The best way to plan a landscape
To plan a landscape – whether it is a small plot or a farm – you need answers to quite a few questions. Maybe this feels like a lot to keep track of in the beginning, but if you take it a little bit at a time, most of it will turn out to be fairly obvious. To make it easy to grasp, I am sharing a finished landscape design.
Questions to start with
To get into the right mindset, you can start by answering the following questions:
⇾ How are your taps supplied with drinking water
⇾ Where do the household’s energy and electricity come from
⇾ What happens to your waste
⇾ What was the total amount of rainfall in your area last year
⇾ When was the last storm or flood
⇾ In what place do you get the most wind; wintertime, summertime
⇾ How long is the growing season where you live
⇾ Are there any edible wild plants in your area
⇾ What wild animals live in your area
⇾ Is there a risk of wildlife damage
⇾ What are the most common tree varieties in your area
⇾ Which birds thrive on the site; in winter, summer, year-round
⇾ How did the landscape look like; 100 years ago, 50 years ago
⇾ How did people live in your area in the past?
⇾ Which is the highest and lowest solar angle, respectively
⇾ Which direction is south
⇾ Which wildflowers come first in the spring
⇾ Do the first flowers provide food for pollinators
Ängsvägen – An example of how to plan a landscape
Welcome to Ängsvägen, home to two adults and two children. The name means Meadow Road, which is a fitting name. The current situation and the owners’ wishes for the land The family that lives here wants to, in the long run, become more self-sufficient. Today, both work full time, but they plan to cut down on working hours within a few years. Right now, only a small part of the plot is used, where the most used parts are the wooden decks around the house, a smaller cultivation area just below the house, and a small potato field on the meadow down below.
The house is a converted summer house and has electric heating. Still, thanks to an efficient fireplace and a newly installed air heat pump, they have already considerably lowered their heating costs. To save even more money, they want a greenhouse near the entrance, on the south-west side of the house. There is also an outdoor fireplace that they want to build the greenhouse around, to extend the growing season. The idea is to be able to heat the area during periods of frost. Between the greenhouse and the entrance, they want a pergola – to provide extra shade in the summer. To further reduce the temperature indoors during hot summer periods, they want a so-called solar chimney installed. Further down the road, they also want to install solar panels for hot water in the summer.
To plan a landscape on this plot isn’t the easiest because it is mostly mountainous, partly with steep sections. The northern and northwestern part above the house consists of 90 per cent of rocky cliffs, with only small cultivable areas for – for example – herbs and other drought-resistant plants. The areas below the house; the middle part of the plot, has a smaller terraced area which today is used for a small vegetable garden. This area they want to expand and plan better. The rest of the middle part of the plot the family wants to distribute so that the upper part becomes a small “food forest” with fruit trees and berry bushes. On the rest of it, they want space for both chickens and ducks. Down in the meadow, they want to grow most of their vegetables in raised beds – both to promote the microclimate, and to get a more comfortable working height.
The best area for gardening is the flat meadow at the bottom of the plot’s southeastern area. This is where they want to grow most of their vegetables – partly for immediate consumption, but above all to save for the long winters. The family understands and accepts that there will be some extra effort due to having the crop and garden …