughout the yard for year-round interest.
Use ornamental grasses for their drought tolerance, deer resistance, and different texture. They look great when combined with other plant types, especially evergreens.
Consider the mature size of plants before planting and give them enough space to grow without continual pruning.
Don’t be afraid to plant small and medium-sized trees near the house – they can give a sense of scale and cast welcome shade onto walkways, patios, and windows.