Have you ever wondered what exactly makes an outdoor space comfortable? Well, the answer is simple and it depends on where you live and who you are. From personal experience, I can tell you, however, that there are a few conditions that almost always lead to ease and comfort.
First of all, it’s important for the landscape to contain one or more places for people so they can enjoy the time they spend outdoors. The space needs to be perfect for it’s intended use, including having the right size. Getting in and out of it should also be convenient, so the door that leads to it shouldn’t be too far or too many steps below or above. However, this rule can be ignored if the space was designed to be a meditative or a separate place.
Regardless of its purpose and size, every outdoor gathering space needs to be unique and interesting and not look like any other gathering space out there. A certain degree of privacy is also recommended to have if possible, as are the opportunities for coolth and warmth during the cold and warm seasons. A great view should also be a part of the package.
The car space should also be very comfortable and in order to be great, the driveway, but also the nearby turnaround or parking spaces need to be big enough, simple to use and inviting. Cars need not dominate in any way the view from any significant rooms of the property. Also, to ensure water runs off and prevent icing and puddles, the pavement needs to pitch a bit. However, it shouldn’t pitch too much as to make driving risky or difficult or cause the pavement and nearby ground to be eroded by heavy rains.
Ecosystem and Habitat Services
For the purpose of supporting a wide range of unseen and seen wild animals, a landscape should incorporate a few (at least) plants that are native to your specific geographic location. In the best case scenario, a part of these plants are going to grow in semi wild conservation patches or groups in order to offer a wide array of niches and conditions. Non-living ground, including mowed lawn, needs to occupy maximum 50% of the overall acreage. The rest of the land should be filled with a wide range of vegetation in combinations such as gardens, food crops, but also shrubs, groves, pastures, orchards, meadows and so on.
Nature does a lot of ecosystem services for us, which includes controlling pests, regulating climate, but also fuel and food. The good news is that your landscape can also do its part in all this hard work. If you’re wondering how, well, it’s by containing a large area where multi-layered, but also diverse vegetation thrives, where woody plants produce O2 and the soil purifies and eventually absorbs the rainwater.
There are many ways each landscape contains that can help protect the abundant resources of our planet. To make this possible, you just need to look at our grounds and gardens through a new lens of humility and conservation.
Saving can be greatly inspired by scarcity, but it’s not a good idea to wait until our resources and expenses become rare or until the environment is altered to the point of no return. Surely we can be a lot smarter than that, especially since we’re living in the age of technology and information. Therefore, regardless of where we live, it’s important to ensure our landscapes are designed in such a way that they require minimal gas powered maintenance, garden chemicals, soil amendments and watering. And since gas and coal have not yet been replaced by wind and solar power, it’s best to also use as little electricity as possible in our landscapes.
All the qualities discussed above are flexible and general, yet barely the minimum requirements for what I believe is a good landscape. There are no fixed formulas for achieving them and in what styles, materials, arrangements or proportions, yet this is exactly what adds so much fun to the (in my opinion) pleasure of landscaping.