Landscaping is one of the most underrated aspects of home design.
Commonly, it is the last thing homeowners consider during the
planning process, and the first thing that is docked from the budget.
Why then is landscaping so important, and why is it so frequently
overlooked? Exploring this thread of thought is Melbourne Pool +
Outdoor Design’s Robin Harper, who sits down with Kyle McClure,
owner of Unique Courtyards, to expand upon the essential role
landscaping plays in home design, and how it can increase the
property value of one’s residential estate.
Specialising in high-end residential homes and pool surrounds, McClure initially started out working for his family’s landscaping business, McClure’s Landscapes. There for many years, it wasn’t until his father decided to pivot from the landscaping industry to focus on school maintenance that McClure came to a crossroads in his life. Deciding to take a break for the winter and spend time in Mount Hotham, McClure found clarity and endeavoured to continue his landscaping venture. “It allowed me to transfer the great skills and knowledge I gained while working with McClure’s Landscapes, but also the opportunity to add my own creative design solutions,” McClure said.
Upping Your Value
Depending on the layout of one’s home, the landscape may very well be the first thing people see before entering the property. Whether you arrive through a gate or walk up the driveway to the front door, you are greeted by the space that separates the home from the sidewalk. McClure asserts that the landscaping is one of the most valuable elements to a property and contributes majorly to its value. “A welcoming entrance can give your house great street appeal,” he says, and adds, “Outdoor spaces can be transformative and can create a tone for the place you call home. Quality landscaping can create a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor, expanding the number of useable spaces through planning and design.” It is recommended, however, that the greenery and landscaping of your property is approached with a certain level of thoughtfulness and consideration.
“Having the right blend of hard and soft scapes is important,” advises McClure. In the past, he has worked on projects where elements such as the decks, retaining walls and paving presented like a concrete jungle. “It’s not until the soft touch of plants and greenery is added that the area comes to life and feels more homely and seamless,” he says, and adds, “Greenery can offer a feature and can soften any harsh scapes. It can also offer a calming and cooling element.”
Nothing Greater Than Green
Melbourne, as a relatively cold and wet city, can lend itself well to green landscapes – particularly in the suburban areas where there is more room for plant life to flourish. Incorporation of greenery into your outdoor space can also drastically elevate your home’s aesthetic presence. “The effect that greenery has on a landscape project is highly influential to the outcome of the project,” says McClure, and adds, “Greenery and colour that comes with the use of planting helps bring the job together and can have a calming and cooling effect on the body as well as adding depth to any landscape project. The use of carefully placed feature trees along with garden lighting will add an extra element to the garden once the sun goes down.” With eco-design becoming a main staple in many homeowners’ domestic aesthetic, greenery is more in demand than ever before. Trees and hedges are often used in the front yard to create privacy, transforming the harshness of industrial materials to be one with nature. When you sit down to decide what plants you want for your garden, McClure recommends choosing your plants decisively and what plants thrive in different conditions. “Knowing the path of the sun will help assist in this area. I would always suggest plants for the future, not the now.
Then you will minimise the chances of everything becoming overgrown,” he says. Turf areas can also contribute to the purpose and presentation of an outdoor space, as its versatility means you can create the space to fit your personal lifestyle. If a highly manicured garden is something you have in mind, remember that frequent maintenance is key. “Without constant care, a garden can quickly become overgrown and weed ridden, losing its appeal,” he says, and adds, “A simple way to assist in your plants health is an automated sprinkler system with rain sensor. If set up right, it will run seamlessly and require very little attention.”
When approaching a landscaper for your outdoor space, careful planning and precise coordination is key. “Our first step would be to coordinate an on-site consultation in order to gauge our prospective clients’ requirements and vision,” McClure says. “At this time, we also do a site measure to allow us to create a simple, but effective, scaled landscape sketch. The sketch outlines the proposed plan,” he explains. They then discuss this plan with the client for any changes to the designs and materials they may want done to ensure that it fits into their budget and requirements. According to McClure, “A quality design is key in making the most of any outdoor space. Spending time at the planning phase is crucial to the project’s overall success and functionality.” If you’re thinking of taking your landscaping to the next level, McClure has some parting advice: “Make sure you have a plan, don’t just go about it willy-nilly and see what you come up with. It will inevitably look that way, so you must be confident with your vision … Put it on paper and make sure your vision fits in reality.”
Images courtesy of Unique Courtyards
Images courtesy of Unique Courtyards