Landscape Design

Jump to: Guidelines for Good Landscape Design | Design Principles in Action
Meet Landscape Designer Aimee Cantrell

Regular features: Plant of the Month | Customer Spotlight

Guidelines for Good Landscape Design

If you’re going to invest in landscaping, you want your investment to grow…along with your plants.  One advantage of a professional landscape design is that you have a plan from which to work.  This plan will help you avoid costly mistakes and maximize your investment.  When designing a long-lasting landscape, NatureScapes Landscape Designer Aimee Cantrell keeps in mind these guiding principles.

Don't fight the site:  Also known as putting the right plant in the right place, this idea is based on selecting plants based on site conditions.  For instance, no matter how much you love hostas, a professional designer doing his or her job won’t use these shade-loving plants if your property is drenched in sun.

Solve a problem:  Thoughtful planning can turn a problem area into an attractive landscape.  For example, landscape on a bare hill can help prevent soil erosion.  Plants can also camouflage unsightly electrical boxes, add privacy to a patio near a busy street, and more.

Simplify for elegance:  By grouping fewer types of plants in particular areas, you can achieve a look that is simple yet elegant.  That doesn’t mean you have to limit your entire landscape to five types of plants.  The size of the property will help guide the number of plants appropriate for a clean look.

Plan for natural walking patterns:  People sometimes cut through flower beds and turf areas to get to an entrance or amenity area faster.  Pay attention to these cues and only put paths where people tend to naturally walk.  Don’t force them to tour your property…unless you’re a botanical garden.

Keep it low maintenance:  When selecting a plant, consider its size at maturity, growth habit, and light and water requirements.  If the size and height of every plant at maturity is taken into account, you will save on maintenance costs to prune them back into place.

Unify the design:  Consistency is the key to presenting a unified look.  Not only should the color and size of plants be carefully chosen to work with the surrounding hardscape, it should create a nice visual flow.  This can be achieved with consistent plant and color selections.

For a free estimate on how NatureScapes can incorporate these design principles into your landscape, e-mail or call NatureScapes at 770.923.7023.

Design Principles in Action

Do you know the purpose of the plants selected for your landscape?  Here are two sample designs based on Aimee Cantrell’s design principles.

Adding Southern Charm
A pine-straw covered hill does little to impress the visitors to this office park.  Aimee’s plan improves the view and prevents erosion.  Some of the principles used in this design are:
  • Don’t fight the site:  Shade-tolerant plant material was chosen for this steep hill that is shaded most of the day.
  • Solve a problem:  Dense plantings prevent erosion on this hill.  Colorful shrubs and trees improve the view.  White and blue flowering plant materials create a serene backdrop.
  • Unify the design:  The client chose a theme of Southern-style landscaping with a woodland feel.  Repetition of plant material and a consistent visual theme creates rhythm and flow throughout the design.
The computer enhanced photo above shows the combinations of color, size and texture as well as the size of plants at maturity.

Come On In!
This restaurant needs a bed that draws people inside and creates a pleasing view for al fresco diners.  Aimee’s design is low maintenance and welcoming.  Some of the principles used in this design are:
  • Don’t fight the site:  This area outside the restaurant gets morning shade and afternoon sun.  The plant material chosen can handle this lighting situation.
  • Solve a problem:  Needlepoint Holly is used as a hedge to block pedestrian access from the emergency exit door to the street.  The Tea Olive provides a sweet fragrance for the outdoor diners on the left.  The bright yellow and red shrub colors in front of the bed call attention to the entrance.
  • Simplify for elegance:  Only five plant species are used.
  • Keep it low maintenance:  These shrubs can be allowed to grow naturally to mature size in the space they are given without a lot of pruning.
The drawing, right, indicates placement of the plant types and sizes.

Meet Landscape Designer Aimee Cantrell

Landscape Designer Aimee Cantrell is responsible for enhancing entrances, amenities and common areas at properties maintained by NatureScapes.  She also works with homeowners at these properties who want to upgrade the landscaping on their personal property.  In the off-season, Aimee assists with seasonal color designs.

Landscape design is Aimee’s second career.  For 18 years she was employed as a computer programmer, putting to work her Computer Science degree from Louisiana State University.  A couple of years ago she decided to trade in her keyboard to pursue her lifelong gardening passion.  She earned an Environmental Horticulture Diploma and Certificate of Landscape Design from Gwinnett Technical College, and was named the Gwinnett Tech Horticulture Student of the Year in 2009.  She also holds a Commercial Pesticide Applicator’s License and is Georgia Soil and Water Level 1A Certified.

Aimee, her husband Ernest, and their three children reside in Snellville.  When she’s not designing commercial landscapes, she enjoys gardening, cooking, knitting, reading, aerobics, camping and hiking.

Customer Spotlight:  Havenstone

“Havenstone’s Landscape Committee is very happy with the work that NatureScapes provides our subdivision.  They deliver excellent customer service and our property reflects their dedication.”

- Kirstin Orr, Havenstone Landscape Committee Chairperson

Plant of the Month:  Miss Huff Lantana

Atlanta loves Lantana!  Like all varieties, perennial favorite Miss Huff Lantana attracts beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds; has fragrant foliage; and is heat and drought tolerant.  Small trumpet-shaped flowers on a single stem are abundant and require no dead heading.  Based on the maturity of the flower, blooms are pink, orange or yellow, giving it a multi-colored appearance.  This shrub-like plant can reach five- to six-feet tall and ten feet wide, so it’s best to give it plenty of growing space.  Miss Huff Lantana will die back after the first frost, but pruning is not recommended until early spring to ensure winter survival.