Landscape Construction involves the utilization of many different hard and soft elements to create the total landscape. The elements that are selected to create your total landscape are determined by various factors, depending on the end result desired.
You may have a sloped block where a retaining wall will make the areas much more user friendly. Retaining can come in the form of masonary, concrete block, post and rail, with many options on style, texture, colour to create a wall that serves the purpose and looks great. You may also require hardstands such as Paving, Tiling or concrete, creating pathways to comfortably access all areas of the landscape. The transition between retaining wall and pathways will come in the form of steps to ensure good access between the different levels. Steps can also be a feature if designed well.
Every landscape should have its own principal private space to enjoy. You may have an issue where your neighbour overlooks potrude your private space, it may be a poor view that you cant avoid from your space that you wish to correct. The sun may glare directly in your face in the afternoon or the southerly winds may reduce your comfort and enjoyment of your space. Screening is an element which may reduce or eliminate the issue.
Screening can be achieved through the use of hard and soft screening, hard screening such as timber or aluminium and can serve as a barrier reducing overlooks, winds and sun glare, it can also improve the look and feel of the space by introducing tile or stone cladding features, and of course reducing the negative aspects. If noisy neighbours are an issue, acoustic panels can be incorporated into a hard screen or a modular wall to reduce noise levels in your space.
Soft screening is the use of plants, shrubs and trees to reduce the issues. You will have to be a little more patient than with hard screening as the chosen plants to screen the area will need to grow up to height. This may take 2,3 or 4 growing seasons depending on the type chosen, but the advantage of waiting is that soft screening will be a more economical option. The type of plants chosen for a soft screen depend on soil conditions, position, wind and height to ensure it will do the job.
Many projects we do have started because of drainage problems, water pooling against buildings, water runoff, lack of drainage and the stormwater system being clogged or overloaded. Solutions to drainage problems are various and no home is identical in why it is happening or the best way to go about rectifying the issue. When installing a Landscape the single most important area we assess is existing water issues or what potential issues may arise.
If you introduce a retaining wall for example, this will change the way water moves around your property and potential new problems must be anticipated and rectified in the planning stage of landscape construction. There are many different solutions to drainage issues, we may use pits, strip drains, subsurface drainage, agricultural line, swales or even running a 2nd stormwater line to cope with demand and not overload your roof stormwater system.
Once the structure is complete and the various structural elements and have been installed, the water has been controlled, creating practical and functional areas to enjoy and entertain in a private space. Consideration is then given to the softscape portion of the landscape, whether the desire is to create low maintenance gardens that require minimal water or care or a garden to provide shade or protection from winds or reduce afternoon glare.
There are considerations to be taken into account when it comes to plant selection. The existing geology and soil conditions, the microclimate, the solar access, the space available, the budget, and soil amelioration to mention just a few. Planting to your conditions and choosing plants that will tolerate your soils, insures that not only will the plants thrive, but have less chance of disease and require less maintenance.
Landscape construction is ever evolving and changing through different styles, at Nepean, we have been around long enough to see the bricksize clay paver era, where these pavers were the only choice in 6 different colour choices. Through to the larger format clay pavers 300x300 Riviera and Claypave, to himalayan sandstone. Now we usher in the natural stone era and decking is back after a lull in demand for a while.
While a lot of new products come on the market every week offering easier solutions to landscape construction problems, water features, new screening products, vertical gardens and lighting, the options in which you have at your disposal to create your desired landscape are almost endless! And can prove to be a maze of what products are good, what products are not so good, and the best way to achieve what you are aiming to achieve in regards to look, feel and function.
At Nepean, we have seen eras, products, come and go and we have the experience to advice you on elements and products to choose that will provide the results you are seeking, whilst meeting your budget.