Creating a Landscape Design Base Plan

newtown ct landscape designerToday I got to work drafting the base plan for a Newtown, Connecticut, Landscape Design.

First, I calculate the scale to use so my landscape design will fit on the paper.  Most landscape designs are larger in area then they seem when measuring the site.

Now I make a draft of the base plan based on the measurements I took during the site analysis. Unwanted site elements are left out.  The focus is on moving forward when designing.

Once I complete the base plan I overlay it with a piece of drafting paper and trace the base plan through the drafting paper to align the design.

Finally I trace the base plan with black marker of differing weights. The heavier the line the heavier or larger the object. The foundation gets the heaviest line followed by the sidewalk, driveway and stone walls on the site.

I print a label for the plan and place it on the corner.  It is now time to begin drafting a landscape design for my Newtown CT clients.

By John Holden

Enkianthus campanulatus – A Different Shrub for Connecticut Gardens

Redvein Enkianthus is an underused shrub in Connecticut gardens. I admit I don’t give this medium-sized shrub the love it deserves. That will be changing in the year ahead.

Enkianthus flowers from late May to early June. Different cultivars and plants within cultivars have differing amounts of red and pink on a yellow backdrop.

Redvein enkianthus bloom.

Redvein Enkianthus is a deciduous shrub growing four to six feet tall in Connecticut gardens.  From a slight distance enkianthus foliage looks very similar to a Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia).  Enkianthus is deciduous unlike the evergreen foliage of Mountain Laurel.

Prune Redvein Enkianthus selectively immediately after bloom for the most natural growth habit and best flower.  You can control the ultimate size of the plant if you maintain selective pruning methods.

Redvein enkianthus mature.

I have never seen Redvein Enkianthus over five feet tall in a Connecticut garden.  I did see the beauty above at an arboretum in Massachusetts.

If you are looking for a shrub for Connecticut gardens that is both rare and different you found it in Redvein Enkianthis!  For more information please visit my alma mater at the UCONN Plant Database.

By John Holden

Liriope muscari ‘Variegata’ – A Colorful Groundcover for Connecticut Gardens

liriope muscari

Variegated Big Blue Lilyturf is an attractive, low maintenance and reliable groundcover for Connecticut gardens.

Variegated Big Blue Lilyturf grows in clumps about a foot tall.  It flowers in September with twelve-inch tall lavender flower spikes.  After flowering the spikes can either be cut back or left for fall interest.

The yellow variegated foliage brightens any dark corner of your landscape.  Cut foliage back in late-fall or early spring.

Variegated Big Blue Lilyturf grows in partial shade.  If planted in full sun the foliage will bleach.  Lilyturf is not fussy about the type of soil it grows in, as long as it is not constantly damp.

In the above Connecticut garden I planted Variegated Big Blue Lilyturf with evergreen boxwood behind and Fothergilla, a spring blooming shrub, intermingled around it.

By John Holden

Newtown CT Landscape Design Site Analysis

Today I completed the site analysis for a landscape design in Newtown, Connecticut.  A site analysis is the first, and most vital step, when you measure and assess the site you are designing.

Landscape design is about getting a feel for the site.  How much sun does the space get?  What type of soil is on the site?  How does water flow over the site?  What type of emotion do I feel when on the site?  How can I enhance, or negate, that emotion?

It takes an hour or two for the site analysis of a basic landscape design.  Yes, I could rush in, take some measurements, snap a few pictures and be gone in half an hour.  A little extra time getting to know the site will lead to a better landscape design for this Newtown, Connecticut home.  I look at the area from many different angles.  Constantly asking myself, “What if I…?”

While completing the site analysis I start with the big picture and work down to the details.

First, I take pictures of the site from every possible angle.  Digital pictures are cheap and I can extrapolate a measurement I missed or recall the view from the road.

Next, I draw a sketch of the area and take measurements of the site.  While taking pictures and measuring the site I am keeping an eye out for elements of the site that will affect the design.  Are there any obstacles to move or work around?  Is there a better way to design this walkway?  How much sun does this space get?

At last I am ready to start drafting a preliminary landscape design.  It does not have to be perfect right now.  My goal is to jot down my thoughts quickly before they disappear.  I write the names of some plants I will use, most plants names are generic, such as small flowering shrub, large evergreen, perennial etc.  My goal is to have a rough idea what size and type plants I need.

Once I leave the job site the design mostly completed.  It’s a matter of going to the drafting table and drawing a scaled base plan and filling the spaces with my thoughts.  I also do some research on plants and materials to use during the design process.

All decisions for this landscape design in Newtown, Connecticut, are based on the site analysis.  Doesn’t it make sense to spend a little extra time getting a feel for the site?