This chapter includes philosophy of landscape design, procedure of landscape designing and finally preparing landscape design document. In brief, installation and planting of trees is also discussed. Important landscape maintenance practices like pruning, fertilization, mowing and pest control are also explained.
Keywords: CAD programs, design document, hardscape, landscape design, scale, turf.
13.1. Landscape Design
Landscape is highly sophisticated and productive enterprise in the world. Landscapes are appreciated for their characters, structures and arrangements, and people tend to have an inherent resistance to variations in the visual appearance of familiar or local landscapes (Moore-Colyer and Scott 2005). For thousands of years, meaning of space have improved as people remodeled the landscape according to needs in different times. These developments in architectural landscape designs are marked with social imprints which were unique to their environment and place in time. Historically, in the developed world, aesthetic gratification remained a dominant consideration. The constructed landscapes and gardens in the history serve as unlimited source of vision and motivation. Comprehending how the components of nature have been modified
♦Muhammad Qasim* and Atif Riaz
Institute of Horticultural Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
*Corresponding author’s e-mai: email@example.com
Managing editors: Iqrar Ahmad Khan and Muhammad Farooq
Editors: Ahmad Sattar Khan and Khurram Ziaf
University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
in different eras and localities attracts us. In the recent years, growing investments and interests in landscape enterprise are evidenced in the developing world (Boults and Sullivan 2010). Few decades back, worldwide environmental considerations have gained popularity and in designing landscape functional capabilities of physical elements are prioritised. To address the issues, worldwide research is underway to find out the solutions of these concerns and productive outcomes have mended the ways to develop strategic measures about conservation of nature. Modern trends in landscape are based on sustainability by adopting eco-friendly approaches (Leitão and Ahern 2002) including landscaping in a way that conserves natural resources paired with the object to make the premises functional and aesthetically good looking. Culture and traditions always influenced decision making for landscape designing with the awareness of environmental concerns regarding various modern trends like vertical and layered landscaping, green roofs, diverse land use for multiple purposes such as, spiritual, cultural and functional gardens in designing landscape tells the success stories. Pictured examples include wise use of water and introduction of drought tolerant species of plants and possibly reducing the area under lawn encouraging more perennials and shrubs in design. Moreover, internationally various slogans, like “Mix it Up”, which promotes culturing of edibles with ornamentals aiming to conserve biodiversity and to enhance urban production have given encouragement to these initiatives.
Followings are the timeline of some significant events of landscape in the world history:
Prehistory to 6th Century
Early civilizations established the landscape to understand and honour the mysteries of nature. Mesopotamian Hunting Parks (Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians:
2500 BCE–612 BCE), geometric space division (Pasargadae, Persia 546 BCE), paved courtyard and garden court (House of the Vettii, Pompeii 79 CE), peristyle gardens (Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli, Italy 118 CE) and Spring of Khosrow Carpet (Iraq
540 CE) were some of the prehistoric idea of the gardens.
6th to15th Centuries (Middle Ages)
The functional and aesthetic modification of nature was practiced during middle ages. Walled gardens (Western Europe), Islamic garden style (8th–10th centuries, Moorish Spain), nature’s splendor in a garden (China) and spirit of nature (Japanese gardens) represented a wide range of environmental and cultural conditions at that time.
Muromachi Era (Japan), Ming Dynasty (China), Timurid Garden Cities (Central Asia) and Curious Minds, Broadened Vistas (Italy) greatly influenced landscape spaces during 15th Century. The landscape became manageable as horticultural practices improved and designers better comprehended site planning principles.
In the 16th century, creative forms grew with Renaissance gardens in France and England, Persian art forms travel East in the form of early Mughal Gardens and Tea Gardens of Momoyama Era.
The landscape was ordered by geometries that expressed the power and authority of humans over nature.
The relationship between art and nature in the form of curves, sweeping lawns, serpentine lakes, and billowing trees, defined the “line of beauty”. The English style was influenced by Chinese gardens.
Social reformers lobbied to improve the living conditions of the urban poor by providing public parks.
Landscape design was influenced by architectonic space, trends in the art world, analyses of site conditions and user needs. Significant movements that affected landscape design include the Country Place Era, the City Beautiful Movement, Modernism, Land Art, Environmentalism, Postmodernism and Ecological Design.
Designers are again hopeful that technology can help to reestablish a harmonic balance with nature. The art and science can combine to create beautiful and ecologically responsible design. [Derived from Boults and Sullivan (2010)]
13.1.1. The Philosophy of Landscape Design
A landscape designer should be enthusiastic to address the viewpoint of installed design for a particular theme or working type by adopting a comprehensive and visionary approach and to uplift the appearance of the existing features by applying sound planning, elements and design principles. Existing assets may be large areas of natural open spaces, impressive landmarks, and historic and contemporary buildings with unique heritage and history. A consistent functional landscape plan should meet the needs of the client and address the sustainability issues. Simple landscape considerations and improvements including tree plantings or coordinated site amenities aid to light up the appearance of any installation. Sensitive and practical functional design should ensure that new installations will contribute to the overall appearance of the premises while minimizing maintenance requirements by considering the ecofriendly approaches.
Landscape design is based on the standards for effective participation in the project development process. These standards are set by various country organizations in the form of planning documents. Each landscape project should fulfill the criteria
mentioned in the planning document (Thomas and Middleton 2003). The important concepts mentioned in the planning documents include land use planning; which is based on mission requirements, ecology, physical development, and visual character of the installation, future growth flexibility; which focus on the planning for expansion to meet future needs of the installation, low maintenance requirements; which address the designing and selection of elements for durability and life cycle cost benefits.
Key points to consider for preparing design document include:
1) Purpose and scope for developing design
o Understanding site for its exploitation for peripheral design.
o Understanding the needs of users.
o Organize and developing linkage between space.
o Assessments of adjacent landscape characters.
2) Desk studies
o Identify boundaries and common character of draft areas.
o Identification of important landscape elements such as transition areas, focal points and vegetation.
o Follow the principles of landscape in design development.
o Proper usage of symbols and soft wares for the preparation of design.
3) Preparing final design document
o Design document is finalised by categorizing, drawing and labelling the character areas of design.
o Mention details regarding materials, the colours, and the surface textures.
4) Protection of resources by using sustainable design practices
[Derived from Chapman (2009)]
13.1.2. Landscape Design Process
The landscape design process demonstrated in the Fig. 13.1 develop a coherent relationship among the user, existing site features and comprehensive planning document. The perception of client and designer to the site is the integral part of design process. The purpose of design can be ecological or entertainment which is decided after the right observation of site and its environment. The process begins with the identification of the problems and analysis of clients’ requirements and wants by on-site analysis. The site survey includes the site usage for different activities and existing feature such as vegetation, climate, soil and drainage conditions. Information collected during site survey helps to develop a functional diagram along with the list of problems and needs. At this stage, division of spaces and connection or linkage between created spaces is established by keeping in mind the different activities of the sites. The evolved functional diagram aids to pinpoint the activity spaces on the site for the establishment of conceptual plan of landscape.
After this, weaknesses of conceptual plan are addressed and addition of alternative amendments to the plan documents helps to develop a preliminary design document. The accurate observation and analysis of site for functional diagram preparation is first key to success as it can modify the design process and elevate the excellence of one’s work. The final step of design process is preparation of final design document that includes details of all hardscape and planting materials that are required for installation. This combination of elements incorporates good landscape and urban design principles that will lead to a solution that is functionally efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally sound. A typical conceptual site development plan should show the building configuration, planting design, pavement types, plazas, park areas, and vehicular and pedestrian circulation routes etc.
Identifying the problem
On site analysis
Fig. 13.1 Conceptual diagram of the landscape design process.
Landscape planners all over the world have conducted site survey to execute both scenic beauty assessment of the existing environment and evaluation of visual impact of project site which plays a contributing role to changes in the environment (Roth
2006). Landscape survey is conducted by developing an inventory about site, user needs and wants on a prescribed format. It is the generally based on recording all the information about the site and client requirements. Getting information about the site and the client paves the way for a functional landscape design. This information can be obtained from already existing contemporary landscape values, culture and trends. The uses of basic instruments like camera, measuring tape, pen, diary etc. are mandatory; however, the changing scenario about survey techniques worldwide with the use of modern technologies, such as Global Positioning System (GPS), Google
Map, 3D laser scanners, accelerometer and local satellite images, also play a dynamic role in survey process and developing a landscape design. On-site studies have high capacity validity, but the practical effort involved in such work took considerable time, from many hours to several weeks (Roth and Gruehn 2005). Therefore, different professionals purchase available survey data from organization which provides data services, like GIS-based land use data, landscape metrics, demographic character of area and social survey based information. The public access to huge amount of geographic data on web is possible with available mapping applications such as Google Maps and Bing Maps (Lee et al. 1999; Blaschke et al. 2012).
Although, a comprehensive site analysis tells the designer what he/she has to work with on the property. Landscape planner develop questionnaire to collect data on landscape scenic preference, in order to create a predictive preference model for landscape sites. Landscape questionnaire comprises queries that must be answered while completing a site analysis. Generally, the clients can provide the already existing base map of the lots, which can be used to understand the utility lines and other properties of the site. If the base map is not provided by the client, then site analysis of the existing elements and the utilities are conducted. The base map should contain the property lines, north directional arrow and scale. The base map is used to draw the information collected during the site analysis. This record should include the features, like basic drainage patterns including sewer lines or underground power lines and water tank, locality of existing components including trees, driveways, walks, windows, doors, porches, house, garage, different rooms of the house and other buildings. Moreover, the undesirable features of the property and adjoining area should also be considered in the site analysis. The most important thing that a designer should determine is the environmental conditions for plant growth and the best use of the site. Present vegetation can give clues about type and condition of soil. Topography, drainage, sun and shade patterns should be considered while conducting site analysis. While prioritizing the landscape requirement and wants, by thinking about the existing and future demands of the user, will help the designer to exploit the usefulness of landscape over several years. Consideration of maintenance requirement and budget should be addressed in the landscape design process.
13.1.4. Preparing Design Document
Proper selection of various tools with right specification is important to make a manual drawing. For example, the right choice of the type of drawing pencil with different line width and lettering templates can make a difference. Traditionally, the landscape design formation is carried out by developing a drawing manually but with the advancement of technology, various modern designing tools and softwares are in use. The designers use Computer Aided Design programs such as AutoCAD and 3D Studio Max coupling with Google Sketch Up and Photoshop; while, immature and beginner use Sierra Complete Land Designer 3D, Real Time Landscape Architecture and Smart Draw to carry out landscape designing assignments. Basic knowledge of tools and conventional techniques helps the designers to design effectively using these programs. These designing programs are equipped with particular commands use for various digital drawing tools like manual design; hence, developing a landscape plan using software is efficient and easily manageable. These programs
are also equipped with some standard symbol of plants and other landscape objects (Fig. 13.2). After organizing ideas, formation of the landscape design starts with choosing the right scale for a particular site to design. Various ratios of scale are used for the small residential lots i.e. 1:10000 (1 mm =10000 mm) to the cartographic maps i.e. 1:1250 or 1:12500 with intermediate scale for the medium and big lots.
Fig. 13.2 Common symbols used for landscape drawings.
Development of the design involves the creation of a preliminary design by converting the rough, freehand bubble drawings, converting compositions into a more refined drawing taking into consideration the design elements and principles. But still preliminary design needs refinement and details with the proper use of plant symbols (Fig. 13.3). After the selection of plants, preliminary design is further improved into the final plan. The final plan not only includes landscape design but also comprises a planting key, client name and the designing firm. The planting key consists of botanical and common names of plant, a letter abbreviation or number related to the plan and size (Fig. 13.4 and 13.5).
Fig. 13.3 Site inventory drawing.
Fig. 13.4 Creating and linking spaces.
|Key||Common Name||Scientific Name||Key|
|Devil tree Camphor Pandurata White Cedar Firebush
Gul-e-Neelam Gul-e-Cheen Silver Oak
False Ashoka Magnolia Bermudagrass Buttonwood
|Alstonia scholaris Cinnammomum camphora Ficus lyrata
Hamelia patens Jacaranda mimosi Plumeria obtus Grevillea robusta Polyalthia longifolia Magnolia grandiflora Cynodon dactylon Conocarpus erectus Atriplex lentiformis Cynodon dactylon
|Furniture Patio Walkway Driveway|
Fig. 13.5 Final landscape plan.
Important considerations should be adopted while developing a final design are as follows:
1) Consider the functional uses of plants with respect to aesthetic, structural and utilitarian purpose.
2) Structure the planting as the repeating plants within a cluster and repeating clusters with alike plants links the lawn together.
3) Main places in the lawn/garden should be spotlighted by the usage of special plants, individual structures, or garden ornaments. Marking verges or
entrances to spaces can be done with arbours, gates and steps, or by using unique and colourful plants.
4) Pay attention to detail by deep consideration of the elements and principles of landscape design.
5) Take time into account keeping in mind the mature size, form and growth rate of plant and requirement for maintenance.
The final master plan is bundled with the inventory report, base map and other supporting materials to strengthen the presentation to the client. The presentation of final design using computer programs, like Microsoft Office PowerPoint, Prezi, Corel Presentations etc. are innovative methods to conceptualize the presentation materials in a different way (Graham 2011; Mealor and Frost 2012). The presentations can also be strengthened by adding 3D images and videos of the design, this improvement in designing field not only replaced old and laborious methods of model making but also make the design look like real world. The final document of design should be purpose based and satisfying the functional client needs.
13.2. Landscape Installation
Landscape installation is the process to convert the proposed landscape plan into reality. On large scale, the installation is carried out by the contractor equipped with the required machinery and resources. In another case, the subcontractor or individual firms take the responsibility to carry out installation. At small level immature or hobbyist also makes effort to install landscape components at home level. Internationally, the garden centre is a source of provision of all necessary materials used in the landscape at small levels.
Tasks to Do
• Conduct the soil topographic survey, removal of debris, and final grading and contour development at a desired level.
• Draw the layout dividing the propped site according to design functional spaces.
• Construction of the hard elements, like walkways, waterfall, fountains, garden lights, lakes, ponds, pools, patio and sculpture, according to the design scheme.
• Install the selected trees, shrubs, ground covers and decorative stones and pebbles according to design
• Installation of the proper drainage systems, irrigation system with a suitable arrangement.
• Install the turfgrass by any of the suitable method like seeding, soding and plugging.
• Irrigate the lawn regularly and remove the weeds in the beginning for a good set of the turf.
• Take into count the proposed budget and project duration into account aiming to achieve the functionality of the design.
13.2.1. Installation of Hardscape and Paving
Hardscapes include permanent or semi-permanent features, such as decks and patios, driveways, fences, lighting, retaining walls, steps and walkways. Prior to plantation, the landscape components are installed to avoid any damage to vegetation. The important function of the hardscape is to enclose the portion of the landscape along with other functions and it blends the natural vegetation to contemporary appearance. These features are obvious architectural entities in the design of the landscape; hence, these reflect the perception of the viewer or user and understanding of the area. Repeating a design pattern, colour, or texture in several different locations by using different paving materials helps to create unity. They also strengthen the privacy, articulate the outdoor rooms and give pleasing effect. Certain hardscape objects may satisfy the aesthetic needs of the particular premises with more enriched functions than architectural and engineering components. Visionary and sensory responses are mediated by the use of fountains, waterfall, pools, ponds, paving, garden lights and sculptures.
Proper selection of the suitable hardscape features depends on the preference of the client, availability of the funds, weather effects and the particular problem to be solved. Sometimes, the presence of hardscape is not offered by the clients or the choice of the hardscape features vary among the clients. The availability of the funds forces both the client and designer in decision making for hardscape. Maintenance requirements also render the selection of the hardscape, but most of the clients prefer less maintenance requiring and cost effective landscape. Another important consideration is the compatibility and integration of the preferred hard element with the surroundings, justifying the coherence in the total landscape composition, instead of being isolated.
The installation of the hardscape elements is the gradual process and the decision must be taken from the start. After proper leveling, development of contours and installation of the irrigation system, preferences are paid to the changing heights of landscape plantation. Broad level planting strips supported by the retaining walls adds strength and beauty to the design. Normally, steps are recommended with more than 6% slopes (Wilson et al. 1981); therefore, careful installation of outdoor stairs steps and ramps is done according to the design character and visual attention.
Paving is laid to fulfill many functions, as paths linking the various parts of the garden, while driveways and parking lots provide access for both pedestrians and vehicles. There are many forms of paving to choose from. On the basis of the usage, the paving are classified as flexible, equal sized slabs, diagonal, hexagonal, octagonal and irregular rectangle paving. Flexible paving systems are usually made up of loose stone aggregates and not bound within a rigid matrix such as cement. They absorb and dissipate the pressure of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. They require retraining edges to prevent them from spreading outward. Equal sized slabs can be square or rectangular, and laid with uninterrupted joints in either direction. Mixed sizes of
paving are used simultaneously according to design and availability. An attractive non-slippery texture results due to brushing the surface of the paving units during the manufacturing process. Diagonalized square patterns are used to minimize the sense of movement of paved area. Square units resembling terracotta tiles are mostly used. Edging stabilizes the arrangement. Hexagonal paving units link well with modern garden schemes as compared to octagonal paving which is the traditional paving shape for use in the gardens. These patterns are made of reconstituted stones, terracotta or natural stone. This pattern has small square unit between them. These square are often of a different colour or material. Irregular rectangular paving is laid in linear patterns which are made up of parallel rows of different width resulting in strong directional feeling. Bricks, a traditional material, have been used all over the world for centuries. Choose bricks and patterns to match or harmonize with the colour and textural qualities of nearby architectural features. Besides their appearance, the two most important properties of paving bricks are that they should be frost-proof and durable.
Installation of water features like, waterfalls, fountains, reflecting pools, swimming pools and streams in which water is used a natural softener. The use of water feature is a common feature for interior and exterior landscapes. The functionality of the water features is enhanced by the use of the decorative lights and base colours. Historically, natural water supply system without recycling of the reserves, have been used. With development of the technology, various pumps and filters are in practice which not only articulate the fashions and patterns in the water stream but also recycle and conserve the water reservoir. While selecting the suitability of the water feature, the designer thinks about the purpose and functionality cost and client interests.
13.2.2. Planting Trees and Shrubs
The available choices of nursery trees for landscape planting are a bare-root tree, a balled and burlapped or a container grown tree.
Bare-root plants: The trees and shrubs that are dug up without soil around their roots are known as bare-root plants. After digging, roots are pruned back and trees are picked in bundles (Fig. 13.6A). Most bare-root nursery plants are deciduous species or small conifer. Bare-root plants are grown in the nursery and are dug up for transplantation in the fall or winter when they become dormant and the leaves fall.
Balled and burlapped trees: These plants are grown in the ground and dug with a ball of soil around the roots. These types of plants are harvested with mechanical harvesters or spade when the soil is moist. The ball of soil around the roots is wrapped firmly in burlap material so that it can be stored for a short period of time and transplanted to other location (Fig. 13.6B). Most of the balled and burlapped plants are evergreen, both narrow and broad leaved, grown in nursery until they reach a size suitable for sale.
Fig. 13.6 Types of planting trees: (A) bare rooted, (B) balled and burlaped, and (C)
Container grown trees: Container grown trees are similar to those grown in ground dig up with a root balls. These plants have less consequences of transplantation shock as these plants produce root within a suitable sized plastic or metal container (Fig.
13.6C). Many trees are grown today in this fashion because they can be transplanted at any time of the year.
Planting bare root trees: Bare root trees are planted when they are dormant. As roots have no contact with soil so moisture evaporates rapidly. It is necessary to retain moisture for its successful plantation. After uprooting, roots of these plants are covered with damp peat moss or sawdust to keep them moist. The hole is dug according to the size of roots in order to avoid twisting or curling of roots in the hole. Before placing the plant in the hole, cut the broken and extra-large roots with sharp knife. Place the plant in the hole in such a way that roots spread in a natural manner without twisting. At least 10-12 cm of top soil should be under roots and remaining topsoil is used to fill the hole. After filling the hole, firm the soil around the root system to hold the tree erect and pruning of one third of top growth is done in order to reduce the water loss after planting. After plantation irrigate the plant until soil is saturated. Insert the stakes on two sides of tree and anchor the tree to the stake with piece of rubber hose and wire.
Planting balled and burlapped trees: Dig the hole one-half to two times greater than the ball of tree. The depth of hole should be enough so that the top of ball sets slightly above the ground level when plant is placed in it. Place the tree in the hole in such a way that ball should be remain slightly above the base level of hole. Fill the hole with well-prepared mixture of peat, and soil and water the plant.
Planting containerized trees: Containerized trees are planted in the same way as the balled and burlapped trees with some difference. The plant is separated from container in such a way that the soil around the roots is not broken. Place the tree in hole and back fill the soil to give support to the plant against winds and for establishment of root system.
13.2.3. Care of Newly Planted Trees and Shrubs
After planting the trees and shrubs, it is important to press the growing media around the root and water them immediately to avoid air spaces and drying out. It is also important to give the support to the plant against winds and to help plant to establish the root system. Two principles methods to firm the newly planted trees and shrubs are stacking and guying.
Staking: Staking helps the tree standing straight. It should be completed within 48 hours of planting. Stakes are normally made up of wood and should be strong enough to support the plant for two years. For a tree of 3-4 m or less in height, stake should be 1.5-2 m long (Fig. 13.7A). Drive the stake in to soil around the tree in such a way that the other stake comes on opposite side of the first stake (Fig. 13.7B).
Guying: Guying also helps the tree to stand straight; it consists of three or four wires connected to the tree and anchored into the ground using guying stakes. This method is mostly used to anchor trees with trunks of 10 cm in diameter or greater (Fig.
Fig. 13.7 Bracing the tree by (A) single stacking, (B) double stacking, and (C)
13.2.4. Installation of Turf
Choosing the grass type: The first step in growing a turf is to know about the climatic requirements of plant species for that climate. Turf grasses are mainly divided into two main groups:
1) Cool season or temperate grasses
2) Warm season grasses
Cool season grasses are well adapted to temperate environments. Main cool season turfgrasses include Kentucky blue grass, perennial rye grass, zoysia grass, creeping bent grass and fine-leaf fescues. Whereas, warm season grasses are better adjusted to hotter environments which include Bermuda grass, centipede grass, St. Augustine
grass and zoysia grass. Cool season grasses grow well during winter in areas where summer is hot and winter are cool.
Soil and grading: Important step of planting turf is soil preparation including tilling and grading. Clear all the rocks, trash, unwanted vegetation and weed control must be taken with non-selective herbicides. Next step is grading of the site, which involves two steps, rough grading and final grading. The purpose of grading is to change the contours of the site so that the approximate final level is obtained. Major bumps and hollow, if present in the soil, has to be cleared by removing the top soil and proper leveling (Fig. 13.8). After obtaining desired level, 15 cm of top soil should be spread evenly over the surface, tilled to loosen and break up clods. In order to encourage both air and water drainage in soil the land should have slope (Hessayon
Fig. 13.8 Diagrammatical elaboration of leveling the soil surface.
Drainage: Proper drainage in lawns is established by two ways i.e. surface drainage and subsurface drainage. Open ditches are used for surface drainage to remove running water from surface before it penetrates the soil. For this propose, the land is prepared with a gentle slope leading toward the ditches. The general slope for the lawn, after the top soil is spread, should not exceed 15 percent because slope greater than 15 percent is risky to mow. Subsurface drainage is used to remove excess water from subsurface or underground. Channels consisting of perforated plastic pipe, drainage tiles and mole drainage, are the most common methods used for subsurface drainage. These arrangements must be located below the plow depth.
Soil preparation: As mentioned above, 15 cm of top soil should be spread over rough graded sub soil. Final grading may be accomplished by hand racking, drag mats or landscape blades. A good garden loam soil is considered the best medium for most grasses. During tillage, fertilizers and chemicals or physical soil amendments should be incorporated in the soil. Chemicals amendments include
materials, such as gypsum or lime, used to improve the physical properties of the soil. The addition of these materials should be based on soil tests. Lime reduces the acidity of soil and sulphur or iron sulphate may be used to lower the soil pH. A complete fertilizer with high phosphorus content is good for establishing new lawn. The soil should be tested to determine the correct amount of fertilizers or lime can be added to fertilizer then should be spread thoroughly. Fertilizers can be applied by using spreader and worked into the soil surface with a hand rake.
Turf grass transplantation: Lawn can be started in one of three ways, including seeding, sodding, plugging and sprigging.
1) Seeding: It is important to buy the best lawn seed. Proper selection of desired type of seed is done on the basis of source (company), seed purity, germination percentage, and seed free of noxious weeds. Seed may be planted by hand or with a mechanical seeder. To obtain a uniform spread, the seed is mixed with small amount of carrier such as sand. It would be better to divide the mixed material into two equal parts. One part is sown in one direction and other part crosswise of the first sowing. The seed is slightly covered by raking to cover and make close contact with the soil. Mulching with any suitable material helps to hold moisture and prevent the seed from washing away during watering and rainfall. It will also help to hide the seed from bird. New seeding should be kept moist until they are well established but excess watering should be avoided as excessive watering may favour expansion of fungal diseases such as damping off.
2) Sodding: Sod refers to squares or strips of turf grass plus adhering soil, which are specially cultivated, mowed and cut into pieces like a carpet (Acquaah, 2008). Sod is pre-grown turf, cut to include adhering top 1-2 cm of soil and consists of grass and grass roots in a thin layer of soil, which is removed from the areas in strips. Sod is used as quick alternative to growing turf from seed. A high quality sod provides a mature weed free turf of desirable grass and establishes itself during the first month after planting to give an instant lawn. Planting area is prepared in the same manner for sodding as for seeding. After rolling to firm the land, the sod is laid and is tramped or rolled tightly followed by top dressing with small amount of top soil to fill in any cracks between pieces of sod. Newly laid sod should be watered within an hour and kept moist until the roots have grown well into the soil.
3) Spot sodding or plugging: Plugging is planting of small plugs or blocks of sod at measured intervals. The plugs are placed at 15 to 30 cm apart depending on how rapidly the area is to be covered. The closer the plugs are set, the faster the lawn will be covered with grass. This method of plantation is labour intensive and time taking operation.
4) Sprigging: It is planting of individual plants, runners or solons at certain spaced intervals. The runners can be obtained by shredding solid pieces of sod. Sprigs are usually placed at 10-15 cm apart, but the spacing of runners is determined by: (i) how fast that particular grass grow, (ii) how fast that area is to be covered, and (iii) plant material available.
13.3. Landscape Maintenance
Landscape management and maintenance are important elements in the process of public gardens, botanical gardens, golf courses, sports fields, government buildings, business establishment and private residences. Blending the knowledge of ornamental plants and turf grass with the awareness of plant physiology, and proper supervision to produce landscapes, which improve quality of life by their aesthetic as well as functional uses. The importance of the well managed landscape is many fold to achieve the functionality of the planned design as well as maintained landscape spaces can inspire visitors, and improve social connection and unity. On the other hand, poor quality spaces damaged by the evidence of vandalism and neglect, dominated by single group and anti-social behaviour, can be a blight on any community. It is a measure of people’s commitment to landscape spaces and confidence in their significance. There are numerous model societies in the world doing work collectively to alter their local space. Management of landscape to boost vital features has an optimistic landscape influence, whereas the introduction of new and inappropriate components may harm the intensity of landscape characters. Proper landscape maintenance can harmonize and guide variations carried out by economic, environmental and social processes such as eco-friendly measures. Arboriculture also plays a great role in landscape maintenance of urban areas. It is a specialized field which involves pruning and shaping the foliage, training, fertilization, treating plants to remove life threatening problems (like pest and pathogen) and sometimes tree surgery for preservation and protection of endangered or injured plants. Interest regarding environmental protection and sustainable development was started in 1960s which encouraged to follow landscape ecological planning (LANDEP). Therefore, the landscape management approach based on the conservation challenges of matters regarding habitat loss, supplying rich and diverse habitats for wildlife, and provides species with the flexibility to respond to pressures, such as climate change, must be manager’s first preference. Protecting biodiversity over entire landscapes, rather than in specific parts of landscape, permits to create more habitats where the lot of fragmentation already present to support dependent species in each fragment. This ecofriendly attitude not only creates a better landscape for wildlife, but also for adjoining public and societies by making a landscape which people adore and enjoy, and where the goods and services supplied by the landscape are sustained. The following maintenance consideration should be kept in mind during a maintenance program.
13.3.1. Training and Pruning
Training and pruning are important practices in maintaining the frame work and shape of the trees and shrubs. Two basic type of training are open ladder system and central ladder system with certain modifications. Training improves the three dimensional structural frame work in a particular appearance, while the pruning boosts new growth and eliminates unattractive dead wood or injured branches. These dead branches also absorb much nutrients from healthy branches and foliage. The removal of the top 1-2 cm of novel growth (tip pruning) encourages additional growth and urges the shrub to form a more dense growth.
There are two methods of pruning namely shearing and thinning. Shearing is mostly applied for formal hedges. In this method, re-growth of tips and dense bushy plants are obtained by heading back (cut off) the young shoot tips. This method is the most beneficial for small-leaf evergreen shrubs. Shearing of the plants that produce noticeable flowers, instead of trimming and thinning leads to loss of flower buds for next season. Another pruning method is thinning, which is the judicial removal of plant parts and complete branches from their points of origin. Thinning can decrease a shrub’s height and spread, and its density. However, the shrub keeps its normal shape. This practice mostly requires manual clippers and therefore takes time.
Weeding is one of the essential maintenance measures to get rid of undesirable plants in the garden. These unwanted plants not only compete with existing plants for space and nutrient but also denature the landscape design. Weed control methods differ with the kind of weeds, size of the weed and time of year. Different methods like manual, mulching, chemical and biological are most commonly used to control weeds.
Manual weed control: The physical removal of weeds by hand pulling, and digging or hoeing is known as manual weed control.
Weed control with polythene mulch: Black polythene sheets are protective covering which prevents growth of weeds. These protective coverings block the light and prevent the weeds growth under these covers (Harris et al. 2004; Younis et al.
Weed control with chemicals: Chemicals are commonly used to prevent or stop the growth of weeds through toxic activity in weeds or soil.
Biological weed control: Biological control of weeds includes the use of specific insects, bacteria, fungi, virus and nematodes.
There are numerous factors to be considered before developing a watering schedule but most important are the distribution of water, micro climate, vegetation type, soil characteristics and available resources. Water is the critical factor for plant growth and development as it takes part in most of the biological functions that are carried out in plant cells. Both over watering and under watering are adverse for plant health. Conventionally, landscape premises are irrigated by flood, channel basin and furrow system but modern techniques, such as irrigation by drip, sprinkler, bubbler and misters, are also being used. These modern techniques not only help to increase water use efficiency but also reduce the wastage of water.
In order to grow and thrive the plants need different nutrients. Moderate fertile soil is required by most of trees and shrubs, whereas turf and flowering plants need greater amounts of nutrients. Plants are provided with such nutrient in the form of
organic and inorganic nutrients. Selection of fertilizer type is generally based on user preference, soil and plant requirement. In order to plan the fertilizer application, periodic soil test is prerequisite to check fertility levels. Suitable time of fertilizer application is the vigorous growth stage of plants or at planting time.
Mulching is a vital practice in the garden maintenance program. It is used to prevent weed growth, conserve soil moisture, add aesthetic value, enhance nutrients availability in soil, temperature insulation and increase in soil microorganism activity. Mulches differs greatly in the range depending on type (organic and inorganic), personal taste, cost, suitability to requirement and the availability. The most popular mulches used are polythene sheets, pine bark straw, river stone, coconut coir bark and dust, fine compost, woodchip, and peat moss. Care should be taken while applying the mulch, at first it should be applied at minimum 100 mm thick followed by depth of 50 mm in successive years.
13.3.6. Mowing and Edging
Mowing is a major practice in maintaining a good lawn. It is highly appreciated and acknowledge in turf maintenance. Cutting the grass down to a short and uniform level on regular basis allow the lawn to produce even and equally distributed turf. Accurate mowing gives a neat, even and presentable appearance that is a source of personal pride and fashioned life. Mowing the lawn helps to keep the lawn healthy and sometimes eliminate pests from the grass. It is a common practice in sport fields (football, rugby, tennis, cricket, bowls greens etc.), golf courses, lawns, parks and recreational gardens.
Mowing frequency: It depends on user need, growth rate of grass, weather and seasonal variation. Mowing frequency is high during spring and summer seasons when grass attains maximum and rapid growth. During rapid growth in warm season mowing is done once or twice a week. On the other hand, mowing frequency is low during cool seasons (winter and autumn), as the growth rate reduces, so mowing may be done after 2-3 weeks or a little more.
Cutting height: The cutting height depends on the turf area and its uses like for fun, fashion to life and quality lawn. Golf course greens and lawn bowls greens are cut very short between 3-6 mm and recreational parks are usually cut about 15-20 mm, while residential lawns are cut at 10-15 mm depending upon personal preference. Recommended height on the basis of grass type varies, according to this Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass are usually cut at 2-5 cm, blue grass, buffalo grass and perennial rye grass at 5-8 cm, while tall fescue is mostly cut at 6-9 cm.
Edging: Lawn mowers cannot clear the grass properly in the corners, next to walls and around trees or reach around the edges. Strimmers, whipper sniper or a motorised edger, are being used to get clean and sharp border for roads, walks, patio, driveways and verges. Regular edging controls the growth of uneven and overgrown grass, it also provides a neat appearance for the entire landscape.
13.3.7. Pest Control
Pest control is an essential part of maintenance program to save the plants from pests and diseases. This practice not only keeps the garden healthy throughout the years but also gives attractive look. Staff/manager’s role is the most important for planning pest control as they record, observe and decide the preventive measure. Environmental friendly approach must be taken in this regard. Preventive measures, like correct planting arrangement, proper use of fertilizers, well prepared soil, regular cleanup and removal of weeds, can be taken to achieve healthy lawn. Other approaches, like mechanical, chemical, biological and cultural control methods, are also adopted but integrated pest management principles are the most important and helpful to use.
13.3.8. General Clean Up
After finishing all the maintenance jobs for the day overall cleanup is implemented, which is absolutely important part of the garden maintenance program. It includes raking of leaves, sweping or blowing of the paths, rubbish removal, cleaning gutters, raking over mulch, cleaning of pools and ponds. This practice is also done for over- all assessment of property to make sure that it is giving a great look. It also has extra benefits, as cleanup of infested areas, clippings and rubbish aids in the removal of pests, diseases and particularly weeds in the garden.
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