House and garden

Stages of planning a summer cottage

Stages of planning a summer cottage

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We continue a series of publications written by landscape design experts. Today, Karina Solodovnikova, landscape architect, director and founder of the Novosibirsk company "Easy Summer", will share her experience and knowledge in the planning of a summer cottage plot.

Hello, dear readers of the portal ""!

My name is Karina Solodovnikova, I am a landscape architect, director and founder of the Novosibirsk company "Easy Summer", which develops project sites throughout Russia. I have been engaged in landscape design since 2010, and managed to take part in many interesting and complex projects - we created parks, planted recreation centers in Altai, developed landscaping and landscaping of the whole block ... on the roof!

In a series of articles on landscape design, I want to tell you how to plan a summer cottage for life and joy, easy to care for and wonderful at any time of the year. We begin, of course, with the most important - the analysis of the territory.

Site Analysis

It doesn’t matter whether you have owned the site long ago or if you first saw it, let's imagine that this is the first meeting. To get acquainted with the territory you will need a tape measure, a camera, a pencil and paper. Roulette is better to take 10-30 meters. It would also be nice to have a laser rangefinder, but it often fails - it does not work well in sunny weather, at large distances, not to mention the fact that there is not always a surface on which the laser can be pointed, sometimes it is necessary to take measurements literally in an open field.

It’s good if you already have a topographic base and cadastral plan.

Topographic base, or topographic map, - This is a geographical map showing relief, vegetation, economic and cultural objects, roads, communications, borders and other objects of the area. Topobase can be ordered from surveyors (if the site is large and complex, it is better to do so).

You receive the cadastral plan when you acquire land. This is a diagram on which the boundaries of the land allotment, that is, your plot, are indicated.

If there is no topographic basis, we proceed to the measurements. First, at any scale convenient for you, transfer to paper the dimensions of the house, bathhouse, other buildings and the boundaries of the site. Be sure to label the doors and windows. Then apply all the trees and shrubs, retaining walls, flower beds and other elements of the landscape, as well as outline the neighboring large buildings, if they are in close proximity. Do not forget about land communications, indicate the location of underground pipes and cables so that they do not suffer during earthworks. Some communications according to the norms require the indentation of trees and shrubs from them. These restrictions are spelled out in SNiP - construction norms and rules (SNiP 2.07.01-89 dated 05.16.89, No. 7).

If there are differences in relief, they also need to be indicated on the plan. You can read more about how to work with terrain in one of the following articles. So the plan is ready.

Light Analysis

We proceed to the next step. Decide on the cardinal points, apply the location of the north. The sun goes from east to west in an arc, respectively, some places will be in the shade of trees or buildings most of the day. We apply shadows at different times of the day - it matters, because a playground, a vegetable garden, bright floral arrangements should be illuminated in the morning and in the morning, and recreation areas in the afternoon and evening.

Prevailing Wind Analysis

It is definitely worth considering the direction of the prevailing winds. In Novosibirsk, the average annual wind rose looks like this:

Southwest winds prevail. Accordingly, if we make the alley in the southeast direction, it will always be blown, and autumn and winter evil winds will knock down pedestrians. Some plants, outdoor recreation areas, playgrounds, etc. should be hidden from the prevailing winds. You can easily find the wind rose for your region on the Internet.

Pedestrian Track Analysis

The next mandatory analysis is the analysis of pedestrian and transport routes. Since we do not provide for transportation on our site, we only consider the movement of pedestrians. Ways of more intense movement are highlighted by several arrows. This method allows you to determine not only the location of the tracks, but also tells where to make the passages wider, and the coating is more convenient for walking and resistant to loads.

Viewpoint Analysis

Analysis of species points allows you to determine the most winning places for decorative compositions, thematic areas, sculptures, open spaces and green masses.

First of all, we look at where the main pedestrian paths go. Where will the gaze of a man turn when he walks along the path? Then we consider recreation areas - this is a veranda and a gazebo. They should have a beautiful view. And finally, do not forget about the premises in the house. A good view should be from the living room, bedroom, and from the kitchen, gazebo and from the veranda it is convenient to monitor the children. We also have a sports ground; a tennis court will be located on it. It is interesting to watch the game from recreational areas, so we will not block the view of it from the veranda and arbors.

We note the view angles in the form of triangles - viewing angles; at the intersection of several triangles there will be decorative compositions.


So what did we get with our analyzes?

  1. Revealed the directions of the main and secondary paths.
  2. Outlined the location of decorative compositions, "large" and "small".
  3. We learned what places to leave open to give an overview (view of the sports and playgrounds).
  4. We determined the best positions for the playground. The first (on the plan below the gazebo) is good because it offers a view from the kitchen and dining room - it’s convenient to look after the child while cooking. You can quickly get here from the veranda, from the house and the gazebo. It is partially closed from the wind, there is always the sun and shadow throughout the day. The second position is well viewed from the veranda and from the gazebo. It is more sunny, it is nice to play in changeable weather. Here you can make an additional play area.
  5. As we see in the analysis of illumination, the main resting place is the arbor, which is constantly in the shade. Therefore, it would be nice to make an additional place to relax in the sun. It can be a bench or a swing, where it is nice to catch the spring sun.
  6. It is better to place the greenhouse away from the most viewed areas. Such a place, illuminated by the sun and closed from the prevailing winds and from the north, was found on the left side of our plan.

If you are not designing for yourself, do not forget to check with the customer the composition of the family, ask about the availability of pets. An important hobby of family members, sociability (will the guests come?), Interest in sports and much, much more.

The last analysis that we will look at today is soil analysis.

Soil analysis

Such an analysis, if necessary, is carried out in special laboratories. They determine the mechanical composition of the soil, its acidity, degree of moisture, contamination, as well as the content of biophilic elements. We can do a simple express test with you, which will determine the main indicators.

We take a handful of earth, evenly moisten it and roll it into a sausage about 0.5 cm thick, and then into a ring. If the soil rolls well and is plastic, easily holds its shape, then this is heavy clay soil. If it rolls into a sausage, but cracks when trying to fold it into a ring - this is loamy soil. If you can’t roll anything, tk. the soil crumbles, it is light sandy or sandy loamy soil.

Another important parameter - soil acidity, is determined using indicator strips sold in gardening goods stores. Also, acidity can be determined "by eye" by wild-growing trees, shrubs and herbs:

  • On acidic and slightly acidic soils common spruce, dwarf birch, common pine, aspen, mountain ash, honeysuckle, viburnum and many other forest species often grow.
  • From herbaceous plants on strongly acidic soils you will meet blueberries, horsetail, caustic buttercup, sphagnum and green mosses.
  • On medium acid - large plantain, dog violets and tricolor, upright cinquefoil, heather plants, lingonberries.
  • On slightly acidic grow forest ferns, common stalk, goose cinquefoil, creeper tenacious, loosestrife loosestrife, May lily of the valley, many cereals.

The mechanical composition and acidity determine which plants to plant, what fertilizers to apply, whether drainage is needed, or vice versa, it is better to "weight" the soil. Most garden flower perennials and ornamental shrubs grow well on slightly acidic soils, and chalk, ash, and lime often have to be added to acidic and strongly acidic soils. In general, almost any soil can be fixed, the main thing is to know how!

So our first acquaintance with the site took place, we outlined the main zones and determined some soil parameters. This is enough to start the design. When a landscape beginner or gardener first appears on a site, everything seems so complicated and confusing! It seems that there are a million options for the location of landscape objects. In fact, this is not so at all. As we have seen today, the site itself will tell us what and where to have it, you just need to carefully study it. Nevertheless, landscape design is still a science, and science is complex. If you don’t have the patience to comprehend it, and you want to have a beautiful garden already this season, contact us!

The company "Easy Summer" develops projects remotely, for all regions of Russia. And if you live in Novosibirsk, you can always sign up for courses and master classes with us.

In the next article I will tell you about the design of the site, subscribe to updates!