An activity that involves changes to any visual aspect of land is referred to as landscaping. Landscaping may range from planting and maintaining a few trees i.e. gardening to making elaborate modifications to land in the form of creating terraces, installing fences, etc.
Every aspect of landscaping is governed by certain elements. Therefore, when you make a change in the landscape, you are changing one or more elements. Living elements include flora and fauna while natural elements encompass the landforms and water bodies present. Any man-made structure is a human element while weather and other related conditions are classified as abstract elements.
Landscaping is mainly carried out to give an area an aesthetic look. A well-planned landscape merges all the elements together in harmony to create visually appealing scenery. Landscaping has many other purposes as well. It is a well-known fact that landscaping increases the market value of a property. In addition, landscaping structures serve as a privacy screen for a home.
Landscaping is a natural solution to reduce heating and cooling costs in a home. Deciduous trees are preferred for landscaping purposes due to their dual acting properties. In summer, these trees provide natural shade and reflect the radiant heat emanating from the sun. This prevents windows, walls, and roofs from absorbing the radiant heat and thereby heating up the home, leading to increased air conditioner usage. In addition, all trees and plants carry out a process called transpiration. It involves uptake of heat energy and release of cool water vapour.
During winter, deciduous trees lose their leaves, allowing rays of sunlight to pass through their branches and warm up the walls and glass windows of the house. This provides savings on the energy required to heat the home. Landscaping homes in an energy-efficient manner can reduce monthly energy bills by up to 40%. It is estimated that the initial landscaping costs are offset by the cost of energy saved in about 6-8 years.
Landscaping design is influenced by a variety of factors. The main factor affecting the choice of landscape strategies is the climate of the region. A home in a hot and humid region will require a landscape design that provides maximum shade and directs cool wind towards the house. Landscaping also takes into account the microclimate, which is the immediate climactic setting around the home. Examples of microclimate variables include proximity to water bodies, location of house on mountain slope, etc.