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Sustainable design for small landscapes. Master gardener program. “… A small plot of ground well ordered, turns to greater advantage than a large one neglected …”. - Leonard Meager The New Art of Gardening , 1697. Designing small spaces may feel less overwhelming … but more restrictive.

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Sustainable design for small landscapes

Sustainable design for small landscapes

Master gardener program


A small plot of ground well ordered turns to greater advantage than a large one neglected

“… A small plot of ground well ordered, turns to greater advantage than a large one neglected …”

- Leonard Meager

The New Art of Gardening, 1697


Sustainable design for small landscapes

Designing small spaces may feel less overwhelming advantage than a large one neglected …”… but more restrictive.


Sustainable design
Sustainable Design advantage than a large one neglected …”

  • Designing for plant health and longevity;

  • Creating “outdoor rooms”;

  • Important in design regardless of size or cost.


Five considerations of sustainable design
Five Considerations of advantage than a large one neglected …”Sustainable Design


1 functional
1. FUNCTIONAL advantage than a large one neglected …”


2 maintainable
2. MAINTAINABLE advantage than a large one neglected …”


3 environmentally sound
3. ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND advantage than a large one neglected …”


4 cost effective
4. COST EFFECTIVE advantage than a large one neglected …”


5 visually pleasing
5. Visually pleasing advantage than a large one neglected …”


Site analysis client interview survey
Site advantage than a large one neglected …”analysis: Client Interview & Survey

  • Client interview

    • Activities in the landscape

    • Timeline for installation

    • Budget – install and maintenance

  • Site survey

    • Site inventory

    • Specific, honest evaluation of site features; measurements

  • Landscape Design Questionnaire, Site Evaluation Form


Design principles
Design Principles advantage than a large one neglected …”


Design principle 1 unity
Design Principle advantage than a large one neglected …”1: Unity

  • A feeling of “oneness”

  • Mix & match plants based on texture, form

  • Repetition of hardscapes and plants

  • All aspects should complement one another, not compete for attention;

  • The entire design comes together to form one landscape.


Design principle 1 unity1
Design advantage than a large one neglected …”Principle 1: Unity

  • The entire design:

    • Comes together to form one landscape;

    • All aspects should complement one another, not compete for attention;

    • Repetition of materials builds unity.


Design principle 2 simplicity
DESIGN PRINCIPLE 2: SIMPLICITY advantage than a large one neglected …”

  • Large masses and groups

  • Fewer individual species / cultivars

  • Backgrounds, backdrops

  • Color pallets

  • 1-3 focal points in a small space

  • More important in commercial design than residential


Design principle 3 variety
DESIGN PRINCIPLE 3: VARIETY advantage than a large one neglected …”

  • Variety in plants: type, form, texture, seasonal interest;

  • Variety in hardscapes: color, texture

  • Variety in location: areas viewed up close, entry gardens, decks, walkways, etc.


Sustainable design for small landscapes

VARIETY VS. COLLECTION advantage than a large one neglected …”


Design principle 4 balance
DESIGN PRINCIPLE 4: BALANCE advantage than a large one neglected …”

Formal vs. informal, symmetrical vs. asymmetrical


Design principle 5 emphasis
DESIGN PRINCIPLE 5: EMPHASIS advantage than a large one neglected …”

Integrate focal points, accent, and specimen plants in the landscape


Design principle 6 sequence
DESIGN PRINCIPLE 6: SEQUENCE advantage than a large one neglected …”

The repetition of textures, colors, form and materials to transition the viewer through the landscape.


Design principle 7 scale
DESIGN PRINCIPLE 7: SCALE advantage than a large one neglected …”

The relative size of one part of a landscape to another and to human beings using plants and hard features of various sizes.


Plant selection
Plant Selection advantage than a large one neglected …”


Select plants for sustainability
Select plants for sustainability advantage than a large one neglected …”

  • Right plant, right place, right purpose

  • Select plants based on their elements of design (characteristics)

    • Plant type

    • Size

    • Form

    • Texture

    • Seasonal interest


Plant selection plant type
PLANT SELECTION: PLANT TYPE advantage than a large one neglected …”


Plant selection select plants based on mature size
Plant advantage than a large one neglected …”selection: Select plants based on mature size


Plant selection form
PLANT SELECTION: FORM advantage than a large one neglected …”


Plant selection form go vertical
PLANT SELECTION: FORM: GO VERTICAL advantage than a large one neglected …”


Trellising espalier
TRELLISING & ESPALIER advantage than a large one neglected …”


Plant selection texture mix match
PLANT SELECTION: TEXTURE, MIX & MATCH advantage than a large one neglected …”


Plant selection seasonal interest
PLANT SELECTION: SEASONAL INTEREST advantage than a large one neglected …”


Color
Color advantage than a large one neglected …”


Color1
COLOR advantage than a large one neglected …”

  • Warm: Focal point, draws attention

  • Cool: Calm, relaxing, larger

  • Neutral: Transitions, softens, expands


Design tips for small landscapes
Design tips for small landscapes advantage than a large one neglected …”


1 design elements to serve more than one purpose
1. DESIGN ELEMENTS TO SERVE MORE THAN ONE PURPOSE advantage than a large one neglected …”


2 interplant ornamentals with edibles
2. INTERPLANT ORNAMENTALS advantage than a large one neglected …”WITH EDIBLES


3 consider views
3. CONSIDER VIEWS advantage than a large one neglected …”


4 use tall plants as backdrops
4 advantage than a large one neglected …”. Use tall plants as backdrops


5 design turf areas for maintenance
5. DESIGN TURF AREAS FOR MAINTENANCE advantage than a large one neglected …”

  • Mowing – avoid tight radii

  • Light & moisture requirements

  • Repeated traffic, equipment


6 avoid dividing the property
6. AVOID DIVIDING THE PROPERTY advantage than a large one neglected …”


7 de emphasize narrow areas
7 advantage than a large one neglected …”. De-emphasize narrow areas


8 locate details variety close up
8. LOCATE DETAILS & VARIETY CLOSE-UP advantage than a large one neglected …”


Resources
Resources advantage than a large one neglected …”

  • Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series (SULIS): http://www.sustalnd.umn.edu

  • Gardening Information http://www.extension.umn.edu/gardeninfo

  • Rice, Graham, The Ultimate Book of Small Gardens

  • Messervy, Julie Moir and Susanka, Susan, Outside the Not So Big House

  • Beaulieu, David, “Color Theory in Landscape Design”, http://landscaping.about.com/od/flowersherbsgroundcover1/a/flower_photos.htm

  • Luss, Gunda, “Color Techniques for Landscape Design” http://www.sustland.umn.edu/design/colortechniques.html

  • Boulden, Steve, “Big Help for Small Gardens”, http://www.the-landscape-design-site.com/smallgardens.html


Created by julie weisenhorn university of minnesota extension department of horticultural science

Created by Julie Weisenhorn, University of Minnesota Extension, Department of Horticultural Science

Discover more atextension.umn.edu