Shelter belt, access routes to buildings key in effective landscape design

Landscaping a farm property or doing a makeover of a farmyard requires serious planning.

It’s particularly important to consider how each area is to be used and how each can be kept looking its best with minimum maintenance.

Establishing perimeter shelter belts is one of the first tasks.

When establishing a new farm site, it is best to make it larger than needed to allow for future expansion. Farming practices may change in the future so it is a good idea to build flexibility into the plan

Ideally, establishing access routes into the farm site will keep farm related traffic away from the house area, both for aesthetic reasons and for safety concerns. Keeping large farm machinery away from children’s play areas is crucial.

The landscaped area around the house will be developed using standard design methods, including foundation plantings, flower borders, shrub beds, and specimen trees.

You might want to consider sight lines to allow views into other parts of the property.

Some farm folk like to be able to see what is going on in the barnyard or grain storage area.

A vegetable garden or orchard, if such is desired, will be adjacent to the house area, although hedges or fences can separate such utility areas from the more decorative areas of the landscape.

An outdoor living area will be developed beside the house, taking into account exposure, protection from sun and accessibility.

A lawn usually surrounds the house. How large it is will depend on the time available for mowing and whether the farmyard plan includes other large grassed areas that will be available for play areas while allowing for a smaller lawn area around the house.

The house yard is usually separated from the rest of the yard by a fence or hedge. This defines the formal, landscaped area from the less formal, more casually maintained areas of the farm site.

The farm’s work areas, such as barns, grain storage buildings, machine shops, feed storage enclosures and cattle pens, are worked into the plan carefully so that traffic routes are safe and easy to manoeuvre, and work areas and buildings are easily accessed.

Fences, tall hedges or rows of trees might screen unsightly areas from the house yard.

Areas that produce odour, such as cattle pens, should be located as far away as possible, and downwind, from the house to prevent unpleasant odours.

However, accessibility from the house is necessary for convenience and efficiency. Half hour walks to the barn several times a night in the winter to check on calving will not be welcome.

Expanses of grass in the entire farm site will be extensive, although they can be reduced by use of hardscapes, which certainly should be used wherever vehicles and machinery are driven.

These roads and hardscaped areas should be designed for ease of mowing without the need for time-consuming trimming, as should areas along buildings and fences.

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