I need help with the exterior of my home
February 21, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I am looking for finishing for the exterior which will give this house a contemporary look.
thank you very much for you help
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0 Likes   February 21, 2013 at 4:15AM
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Universal Landscape, Inc.

1) Function, 2) Style of the Design 3) Considering the Attributes of the Property 4) Considering Attributes of the home's architecture 5) Choosing a Relaxed or Formal look that can be done with any style 6 & 7) How lines affect people's sense in a Garden; Example - Paths & Focal Points 8) Satisfying the Senses 9) Budget

1 & 2) If you are dealiing with the design of the hardscape and landscape, the first step in the process when we deal with clients is to think of the function and the style of the look they desire. Seems as you have the style chosen, the next thoughts in the design would look to function - how do you choose to use the area(s).

3) This has much to do with the dimensions of the property and how the home sits on it. Factors of the shape and grade of the property, if you may be dealing with undesired views outside of the property and sounds (traffic, etc.) , depending on where you live.

4) The exterior hardscape and landscape should always compliment the architecture of the home, while making the home look like it is a natural fit to compliment the home's design itself. (Peaks of the roof line where applicable, complimented with accents that reflect lines of the windows, doors, accents of the house (1 story or two).

5) When choosing a formal design with your contemporary style, (or any design style), this is accented by straight lines in the walk areas and reflected in the trees and hedge, flower groupings and shapes, Straight lines or geometric shapes repeated in the hardscape, landscape and furniture to a degree are all ingredients which compliment and present a reflection of the style throughout the garden. * For a more relaxed look the lines of the walk paths, gardens, shape of the patios / decks in an outdoor entertainment area should be more curved and rounded. Lending more to a curved path than a straight one as it is more relaxing to the eye. And what the eye sees is picked up subconsciously in how an area feels when looking at it.

How lines affect people's sense in a property; Example Paths : For example, with path way designs, when a path is laid out in a straight line, people will tend to walk more directly through the area at a quicker pace, as the path simply suggests to get to where one is going. If the path is curved and more meandering, people tend to respond to walking a bit more leisurely through the area. If the paths are thinned through an area - people will tend to speed up through that space. If the path is made a good bit wider in an area - people will tend to slow down. If you place a bench or some chairs in that exaggerated wider area - people will tend to wish to sit there. The design can have an effect like an 'imaginary magnet' almost, helping to set the tone of how people feel in an area, and affecting their pace. And if you choose to open that space in a path and place a chair or bench or some seating area, you have the opportunity to hold their eye and the view they will see for an extended time, and across from that spot - is a great spot for a Focal Point piece.

Rule of thumb - whenever you have an extended view, either from inisde looking out, or any view taken in from a seating area - or a long path way, that view should be framed as best as possible, like in art, you are establishing a setting view - and always a spot for framing the sides and a focal point well placed that will attract the eye in that scene. Whether it is an extended walkway with a beautiful blooming plant at the end, straight on or offset, a tree, a palm, a water feature or a sculpted piece or statuary.

8) SATISFYING THE 5 SENSES : Simply consider the full effects a garden or landscape and hardscape can deliver by checking : 1) What you see of course - but also what you don't wish to see

2) Smell - if you like the smell of Jasmine's or Gardenia's are a great start to those who love a fragrant garden, Roses, herbs, lavender's - there usually isn't much of a middle ground commonly, many feel strongly either for - or against fragrances - if you're in the middle, I would suggest trying a little bit - and finding out if you like them. For people with bad allergies, good to usually stay away from these in the garden or landscape.

3) The feel, touch & 4) Taste - does the landscape or garden have unique conversation pieces in it, as in the tropical south something with a unique touch like a 'Teddy Bear Palm' for example just to name one - that has a shaft of the tree that actually looks and feels to the touch like an actual 'teddy bear'. Or a working vegetable or herb garden that can be productive and an asset to the kitchen and fragrance of the home, and offers a good therapuetic outlet for some. Taste - beyond the vegetable garden, fruit trees can be a nice compliment to a home and a nice little extra some realtors may say in a sale.

5) SOUND : Everything above is dealing with what you see - and what you see has a great affect on how an area feels - the last factor to make that landscape, hardscape, garden area complete - is to affect the sound that property has. From large waterfalls, to soft streams, smaller fountains or ornamental water pieces, even a backdrop to some properties with music from speakers, with the opportunity for some to enjoy the yard in a game, to sit down, walk through or kick back in a hammock - you take those points into consideration - and you have a pretty good shot at getting the kind of property, landscape, hardscape, outdoor garden you're wishing for.

Think of how you choose to use the area, if you have parties, how many people to entertain, laying out furniture before you determine the dimensions and measurements of your deck. (13' - 16' feet round usually good for many round table areas of 4 - 6 people). Think of drainage ! Consider those 'monsoon' type days and plan for them.

9) BUDGET : These points apply to ANY BUDGET RANGE. Consider professional help, if you're budget can't afford a landscape designer, then find out about how the plants and trees grow and their size 'at maturity'. And always plant for maturity. Know what you're planting before its in the ground and how large you expect it to be. The landscape is a 'living art' and most often - you can save a lot of money with some patience for material to grow larger. The smaller something is - the less it often costs, compared to larger varieties.

If you're budget allows for a landscape designer, contractor - then find one who is willing to help you get what you want as a goal, not what they want. Their role is to serve you, and their goal is to help ensure that you are satisfied. If you find someone who is taking notes, showing examples, trying to determine what you are looking for and is easy to work with - you may be on to somebody, and their portfolio, affiliations and natural talent you should feel comfortable with as it is a 'partnership effort'.

Take competing quotes, get a feel for who will go the extra mile - and when you get right down to it - if you don't like the design - it doesn't matter what it costs - don't waste your money. First thing of importance is the design - then make it work for the budget the best you can - or - do it in stages - the same way many do the interior of the home.

Hope this info helps some and if any are interested in how to make your landscape grow to a strong maturity from the time of new installation - onward there is an article on our website which covers :


To find it you can visit our website at: www.universaldevgroup.com - then click on the 'Customer's Corner' Button on the top in the right column of the home page - and click on the article titled "An Introduction to Your Landscape"

If you are in south florida, we would love to be of service if we can, if not, I sincerely hope some may gain something helpful from the above.

Sal Ceraulo
Universal Landscape, Inc.
0 Likes   February 21, 2013 at 5:03AM
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