garden design

Garden Labyrinths: A Journey To The Center

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The Wonders Of Garden Labyrinths

By: Lauren M. Liff for Dabah Landscape Designs

 

        Quite recently a new outdoor trend has experienced a surge in popularity – garden labyrinths. In reality, outdoor labyrinths are not a new trend at all; they have been created all over the world for centuries. A garden labyrinth is an intricately designed maze that is giving landscape design a new spin. These unique and beautiful structures are designed in a wide variety of shapes and out of an endless range of materials. They are viewed as a meditation aid providing a relaxed, calm, serene feeling to anyone who enters.  

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        A labyrinth differs from a maze in that the intent is not to journey through but to. They are made up of a singular curving pathway leading to a central area meant for meditation and reflection – the walker proceeds along the path as a walking meditation and upon reaching the center, they pause, turn around, and walk back out. These wondrous designs have been around for thousands of years and are used in a number of different fashions ranging from ceremonial purposes to choreographed dances.

        Studies were done by Dr. Herbert Benson at the Harvard Medical Schools’ Mind/Body Medical Institute on the effects and benefits of labyrinths on the human mind. These studies showed that “focused walking meditations are highly efficient at reducing anxiety” and that the effects hold significant long-term health benefits. Walking through a labyrinth can lower your blood pressure and breathing rates, it can reduce incidents of chronic pain and insomnia and aid in improving fertility among a number of other benefits. Labyrinths have been installed in hospitals, health care facilities and spas across the globe because of the amazing health benefits they hold.

        It is said that the garden labyrinth can become a metaphor for the journey of life: we are all on our own individual singular path through life, full of twists and turns, and just like each person’s individual life, every experience and every moment is different from person to person. Labyrinths represent ones’ journey inward to discover ones true self and then the journey back into the everyday world. Walking a labyrinth is a right brain activity – it triggers creativity, intuition and imagination. It can be your own personal tool to clear your mind, release anxiety, aid in transitional periods or provide healing and self-knowledge.

        Garden labyrinths are becoming increasingly popular throughout the world and their styles can be as simple as using a rope to outline the path or as intricate as using detailed stonework and pavers to create the delicate symbol. Labyrinth designs, paver kits, stencils and pre-made pathways can be ordered online or DIY tutorials are readily available as well. Hardscaping ones property normally consists of the usual yet ever popular items: retaining walls, patios, outdoor kitchens or fire pits…why not stand out from the crowd and add a hardscape feature to your property that is truly unique. Building an outdoor labyrinth into your landscape will not only make your property one of a kind, but it will give you a one of a kind experience with every walk you take. 

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Guide To Working With The Right Landscape Designer: Part 1

Top 4 Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Landscape Designer

By: Lauren M. Liff for Dabah Landscape Design

 

         Transforming your property into a beautiful work of art can be an incredibly exciting endeavor and even more so if the entire process goes smoothly. When making the decision to hire a landscape designer you want to make sure you avoid any surprises that may pop up mid-project as much as possible. To avoid such instances, you want to raise the right questions prior to beginning and throughout the duration of your project. Before you even begin your search for a landscape designer, you want to make sure you know what you are looking to have done. It helps to walk around your property and write down a “wish list” so to speak, of projects you would like to have completed. Make a list of projects you yourself would like to complete and which projects you would prefer to have a professional do. Writing out your thoughts and ideas will help give you a clear sense of what you want to have done before speaking to a professional. Once you’ve found landscape designers that you would like to contact, asking the following 4 questions will make sure that you end up hiring the right person for the job.

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1. What services do you offer? You want to make sure that the landscape designer you are thinking of hiring can provide you with the services you are looking for. Landscape designers fall into one of three categories: design only, design-build and full service design-build-maintain. Knowing what services a company offers will help you chose the one that is best suited for your project.

2. Can I see examples of your past work? If you are looking for your property to have a certain style, you want to make sure that the landscape designer has worked on other projects with that same style. You want to hire someone who can bring your dream landscape to life and have it be everything you envisioned and more.

3. Is work done in house or is it subcontracted out? It’s always good to find out who is actually going to be completing the project. Some landscape designers use subcontractors for certain aspects of the job such as hardscape installation or carpentry features. It’s best to work with a company who will be in control of every phase of the job – if the landscape designer uses a subcontractor, if that person has a problem it could throw off the entire job.

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4. What is your process? A landscape designer’s process will depend on what services the company offers. Understanding the process of completing your project will allow you to know what to expect throughout the duration of your job. You also want to be honest with the designer about your budget – setting a budget up front is incredibly important because it will tell the designer not that they need to spend the entire budget, but what they can accomplish within the set budget.

 

         You want to find a landscape designer who can help you to bring your landscape vision to life – someone who can complete the job within your budget without skimping on the creativity. Asking these questions first will give you that leg up on your project and better prepare you for the entire process. A well-designed and maintained landscape can increase your property value by at least 20%. With an investment like that, you absolutely want to be sure you are getting your dream landscape from a design professional who will provide you with exceptional service from start to finish.

 

Guide to working with the right landscape designer: Part 2

 

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The 'What' and 'How' Behind Landscape Design

Landscape Design: More Art than Science

By: Lauren M. Liff for Dabah Landscape Designs

 

            Almost everyone can appreciate a well-designed landscape but chances are that most of them believe that landscape design is merely putting plants in the ground. Truth is, landscape design is so much more than it appears to be. As landscape designers it is our duty to explain to you what exactly landscape design is and what it entails. Landscape design is an art form; it is where nature, culture and vision are combined to transform a property into a functional, creative and beautiful outdoor space.

            To put it simply, landscape design is the practice of putting together a plan that best utilizes an outdoor space in the most beautiful way. Designing a property takes time, energy, imagination, creativity and lots and lots of planning. Landscape design is broken down into two categories: softscapes and hardscapes. Softscapes encompasses all of the plant materials used in the landscape whereas hardscaping pertains to the stonework that is implemented into the design (such as rock walls, walkways, patios and more).

            There are 4 main principles when it comes to landscape design: proportion, order, repetition and unity. Proportion refers to the size of an object in relation to others in the landscape – this is more commonly used when implementing hardscapes into the design. Orders refer mainly to organization and balance in the landscape; this is very important when designing a space with plant materials. Repetition is used to create a familiar pattern and feel to the landscape – a landscape designer will repeat the use of certain plant materials or elements throughout the design. The last principle is unity; this refers to the flow of the landscape. Landscape designers want to ensure that all materials used in the project work together to create a theme, style or specific atmosphere that best reflects the clients’ personality and vision.

            Landscape designers are professionally trained to apply their extensive knowledge of space theory, design principles and the “right plant, right place” concept to best utilize any outdoor space. “Right plant, right place” refers to choosing the correct plant material for the specific site conditions. Soil conditions, amount of sunlight, drainage conditions, wildlife and watering practices are just some of the things that are taken into consideration when selecting the plant material for a project. Landscape designers have an extensive horticultural knowledge base, making them the “go-to” plant experts. Where a plant should be placed, how it should be maintained and how to manage pests and diseases are only a few of the questions professional landscape designers can easily answer.

            Aside from the aesthetics and horticultural knowledge – to ensure the functionality of the design, a landscape designer will take into account the spaces that are used, the clients’ lifestyle and the constantly changing needs of the clients’ home. A landscape designer will use their knowledge and ideas to help a client realize factors that they might not have considered previously. Each project is overseen by the designer, from the initial consultation to the completion of the project – they want to ensure that the completed work exceeds expectation and that the clients’ dream landscape has become a reality.

            When designing an outdoor space, designers take into consideration the clients’ budget and vision, site conditions, amount of usable space and the use of appropriate plants and other materials. Most people rush straight into the installation and construction phase of an outdoor design, without taking these important factors into account. This leads to a project that costs more than what they wanted to spend, more work than they wanted to do and a project that most likely will provide a less than acceptable end result. This is why hiring a professional designer comes in handy; they take all aspects of the job site into account to design and install a breathtaking one-of-a-kind creation. In a time and cost effective manner, landscape designers can transform an ordinary outdoor area into an extraordinary work of art that can last for many seasons to come.

http://apldca.org/what-is-landscape-design/

https://www.landscapingnetwork.com/landscape-design/principles.html

http://cislandscaping.com/what-is-landscape-design-and-why-do-you-need-a-landscape-designer/