For your area you can use the exact combination of

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for your area, you can use the exact combination of plant material, as long as it fits the sun and shade requirements. Ask about growing and maintenance requirements to determine if the plants will fit your needs. At local nurseries, you can gather and arrange several potted plants to see how they look together. Although they are small, you can still get a good idea about texture and color composition. Another way to identify your personal style is to look through magazines and books for ideas. Study the images and note the details. What do you like about the design? Will it work in your space? You will not be able to duplicate the exact design because your site will be different in location, size, and shape, but there are often many features you can adapt to your site. Appropriate hardscape materials and plants for your region can be substituted for those in the sample design by choosing materials and plants with the same characteristics. Try to picture how the features will look in your yard and where they might be placed. Several different ideas may be knitted together to create a final design. It is important to keep in mind that the gardens and yards you see in magazines and books are chosen because they are outstanding examples, and they are typically gardens that are cared for by people with extensive gardening knowledge. Keep in mind your (or your contractor’s) maintenance abilities and knowledge and adjust the design appropriately. SITE CONDITIONS How do you know if a design you like will work in your yard? First, compare the architectural style of the houses and try to find similarities between your house and the sample house. Study the hardscape materials in the sample design. Do the same colors and materials work with your house? If necessary, what substitutions could you use and still retain the desired look? Imagine your house with the same or similar plant materials—remember that the plants can be arranged differently to fit the dimensions of your yard. For more information on plant selection, see Right Plant, Right Place: The Art and Science of Landscape Design – Plant Selection and Siting ( ). Second, look at the shape and size of the footprint (outline) of your house in relation to your lot size and shape. For this you will need an official boundary survey that shows the exact footprint, with dimensions, and it’s location within the property boundaries. This will tell you if you have room for the features you desire and where those features can be located. Pay particular attention to the shape of the spaces or voids between your house and the property lines. These are the areas where your features will be located and will help determine the potential form or shape for those
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11 features. For example, a rectangular yard may look best with rectangular shapes in the hardscape. The shape of the house will also provide clues as to the type of shape you should use in the yard. If the house has diagonal walls or
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