Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Outdoor Living (4 of 7): Landscape Planning

Some of the worst mistakes in outdoor planning are picking the wrong vegetation.  Nobody thinks of what the plant will look like when it is fully grown.  Sure, as a sapling the tree you pick is perfect right next to your house – but then it GROWS!  Now you have a cracked foundation and your house gets pummeled every time the wind blows.  So not only did you pay for a cool tree, now you have to pay a whole lot more to get that cool tree out of there.

But do not fret!  Trees are awesome when planned correctly.  The ideal yard will take advantage of all kinds of species.  With drastic climate changes in Colorado and the sometimes severe weather we have to deal with, trees and other vegetation can be very helpful.  If planted on the south side of the house (and far enough away that roots and branches are not a problem) deciduous trees (or leafy trees) are perfect for summer and winter.  In the summer they provide shade on the house which reduces cooling costs and allows sunlight (and heat) through in the winter. 

Conifers (or evergreen trees) are good to plan into your landscape as well.  With the extreme winds we can have, especially in the foothills, conifers provide great wind breaks.  Because they do not shed leaves you do want to be careful where you plant them.  If they are on the south side of sidewalks or driveways then the sun has a difficult time melting ice and you will be cursing every winter as you’re hacking at the ice with your snow shovel.  It also will prevent ice and snow from melting on the roof which could create ice dams and trap water eventually finding its way inside.

So plan carefully, and be aware of the size and location of each plant (especially trees) and you will have a yard that you will enjoy all year long.

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