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plant selection and design

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by lawnworker, Oct 31, 2002.

  1. lawnworker

    lawnworker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 897

    I am weak in my knowledge of plants, particulery perennials. Also, when it comes to desighn "plant placement" I just don't have the skills yet to know what Looks good where. In my area colerful perennials mixed with other shrubs and trees is becoming the norm for high end landscaping. Can anyone reccomend good books that can be purchased at--say Barnes & Nobels to help learn design skills and help with learning as much as possible about all plants, shrubs and perennials. I know most of the basic shrubs like nandinas, azaleas,and boxwoods by sight, but there are many shrubs and plants I don't have a clue what they are. After cutting lawns for twenty years for people I should know better. I don't want to appear dumb if a customer asks me about a plant.
  2. greenman

    greenman LawnSite Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    Enrolling in a Master Gardener Program will really help. The program sould be free through your county extention. From what I hear, the most part of it is hands-on by volunteering throughout your community.
  3. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    I hate to burst your bubble but the only way to learn this is by doing it....and doing it allot. I dont pretend to be a good designer. If I have a bigger job I go to a nursery desnger...and itd its really big, a real "architect"...but thats big bucks and I'm not sure you need that with the jobs you may bid on....I've been digging in the dirt for 25 years and I still am not happy with some of my design ideas.....heres something you can do while you are at home....turn on HGTV...they often have very informative landscape design shows on and they point this show at the homeowner so anybody can follow it......this is a great resource...and theygive you a b4 and after snapshot....watch carefully the CONCEPTS they talk about....things like not too many plants, working with making the landscape 'inviting'...there is so much to design but this is a place to start.....and take a class or two as mentioned above....also when you are driving around...keep your eyes open for properties that look good...you will likely see tiered effects, higher to lower...etc...I wish I had the eye for design but I dont...at least in my case I need to realize what I'm good at and not good at....good luck
  4. greenman

    greenman LawnSite Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    I agree with kitzy. It takes time to learn all the different plants, trees , and such. Designing.....thats hard by yourself. There are computer programs that work very well. A digital pic can be loaded into the software, and you can design it with help from the software. Several different designs can be printed out to be previewed by the client. I always wanted to be a landscape architect/designer, but I like the dirty work better.:D
  5. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    I would say that the fastest most efficient way to learn plants and design is to work for someone else, but it sounds like you are well established in lawn care and would have to give up to much to do that.
    For plant ID, get to the nursery often and look at all of one type of plant, write down their names and list what is different from one to the next. Go back and test yourself, then do it with another group ...
    When it comes to design the key is to understand what you are looking at when you see what you or other people like. Become aware of form, color, and texture of plants. When you see a good planting, break it down into those elements and try to understand how those elements were used to make it look good. Once you can pick it apart you can see what is going on. Once you understand what is working it is easy to apply to a new project.
  6. lawnworker

    lawnworker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 897

    Thanks for the replies. I will take some of this good advice and apply it.

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