Singapore has become synonymous with towering buildings and green architecture. Beyond commercial attractions such as Gardens by the Bay and the Botanic Gardens, urban planners have also weaved aspects of nature into every structure in this metropolis. From large public park spaces on the ground, to vertical gardens and green roofs on top of commercial buildings, the beauty of landscape design services are prevalent everywhere.
In this article, we give an overview of landscape design in Singapore.
What does Landscape Design Mean?
Landscape projects may range from small scale backyard gardens to large public parks, and typically involve a variety of professionals such as horticulturists, surveyors and engineers. Generally consisting of both softscape and hardscape elements, landscape design exists to grant an elevated feel, look and functionality to the outdoor space.
What are Softscapes?
Softscape elements are softer, living and tend to change in appearance as time goes by. They improve aesthetics and providing health benefits to its users. Typical softscape elements include shrubs, flowers, grass and trees. While they tend to cost less to install, more long term planning and regular maintenance is required to ensure their continued relevancy.
What are Hardscapes?
In contrast, hardscape elements are solid, inanimate and unchanging. While often overlooked by users, hardscapes are crucial in providing functionality and support to the space. For example, a rock wall would act as the backbone for a vertical garden while also enhancing visual interest through texture. Commonly used hardscape components are water features, stones, canopies, and walls.
What is Good Landscape Design?
Good landscape design takes into account the natural climate and the intended users of the space while creating harmony, balance, proportion and transition.
Harmony is created when all elements coherently convey a theme to its users, thus the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts.
Balance requires the landscape designer to carefully weigh the effects of softscape and hardscape elements to achieve an optimal appearance.
Proportion refers to the perceived size of individual landscape components. A factor of balance, proportion can be achieved when elements are of complementary sizes, thus accurately playing their role in the environment.
Transition typically uses hardscape elements such as canopies and wooden decks or stones to give a user a gradual transit from nature to urban settings. By avoiding an abrupt change in surroundings, users feel more at ease and view the space as more cohesive.
Who are Landscape Designers?
First of all, landscape designers differ from landscape architects or contractors. They are the ones who work on providing beautiful ideas for the landscape. However, when it comes to execution, they may connect with other individuals to help them with transforming the design into reality. Most of the time, they stay on site to ensure that the installation and implementation are followed. It is also possible that an individual or a firm may wear the hats of designer, architect and contractor.
How does it work?
The initial step in landscape designing is the consultation, wherein the designer and client will discuss about the project. This is where the client would inform the landscape designer about his/her preferences. The process may include inspection of the place to be designed, so that the professional may start offering ideas to the homeowner.
After that, the designer will come up with a concept plan that needs to be approved by the client. If approved, the next step is the creation of a master plan, which includes a drawing or layout of the possible outcome after the design process is completed. When everything is all set, the next step is to go for installation assistance. This is where the designer may need to get in touch with other professionals to help execute the plan.
How much does it usually cost?
Many factors are considered when determining the rate, this includes the experience of the designer, the scope of the work and the complexity of the project. If you are looking for an overhaul, expect hefty consultation fees, but on the other hand, if you are merely requesting for minimal works on your patio or front yard, the fees may be lower.
At the same time, you also need to account for the materials to be used in the project. If you only have a limited budget, the best thing to do is to be upfront about it with your designer so as to keep any proposals realistic.
What is Landscape Maintenance?
Over time, softscape elements evolve, thus growing away from your ideal landscape. To keep your environment in pristine shape, regular maintenance such as grass cutting, tree pruning, weeding, irrigation and gardening are required. Additionally, such services help to reduce any risks or hazards such as uneven ground or branch falling.
Landscape maintenance in Singapore involves a wide spectrum of both simple and complex tasks. For example, it can range from simple watering of the plants to sawing trees branches. As such, it is recommended to engage professionals to conduct regular inspection and maintenance.