Designing your outdoor living space can be a daunting
challenge. Maybe you know what colors you like or plants. There
are definite styles that appeal to some people, but not others.
It's important that your yard reflects your personality and
also serves the needs of your family. But where do you
Think of colors and plants and styles more like interior
decorating. Interior decorating is important, but you first
need the house. Dividing up your yard into functional areas is
the first step to creating the landscape of your dreams. The
three areas of usage in your yard are the service area, the
public area, and the private area.
The service area - The service
area involves utility access and storage for those
necessary but often unattractive elements required for
modern-day living. Service areas include garbage cans,
propane tanks, clothes lines and storage sheds for tools
or pool accessories. It is important for service areas to
be easily accessible but also hidden from view.
Propane tanks should be placed where they can be accessed by
the fuel delivery person, even in a New England winter. If the
driveway is to be plowed, consider where the snow will be
pushed. Tanks and pool filters can be concealed with lattice
fence panels or plantings. In some cases the service area
cannot be hidden from view, such as pool sheds. In this case it
is important to choose a style that will work aesthetically
with your overall plan.
The public area - Public areas are those
parts of the yard that are most frequented by guests and used
for recreational purposes. The public area often dictates the
placement of walkways and screen plantings. The focal point
should be the main entrance area.
Consideration of how your guests will arrive and where
they will go first is important. For example, the front walkway
should have a flared entrance to allow pedestrians to take the
path of least resistance and be wide enough for two people to
walk side-by-side. It should be well lit and have an inviting
appeal from the curb.
The public area also has much to do with how recreational
space is to be used. Families with small children or pets
require lawn space for playing. Pool areas and patios are also
considered as they are often used for entertaining guests.
When designing your landscape for recreational use, remember
that life has seasons and is subject to change. Over a period
of 30 years a property can serve newlyweds, young families,
empty-nesters, and retirees. A well thought out design will be
easily adaptable to the next phase of your life.