Planning a landscaping design for your yard is like planning for most things.
You need to think about how it will look, but also consider how it will be used.
For some expert tips on the subject we spoke to Kate O`Hara, owner-operator of Soul2Soil Landscape Design.
Kate describes it as a boutique business that takes a very personal approach, and it has been servicing Canberra and Queanbeyan for the past few years. Kate is also a qualified landscape architect.
When Kate’s services are employed, “The initial interaction is a site visit and that involves looking at their outdoor space and asking what inspires them and what do they enjoy.”
Straight away you can see that landscaping design is not just about what will fit on the terrain. It’s about what you might like to look at and what you like to do when you’re out there.
As such, “No two landscapes will be the same”, and each family member may have different needs.
Kate gave the example of thinking about what will be going in her own backyard.
Kate has friends over for cocktail parties, her eldest has mates who will gather around a fire pit, and the younger one still needs room to move in daylight hours.
When it comes to landscaping a domestic yard Kate acknowledges that “Doing it yourself is very rewarding, but bringing a designer in can be a big help.”
For anyone thinking of a DIY approach, Kate believes “the number one rule is to take your time and include elements that mean something to you” from both a stylistic and practical point of view.
If you do hire Soul2Soil for the design, and probably the construction as well, Kate starts by giving you a questionnaire.
Her feedback from clients about that process is “they tell me that it gets them thinking about things they wouldn’t have necessarily thought about themselves.”
There are also considerations relevant to Canberra’s climate, particularly with regards to what you plant.
Kate illustrated how the selection, and combination, of plants is important, and that speaking to your local nursery about what is suitable will often be very helpful.
Another planting tip was to consider “how you layer them. There is a technique in layering plants and getting that depth of field.”
Additionally, you should be “Taking the time to account for the growth of the plants, putting the right plants in and understanding how they’re going to take up that space” as they grow.
In terms of current trends, “the biggest thing now is the introduction of the extension; bringing the indoors to the outdoors and having that connection there.”
To do that “you need to think about the practicalities of it, bringing in the furniture, storage, and shade. Considering those details is important when designing it yourself.”
As for the stylistic aspects, “You need to think about your theme, with the colours and textures you can bring into the yard.”
In terms of the landscaping, that will involve planning the shapes and the organisation of spaces to be incorporated into the design.
Ideally, you want “a focal point that catches your eye and that then expands through the whole backyard.”
Overall, the goal is “Making sure everything is not only functional but also has a personal aspect. It has to have a sense of place at the end of the day.”