Fifty shades of green - King Landscaping

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O. VEMB. ER/D. ECEMB. ER. 2013. 60. URBAN AG. Fifty shades of green. Creating stunning designs using sure-fire plants by Eric King and Holly Brooks, King ...

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Fifty shades of green Creating stunning designs using sure-fire plants by Eric King and Holly Brooks, King Landscaping

In the end we all use a similar plant pallet so why do some designs stand out while others fall flat? After years of classroom training and installing our own designs we’ve come to understand the key ingredients to making a yard beautiful. Much of what we learned in school was so theoretical that it was hard to apply, but on the job training alone can lead to expensive mistakes. So we created the Landscape Design Certification Program at Emory to share the best of what we learned: How to design and render beautiful and functional landscape plans.



Survey says! Start with a survey and enlarge to a scale you are comfortable working with like 10 scale. Don’t be shy about requiring a survey, it improves your accuracy, speeds up and simplifies the making of the base map. If permits are required you’ll most likely need one for the site plan. And surveys show hidden things like easements and restrictions like building setback lines.



This time with feeling! With enlarged survey in hand, make notes of existing conditions like wet areas, trees, transplants, retaining walls and subjective items like unpleasant views of the neighbor’s garage that needs screening. Take time to experience how the yards feels—where do you feel drawn to, pushed away from, what areas make you feel good or uncomfortable? Piling on. On the same sheet note owner’s comments and requests like “wants more azaleas,” “hates small front porch,” or “dog friendly.”

Three keys to design success

What are the keys to a great design? First, conduct a thorough site analysis, and then determine what your goal is for that yard, and finally choose plants that fit your purpose.

1.

Understanding the site

To simplify the process make all your notes on one sheet, like loading up at the cafeteria, but in this case it’s a good thing.



UAC MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013

2.

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The purpose-driven landscape

Now you can begin designing by laying gridded vellum over the marked up, enlarged survey. Remember you aren’t the star. The home is the star; your job is to make it shine. For the front yard, your job is boosting curb appeal by concealing unpleasant views like the neighbor’s garage, and revealing beautiful features like windows and especially the front door. And keep it simple by choosing plants that fit a purpose such as screening an AC unit, but don’t name them yet. Image courtesy of King Landscaping

Don’t be shy about requiring a survey, it improves your accuracy, speeds up and simplifies the making of the base map.

For the back yard, think of the spaces as series of rooms that you furnish. Most people intuitively grasp indoor components of rooms: floors/walls/ceiling and that translates outdoors as well. Use shrubs as walls, groundcovers and turf as floor and trees for ceilings.

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3. The name game

Up to this point you should not be thinking about individual plant names, just what purpose they serve such as “5’-8’ evergreen screen for full sun” or ‘accent tree’. Now you can pick out plants that fit your requirements. By waiting until the last step to name the plants you’re able to focus on what purpose each plant serves, and ultimately leads to a more successful design.

Fifty shades greener….using graphics to make your plans sell!

Improve you graphic presentation with a few simple and quick tips. It doesn’t matter how great your plan is if it doesn’t look good, it’s a hard sell. If your plan looks better and reads easier then your peers you can present it with confidence and you boost your odds to close the deal.

Image courtesy of King Landscaping

Big, bold curves grab attention so use that to your advantage when drawing bed lines and plant masses.

So what does it take to draw a dynamic plan? Curve appeal: Big, bold curves grab attention so use that to your advantage when drawing bed lines and plant masses.



Fill-er-up! Use big masses of plants that touch so when you color the plan you don’t have awkward white space. Draw individual plants with a circle template to keep spacing consistent, but outline entire mass with a darker pen.



Keep it simple: Quick and simple graphics to represent trees, shrubs, groundcovers, and hardscape surfaces. Add details on the color plan. That way it’s easy to read and you can give the simple, easier to read plan to the crew for installation.



Color me happy! Adding the right colors can bring the plan to life, but don’t overdue it. You’re trying to represent what the finished landscape will look like, not create an exact replica. Too much detail makes the plan look busy and overwhelming to your client.

Image courtesy of King Landscaping

Your job is boosting curb appeal by revealing beautiful features like windows and especially the front door. •

Shadows add volume: Use a darker shades along the edge of vertical elements to add depth and create volume making the plan pop out.



Clean and easy: Labels note quantity and plant type but don’t crowd it with spacing and size information. Organize your labels in clusters that are identifiable to your customer and your crew with easy to follow leader lines.

UAC MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013



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URBAN AG A piecrust only has a few ingredients, which in the hands of a skilled baker become flaky and delicious. But in the wrong hands those same ingredients become a gooey mess. The same is true in designing with plants: With knowledge, practice and confidence you’ll be creating fabulous landscapes that stand out from the crowd.

About the authors For over 20 years Eric King has designed awardwinning landscapes for Atlanta’s finest homes. He has a Master of Landscape Architecture from UGA and a Master of Business Management from Georgia State University. With extensive experience in residential projects of all sizes, Holly Brooks helps people communicate their ideas and goals for the outdoor space of their dreams. Brooks earned a bachelor’s in environmental horticulture from Colorado State University. King and Brooks teach landscape design at Emory University and are co-owners of King Landscaping.

URBAN AG COUNCIL GEORGIA

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UAC MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013

See complete schedule on page 13 or visit edge-expo.com for course descriptions.

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Hear more and meet the authors!

Thursday, December 12 8:00 am - 10:00 am

Fifty Shades of Green: New and Exciting Ways to Design with Plants

10:30 am - 12:30 pm

Fifty Shades Greener: The Best Graphics to Bring Your Plan to Life...and Sell it!