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How to Create Paved Areas and Water Features
|Planning your driveway and walkways so that they take up a minimum amount of room yet still provide a strong enough surface for the traffic they will bear, calls for careful thinking.
The well-designed house and grounds have the garage close to the house and near to the street. The garage situated way in back of the house is a hangover from horse-and-buggy days when the stable had to be remote from the house.
Today when the majority of home owners have cars, space can be saved by using a garage path that also serves as the house path, or feeds into a short house walk. But though the driveway can be a short one, plan for off-street parkingó have your driveway at least 20 feet from the street.
Most home driveways break down under heavy service trucks and traffic because the soil under the driveway is wet. Adequate drainage for wet spots, therefore, is a necessity.
Good driveway materials are stable, and should not get washed away by storms or shovelled up with snow. If, however, the driveway must be long and does form an important feature of your landscaping, a stable material may have to be passed up in favour of one like gravel or crushed rock, which will blend better with the surroundings.
Well-designed walks with neat edgings, steps which seem to be-long where they are placed, and intriguing little paths that lead you deeper into the garden, can do much to improve your grounds.
You can scarcely lay too much emphasis on your selection of material. Concrete paths and steps, for example, while often just the right thing; can form too sharp a contrast with the surrounding turf and planting.
Informal walks of wood butts (perhaps slices of telephone poles), flagstones, or tanbark may be much more suitable. Colonial houses are traditionally set off by brick; modern houses favour wood; small houses seem to call for flags.
Garden Pools and Fountains
Water, in almost any form, enriches a garden and delights the senses. Modern houses are bringing garden pools right into the patios and terraces. Ideal is water in movement, a splashing fountain or a narrow little brook running through the grounds and between flowers over clear stones.
But even a spigot with a wooden bucket below it or a tub to fill with water and use for plunging cut flowers can bring a verdant, cool feeling into the garden.
Using the sound of running water and the evaporative qualities of a fountain or pool to bring relief from the heat is a trick we have learned from the gardens of Japan, Spain and other hot climates.
A pool in the garden highlights the good features of your setting, and it should always be placed so that its surface will be seen from several points, or at least from the most frequented spot in the garden.
The shape and materials of the coping around the pool have much to do with its appropriateness in the setting. Flagstone, brick and tile are all good depending on the degree of formality of the pool. Sometimes the best solution is no visible coping.
Fountains can be made with only a small supply of flowing water, and the same water can be used over and over if you install a small motor and pump for an electric pumping system.
A vegetable garden can also be a source of great enjoyment. It should be out of sight in a corner, or screened with shrubbery, because of the seasons when there is nothing growing in it. But it can be a decorative addition to the garden, particularly if there are grass walks and attractive flowers around it.
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Hege Crowton is an expert copywriter.
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