Notes from the Garden: Landscape Renovations – Keeping It All in Proportion

Landscape renovations by Unlimited Earth Care
Photo: Courtesy Unlimited Earth Care

The landscape can tie together newly designed areas of the home. It can add drama and enhance the scale of any dwelling. The best way to start a renovation is by removing the existing evergreens and anything overgrown; the paths might be outdated too.

But what if you love that old tree or would prefer to “think green” and recycle those plants that have served their original purpose? Sometimes trees and shrubs can be replanted in another area for privacy to hide naked spaces like fences or property boundaries, and create a mixed border by transplanting what you already have in your existing landscape.

After clearing the area of any construction debris, allowed the ground time to settle a bit, and transplanted everything that can be saved, you can start all over at the foundation with natural lines and curves which add more depth to the house. Stretching the landscaping past the house creates a wider field of view that the eyes naturally tend to follow, making the house appear larger and more pleasant.

A basic rule of thumb is to mix evergreens for winter structure, tall and short shrubs like Boxwoods or Hydrangea, plenty of ground cover for the transitions between areas like Hosta and ferns, and lots of perennials for color throughout the seasons.

A path to the front door might be a simple upgrade to any home, but if the path is only 3 feet wide and the last step to the front door is 5 feet wide, the whole thing is thrown out of balance and disproportionate, so be sure they measure up. Think about the windows, considering the colors or materials, and when choosing plants use groups of threes or fives while mixing color and texture on the property because repeating elements create greater consistency and more pleasing views.

In the end, it all comes down to proportions, from the design of the façade, choice and layout of the building materials and finally, the landscaping elements. Just keep these basic principles in mind when doing any landscape renovation so it is far more likely to come together nicely, and you’ll be pleased to come home, over and over again.

Landscape designer, writer and lecturer, Frederico Azevedo is the founder of Unlimited Earth Care, Inc., providing high quality landscape design and maintenance to the Hamptons for 25 years. For more information, call 631-725-7551 or visit

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