When it comes to planning landscape design, it’s not often considered from the inside out. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, we find ourselves spending all our time inside. Limited access to parks and public spaces has left us devoid of our need for fresh air, bright sunlight, and space to run around. Following a long Canadian winter, further extending our time indoors has been particularly challenging. As architects and homeowners, this has been the perfect time for us to dream up landscape plans.
Planning LANDSCAPE DESIGN
Landscaping is often planned too late in the season. By planning in the winter rather than early spring, you can hit shovel to the ground (literally) as soon as the frost melts. By starting earlier than you think necessary, the landscaping can be fully enjoyed for the entirety of our short (but sacred) two-month Canadian summer. However, as we expand upon below, enjoying the landscaping shouldn’t be limited to summer only.
Landscape design isn’t entirely different than designing a home. The “room” is bigger and the “building materials” may be more organic, but the same principles hold true. Circulation, interaction, privacy, and views/vistas are among the principles we consider in each design. As architects, we always place emphasis on the link to the principal building or home.
The key to good landscaping in our Canadian climate is the ability to enjoy it – to some degree – year-round. For us, this means starting from the inside out. If we are designing the home itself, we ensure that we plan indoor spaces to optimize outdoor views and vistas. This sets the stage. Looking from the inside out, we consider how the spaces can be enjoyed seasonally.
Plants that hold their leaves through the winter, evergreen trees, or hedges are often preferred in areas where sightlines from the interior are prominent year-round. Similarly, shrubs that flower in the spring/summer and change colour through the fall maximize enjoyment regardless of the season.
While it’s nice to see your pool from the largest windows of your home, do you really want to stare at a tarp that’s covered in dead leaves for the remaining 8 months of the year? Same goes for an outdoor kitchen. Having it right outside your kitchen doors is convenient, until it begins to taunt you all winter long with the reminder that grilled steak on a perfect summer night is still a few months away.
Another important consideration is the location of outdoor fireplaces and/or fire pits. Without proper planning, they can create unintended dangers to your home.
Read more about Indoor/Outdoor living spaces in our article on “Framing Our Perspective“.
If you’re embarking on a landscape design project, connect with us to discuss.