Site Selection

Table of contents:

Site Selection
Site Selection
Video: Site Selection
Video: Site Selection in Residential Building 2023, February

We, landscape designers, have to work in different areas: large and small, flat and embossed, in the field and in the forest … What are the best areas for creating gardens?

Usually, when a man buys a land plot, he only consults with a real estate agent and is guided by his own taste. Such parameters as distance from the city, availability of infrastructure, good ecology are taken into account. And at the stage of acquiring land, you might need advice from specialists for whom soil and plants are of value as well as for the buyer, not only in monetary terms. The realtor, on the other hand, assesses your future family nest only as a commodity that must be sold at a good price.

In the forest or in the field?


Many people dream of having a house in the forest, so that old trees rise outside the window, mischievous squirrels gallop along the branches and birds sing. It is very prestigious to buy plots in woodlands, and they cost much more than plots in an open field. Is it worth the candle? Definitely not! A forest is a long-established ecosystem that reacts very painfully to any, even weak, interference. And the construction of a cottage community is not a weak intervention, it is a rough invasion.

When a person comes to look at his future site before buying, he sees large trees, forest flowers and berries, hears birdsong. He is happy, dreaming of drinking tea on a terrace in the middle of the forest. And now the necessary documents have been received, construction begins. The newly minted landowner sincerely believes that he will not allow the builders to damage their trees, because of which he acquired this site. Every tree, birch, pine tree is infinitely dear to him. But this is all utopia. Unfortunately, this does not happen in life. First, he has to grudgingly agree to cut down several dozen trees, the so-called building spot. Then it turns out that it is still necessary to lay communications, to put up a fence, to make an access road. Trees felled, felled …

And now the construction is over. After it, only trees remain untouched, which were fortunate enough to be away from home, fence, communications. The root system of trees extends very far from the trunk. It is believed that its diameter is three times the diameter of the tree crown. If this territory was used for digging trenches, concreting foundations, or machinery drove along it, people walked, it cannot be argued that the tree has been preserved. Its root system has suffered.

Any digging of trenches, concreting, laying a road in the forest entails a change in the hydrological regime, and this is also part of the ecosystem. Even those trees that are fortunate enough to remain intact mechanically will suffer from changes in the level of groundwater, the creation of artificial aquifers, and waterlogging of certain areas.


In the forest, trees have a special structure: a long thin trunk and a small crown at the very top. This is how the competition for light is reflected on them, the trees are racing to the sun. When the crowns of trees in the forest are closed, they support each other. But it is worth cutting down at least a few, the trees near this "clearing" become fragile, like matches. Strong winds, which we often have, can break them. In this regard, a dilemma arises: should we try to preserve forest trees near the house? On the one hand, it is a pity to cut them down, besides, the spot will expand, where there is a risk of windblownness, and on the other, nearby trees pose a danger to buildings, as they can collapse onto the roof, through the window, onto the balcony. Free standing trees, forest remains, have no decorative value. We see only their thin bare trunks,and the crown is very small and is somewhere at the height of a bird's flight.


After everything mentioned above, another misfortune comes: diseases and pests. The loudest and most famous name is the bark beetle. If this bug has penetrated under the bark, it is almost impossible to erase it from there, and it will not calm down until it completely kills the tree. The unhappy owner sees how his trees are drying one after another, and here he turns to specialists who are engaged in forestry and treat trees for help. Unfortunately, in the overwhelming majority of cases it is already too late … Bark beetles affect only weak and diseased trees. Otherwise they would have eaten all the trees and starved to death themselves. If bark beetles settle on the trees, this indicates that everything is very unfavorable in the forest, and he is living out his last years.

Проблемы на лесных участках, о которых здесь говорилось, усугубляются по мере уменьшения площади наделов. Даже если кто-то один проявит чудеса аккуратности и построит свой дом на сваях, вписав его между деревьями, не зальет в земле бетонные фундаменты, это все будет напрасно, потому что соседи так церемониться не станут. Если в поселке участки нарезают по 20-30 соток, можно с большой долей вероятности прогнозировать, что здесь через десять лет не останется ни одного дерева от прежнего леса. Если участки по гектару и больше, шансы сохранить лес возрастают, но повреждение экосистемы и, как следствие, более быстрые старение и гибель деревьев неизбежны.

Landscaping in a forest area must also be done carefully. Here you cannot concrete, create hills and terraces, sow a lawn, lay cables and an irrigation system underground. We'll have to confine ourselves to mulch paths or, better, wooden flooring, planting several shade-tolerant shrubs and adding suitable perennials to the grass layer. Can accommodate benches, bird feeders and squirrels. There is not enough room for imagination, because the main thing is to protect the trees.

We tell our readers all these horrors associated with the purchase of forest plots, because, firstly, we want to warn them, and secondly, we want to preserve our forests. It is better to know in advance how many difficulties and disappointments the purchase of land in the forest entails. Some people, having bought a forest plot, immediately clear it of trees. At first it looks like some kind of barbarism, while others are trying with all their might to preserve as many trees as possible. But after a few years it becomes clear how the first were right.


How can such problems be avoided? Buy a plot in the field! Here you can create any garden, and even grow a forest. Of course, it will take a very long time to wait for small seedlings to grow. But now there is an opportunity to plant large-sized plants. Every year they will be more and more, and every year there will be fewer and fewer trees in the forest area … You can plant trees on a free area as we want, choose the species that we like best.

If we compare the cost of an open area with planting large-sized trees and a forest area, then the first option will be more profitable. In addition, it is much more pleasant and devoid of the experiences associated with the death of trees. Newly planted trees, unlike forest trees, will adapt to the place, it will become native to them. On such a site, you can do whatever you want: any paths, gazebos, fill hills, build retaining walls - this will not damage the trees. They will develop in full force, will have a thick trunk and a wide crown, because they will not have to fight with their fellows for light.

Flat or embossed?

To a landscape designer, a flat area may seem boring, so an embossed area would be preferable. But relief and relief are different. For example, you should not take the site located below all along the slope, especially if the further transit of water is difficult. There will always be problems with waterlogging and the discharge of excess water. We must look at the exposure of the slope. If this is the southern slope, then good. The soil here in the spring will warm up faster, the site will receive more heat, which is important in our northern climate. But the northern slopes will not please us. Snow lies here for a long time, less heat is supplied, and the impact of cold northern winds is stronger.


The slopes are inconvenient to use. You can't play ball on an uneven surface, you can't put a table. Terracing is used here - the formation of flat areas and differences between them. Garden elements are placed on these terraces: lawns, gazebos, fountains, playgrounds and more.

An area with a relief visually looks more flat. To get rid of the monotony of a flat plot, you can also apply geopathics on it: fill hills, create terraces, arrange a submerged garden. It is not necessary to buy additional soil for geoplastics. You can use the one that is removed from under the paths from the pond pit. On a plot of 20-25 acres of such "extra" soil, up to 100 cubic meters can be formed. Instead of taking it out of the lot, it's better to use it to create an interesting garden.

If the site has natural or artificial terrain, a drainage system will most likely be needed. It will be necessary to cut off the water that flows over the surface from the areas located above, and lay drainage at the base of the hills and behind the concrete retaining walls.

Soil and groundwater

So far, unfortunately, the quality of the soil is not a criterion for choosing a site for many buyers in our country, and in the West, much attention has been paid to this for a long time. Soil is wealth that also costs money. The best soil in the world is our Kursk chernozem. In the Paris Museum of Weights and Measures, it is presented as a soil standard. To the north are the so-called gray forest soils, which are also very fertile and suitable for gardening. In the Non-Black Earth Region, the main soil type is sod-podzolic. Its upper layer (about 20 cm) shows signs of fertility, while the lower layers are practically nonexistent. However, with a lot of work and patience, year after year fertilizing and cultivating such land, you can achieve excellent results. You can be considered lucky if you got a plot on which your grandmother used to grow a vegetable garden. The soils of the former collective farm fields are also good.

In Central Russia, the most fertile soils are floodplains. In some respects, they are even better than chernozems, but in places of their distribution (along large rivers) there are usually high ground waters. Therefore, it is good to set up vegetable gardens on floodplain soils, but they are poorly suited for creating gardens.

It happens that summer cottages are sold on drained peatlands. This is far from the best option. Peat itself is not a suitable soil for a garden. This is essentially an organic substance, it is necessary to add a mineral part to it, that is, you will need to import a lot of soil. Peat exists in a constantly wet state, and when drained, it quickly decomposes as an organic matter into carbon dioxide and water. Therefore, drained peatlands often experience severe shrinkage. By the way, the drainage of peat bogs is one of the reasons for the greenhouse effect, since CO 2 is released into the atmosphere.

Soil has been formed over centuries and millennia under the influence of a number of factors. Therefore, each natural zone has its own type of soil. Therefore, you cannot buy a hundred dump trucks of black soil in the Moscow region, fill up your plot and expect that now everything will be fine. There are no chernozems in the Moscow region, because the conditions here are not suitable for their formation. Therefore, the purchased expensive soil quickly degrades. Chernozem can be used for plowing to improve existing soil, but it is necessary to correctly calculate the proportion and select other components.

In addition to classifying soils by type, it is important to know their division by mechanical (granulometric) composition. There is sand on one side of the scale and clay on the other. The ideal option is, of course, the golden mean - medium loam. The sand is very poor and does not retain water. The clay is rich, but very dense and is a waterproofing material. If the site has sandy soil, you will have to add a heavy component (clay or heavy loam) to it, sanding is used on clay soils.

When buying a plot, it is very important to find out at what level the groundwater is. Groundwater levels vary with the seasons. It is customary to watch it in July. If the waters are at a depth of 2 meters and below, then almost everything can be planted here. If the groundwater is higher, then special measures will be required. For example, you can raise the entire site, bring soil to it. Drainage can be done, but groundwater drainage is a very difficult and expensive undertaking. We'll have to lay drainage pipes to a depth of 2 meters. But this is not the most difficult thing, it is much more difficult to find where to dump this water. It is good if the drainage is done at once for the entire village, and if someone alone is engaged in this, he will have to constantly pump out the water with a pump, as in Holland.

Areas with high groundwater levels are rare. But often people confuse them with a breeder. Groundwater comes from below, and top water comes from below. For example, after the rains. Water flows down the surface and lingers in pits, depressions. If the soil in this place is dense, then the water is not absorbed for a long time, it can stand like this for weeks. To deal with overhead watering, it is enough to make the correct leveling of the surface so that there are no closed depressions. Sometimes it may be necessary to lay drainage pipes, but they are laid shallowly, by 40-60 cm.

Landscaped plots

Recently, in order to attract customers and receive additional profit, they began to sell plots with a built house and landscaping. The cost of a house with such a "garden" increases dramatically. However, all this "greening" is then destroyed by the new owner. I have never seen this service performed efficiently. Its task is to quickly and cheaply give the site an attractive look, and nobody is interested in what will happen after the sale. Usually, such government improvement consists of sowing a lawn and planting several trees. Once we worked with a customer who bought a plot of pine trees in winter. In the spring they dried up. It turned out that the tree trunks were sharpened like stakes and simply stuck into the ground.

Buying a plot is a very serious and important event. Most of us do this once in a lifetime. Therefore, we must take a very responsible attitude to this process, involve soil scientists, landscape specialists, if there are trees on the site, then be sure to consult with dendrologists and phytopathologists. It is better to collect as much information as possible about your future property, choose the most suitable option. Then on this land you will build a house, grow a garden, create a family nest, which will then be passed on from your children to your grandchildren and great-grandchildren

"Landscape Design" No. 4, 2009

Popular by topic