Jeff's Research Results

Jeff Coatings blog about house, home, garden and family issues that affect us all


There is so much that goes into looking after a home and family. Here are just a few snippets of research and practical experience that I have come across over the years.

Landscaping - is it an Art or a Science?

Landscaping, in a backyard or public space, is a way that we alter or mold the physical features of our immediate surroundings to make it a more pleasing environment. This can include a combination of natural elements such as rocks, ponds and streams, man-made elements such as walls, fences and buildings., and especially using plants and trees to beautify an area. It is more commonly considered to be working with flora and fauna in a garden, but the sum of the whole is considered for the best result.

To be able to design a beautiful environment, an in depth knowledge of natural elements is essential. This means the science behind the plants. Scientifically speaking, a number of functional, aesthetic, and environmental considerations must be made of any site before planning commences. In most cases a site plan or aerial view is made indicating the locations of sun and shade areas, soil type, architectural features, and facilities required. To get the best out of a plot, it is essential to know biology and how soil, water and horticulture fit together. Having a scientific knowledge of , topography , soil types, drainage, rock type and pH levels of acidity after rains will allow the best selection of plants to be chosen to best suit the local climate. Weather and predicted climate variations including prevailing winds and rainfall patterns are also important. . Especially if the climate is hot and dry, as in North Texas, good landscaping practice means carefully choosing drought tolerant plants that have been proven to thrive in dry conditions. In many cases, the existing land is not suitable - it may be too flat or too steep, and the physical layout may need to be changed or graded by cutting or filling earth into an area. This may also include adding ponds or water features to obtain the perfect result. Of course on a larger scale landscape ecology is a whole science to itself.

landscape is science or art?

But creating a landscape is not just science, a major part of creating the final look and feel is to connect with the land in an artistic or even emotional way. How hard and soft textures fit together in complementary and contrasting styles is not something learned from a text book. Understanding the feel of a garden and how the plant colors and textures fit together is part artistic and part ephemeral, some may say 'feng-shui'. At the end of the day, a complete landscape design is often a compromise between the science of horticulture and the desire for artistic expression with flora and fauna.



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