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For enthusiasts of the legendary Game of Thrones series, drawing inspiration from its rich tapestry of lore and landscape is only natural. Perhaps you’ve delved deep into Westerosi culture, or even picked a House emblem to proudly display. Now, imagine translating that passion into the architectural design of your home. The majestic hues from the series can seamlessly blend with contemporary design elements, especially when balanced with understated neutrals, elevating your space to a realm worthy of kings and queens.
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Regal Estates: The Essence of High Honor
The “High Honor” color scheme epitomizes both power and time-honored elegance. Drawing from the profound gray of Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal combined with the classic Washington Blue, this palette exudes sophistication. When balanced with cozy neutrals, it becomes the ideal choice for communal spaces like living rooms or entertainment areas, where a commanding yet refined ambience is desired.
Northern Elegance: Castle Designs from the North
The “North Castle” color scheme encapsulates the stark beauty and contrast of the northern terrains. Infused with the vivacious Sherwin-Williams Real Red for a burst of vitality, this palette is the essence of dramatic flair. When you’re aiming for a bold statement in contemporary settings, consider the deep allure of Black Swan to amplify the contrast. Spaces like a living room or home office would beautifully benefit from the dynamic juxtapositions present in the North Castle palette.
Royal Retreats: The Seventh Stag Blueprint
The Seventh Stag palette exudes a potent presence, yet its versatility allows it to grace both interiors and exteriors with equal grandeur. Not limited to just indoor spaces, its deep tones can set an arresting tone for building exteriors as well.
Perfectly suited for spaces adorned with large windows or striking architectural details such as stone fireplaces and beamed ceilings, Seventh Stag accentuates their beauty. To simulate the boldness of such features, consider utilizing commanding hues like Benjamin Moore’s captivating Ebony Slate or the lustrous Tapestry Gold. Whether as an accent wall or a freshly painted fireplace, these colors will imbue any space with regal splendor.
Nature’s Fortress: Designs with a Strong Foundation
While many palettes revel in their audacity, “Strong by Nature” gracefully treads a gentler path. Yet, don’t mistake its subtlety for weakness. The rich depth of Valspar’s Honeysuckle Rose and Belle Grove Light Amber lend it a fortitude that’s unmistakably nature-inspired. This palette is an idyllic fit for spaces like bedrooms or kitchens, or any room yearning for a touch of nature’s vibrant elegance.
Ironclad Aesthetics: The Iron Hand Blueprint
The “Iron Hand” palette demands its presence be felt. While rooted in commanding shades, the juxtaposition of Behr’s Deep Aubergine and Yellow Corn infuses life and vigor into the mix. Elements like a stone fireplace or neutral gray countertops can be the ideal mediums to channel the palette’s subtle gray undertones. Whether you’re envisioning a grand dining ambiance or an imposing exterior facade, Iron Hand stands as a testament to dramatic artistry.
Lion’s Den: Crafting Resplendent Homes with Pride
“Respect the Lion” encapsulates the essence of the noble lion through the commanding presence of Behr’s Regal Red. While the palette embraces softer shades, they hold their own against the intensity of the deep red. Ideal venues for this audacious palette would be communal areas like living rooms or basements. Yet, its versatility shines when applied to exteriors, with colors like Windsor Moss or Glow setting the dominant tone, reflecting grandeur and pride.
Riverfront Residences: Deep Rivers Design Inspiration
The “Deep Rivers” palette embodies tranquility married to inherent robustness. It masterfully melds the depth of sumptuous blues with serene stone-gray neutrals, striking a harmonious equilibrium. Through the cooling embrace of Sherwin-Williams’ Timid Blue paired with the mellow touch of Roycroft Mist Gray, this palette mirrors the gentle flow of a meandering river. Perfect for creating a restful ambiance, it’s a prime choice for spaces like bedrooms or home offices, where calm reigns supreme.
Sundrenched Sanctuaries: From Dawn to Dusk Designs
The “Into the Sun” palette radiates warmth in its every hue. While it possesses a gentle undertone, the vibrant zeal of Valspar’s Sunglow combined with the lively spirit of La Fonda Spice infuses spaces with a luminous glow. Ideal for areas yearning for an infusion of light and cozy warmth, this scheme brings the sun’s embrace indoors.
For those who harbor visions of crafting beautiful homes and structures, but wish to bypass the long road to architectural registration, the world of building design beckons. Choosing the path to become a Certified Professional Building Designer (CPBD) is not only attainable but also offers immense satisfaction. As a practitioner in this domain, you’ll play a pivotal role in guiding those unfamiliar with the intricacies of construction and home renovations. While the legal landscape may not demand the rigorous exams required for architects, pursuing certification in building design is crucial. Think of it akin to how doctors opt for board certifications post their medical education – it enhances credibility, expertise, and market appeal.
It’s important to draw distinctions in this industry. A building designer, for instance, isn’t the same as an interior designer. The former is an expert in crafting sturdy, safe structures. This is a separate entity from the ‘design-build’ process. While both pertain to design, the design-build approach integrates both the contractor and the designer under a unified contract, creating a holistic building process. Entities like the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) champion and accredit this cohesive project approach. On the other hand, the realm of building design is a dedicated profession – a commitment to mastering an art. Organizations like the American Institute of Building Design (AIBD) oversee the certification of those who venture into this dynamic world.
Demystifying the Profession: The Scope and Responsibilities of a Professional Building Designer
At its core, a Building Designer, sometimes referred to as a Residential Design Expert or Professional Home Designer, is proficient in designing light-frame structures. This could range from individual homes to multi-family residences. Depending on state regulations, their expertise might also extend to crafting light-frame commercial properties, agricultural establishments, or even aesthetic facades for expansive structures. Equipped with a comprehensive understanding of the construction industry, these designers often play the pivotal role of guiding homeowners during the construction or refurbishing journey. Their role can even extend to being an integral component of a Design-Build ensemble.
Earning the title of a Certified Professional Building Designer isn’t an overnight feat. It mandates undergoing specific training modules, dedicating at least six years to the craft of building design, curating an impressive portfolio, and acing a set of stringent certification tests. Those who obtain the National Council of Building Designer Certification (NCBDC) not only showcase their expertise but also pledge adherence to the highest standards of professional ethics, conduct, and perpetual learning.
It’s worth noting the distinction between architects and home designers when it comes to state regulations. While architects undergo the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) as a prerequisite for their professional licensing, home designers aren’t bound by this requirement. The ARE, overseen by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, remains a cornerstone for those venturing deep into the architectural realm.
Pathways to Certification: Your Roadmap Explained
Embarking on the journey to become a certified professional building designer begins with a singular focus: aiming for certification. Wondering about the essentials to kickstart the certification process?
- Initiate the process by completing an application and remitting the non-refundable application fee.
- Secure three letters of validation from esteemed professionals in the building and design industry.
- Accumulate a holistic experience spanning six years — an amalgamation of formal education (substantiated by coursework records) and mentor-guided practical training (a form endorsement from your supervisor is imperative).
However, a word to the wise: it’s prudent to delve into the world of building design and amass experience before formally pursuing certification. Use the stipulated six-year experience criterion as your foundational stepping stone.
Pre-Certification Training: Preparing for Success
Kickstart your journey by enrolling in comprehensive courses centered around architecture or structural engineering. Opt for accredited institutions, whether they be established architectural schools, vocational training centers, or even online platforms, provided they maintain accredited status. Your ideal training should encompass foundational knowledge in construction dynamics, architectural design, and adept problem-solving.
However, if the traditional academic route isn’t your calling, there’s an alternate pathway. Immerse yourself in on-the-job training, where seasoned building designers, architects, or civil engineers mentor you. Positions like a civil engineering technician or drafter can offer invaluable insights into the mechanics of structural integrity, imparting knowledge crucial for your eventual role as an independent building designer. Organizations like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stand as exemplary hubs for hands-on experience, further preparing you for certification. Historically, the art of building design and architecture was handed down through apprenticeships, and while times have evolved, myriad avenues for learning continue to emerge in today’s dynamic professional landscape.
Hands-on Experience: The Value of On-the-Job Learning
Stepping into the realm of practical, hands-on experience is a non-negotiable prerequisite for aspiring professional building designers. Utilize the myriad resources at your disposal, be it through your institution’s career center or the vast landscape of online job portals, to identify prime opportunities. These could be internships or foundational roles that place you alongside seasoned architects, visionary building designers, or astute structural engineers. As you navigate through these experiences, commence the creation of a personal portfolio, documenting the working blueprints of projects you’ve had a hand in. With a consolidated foundation from both academic endeavors and real-world application, you’ll be primed and ready for the certification examination.
Mastering the Certification Exams: Tips and Insights
Embarking on a prosperous journey in building design often pivots on a pivotal decision: pursuing certification. In the U.S., aspiring professionals can seek certification from the NCBDC, under the aegis of the AIBD. Initiates can procure the CPBD Candidate Handbook for a comprehensive overview of the certification path and subsequent application for the online assessment. As you progress, you’ll transition from being an ‘applicant’ to a ‘candidate,’ culminating in achieving the coveted ‘certified’ status.
Upon initiating your certification quest, endorsement letters from seasoned professionals attesting to your expertise will be solicited. Once validated, candidates are granted a window of 36 months (or three years) to successfully complete the open-book online examination. While achieving perfection isn’t imperative—a past threshold of 70% was deemed satisfactory—it’s essential to possess knowledge beyond conventional building norms. This might encompass architectural history or the nuances of business management. The examination will challenge you with a myriad of scenarios spanning construction, design, and analytical problem-solving. Leveraging approved reference materials is permissible during the examination; however, akin to real-world challenges, exhaustive searches won’t be feasible. Intuition and proficiency are crucial.
The CPBD examination embraces a diverse question format, encompassing multiple-choice multiple answers (MCMA), multiple-choice single answers (MCSA), True/False, Short Answer, and even design sketches and analytical problem-solving. Prospective areas under the scanner might encompass:
- Business Acumen and Protocols: Expect to showcase expertise on contract intricacies, the subtleties of online publishing ethics, and discerning the nuances between employees and freelancers.
- Design Genesis: Probing your conceptual acumen, questions might revolve around architectural symmetry, American residential architectural variants, and the Renaissance era’s enduring influence on contemporary designs.
- Core Building Design: The bulk of the assessment will delve deep into the very essence of building design, encapsulating topics like building and fire safety regulations, roofing and foundational types, material-specific knowledge, and intricate calculations related to building dynamics.
If this seems daunting, fret not. The NCBDC provides a robust support system to shepherd you through this journey. Furthermore, invaluable insights can be gleaned from mentors, colleagues, and industry-recommended literature.
Advancing Your Career: The Importance of Continuing Education
Regardless of your title, whether as an architect or building designer, the quest for knowledge doesn’t conclude with obtaining a license or certification. The hallmark of a genuine professional is an unwavering dedication to continuous learning. Your guiding beacon, AIBD, stands ready to illuminate your path, offering a plethora of courses, workshops, seminars, and myriad other educational endeavors.
Birdhouses provide a haven for birds seeking shelter, but sometimes these structures go unnoticed or unoccupied by our avian friends. Is there a way to make birdhouses more appealing? Let’s delve into the common issues people face with birdhouses and their respective solutions, so you can become an expert bird host.
Birdhouses Go Unnoticed
Not all birds are attracted to birdhouses. Enhancing your yard with specific feeders, shelter, and water features can attract cavity-nesting species. As these birds become familiar with your space, they’ll naturally explore potential nesting spots, including birdhouses.
Late Birdhouse Setup
Birds often look for nesting spots early in the season. If you set up birdhouses after the first bloom of spring, you might miss the early nesters. For best results, prepare your birdhouses in the late winter, ensuring they’re ready for all potential tenants.
Birds Prefer Alternative Nesting Sites
Birds can be selective about their nesting sites, considering factors such as floor size, house shape, and more. Ensure your birdhouses match the specifications preferred by the species in your area. Doing a bit of research can go a long way.
Height Matters for Birdhouses
The placement height of a birdhouse plays a significant role in its appeal. Some birds prefer an aerial view, while others like staying closer to the ground. Recognizing these height preferences can assist in positioning your birdhouses more effectively.
Birds Shun Used Nests
While some birds might repurpose a bit of old nesting material, most prefer a fresh start. Clear out birdhouses after every nesting season. This ensures cleanliness and reduces potential risks from lingering pests or contaminants.
Safety from Predators is Essential
Birds prioritize safety when choosing nesting sites. Enhance your birdhouses with protective features like baffles and ventilation holes. Also, remove any perches and keep potential predators like cats at bay to maintain a secure environment.
Big Birds in Small Houses
If bigger birds like sparrows or starlings are hijacking your birdhouses, the entrance hole size may be the culprit. Ensure the hole size is appropriate for the species you wish to attract. You can always modify it to prevent unwanted guests.
Issues with Painted Birdhouses
While aesthetically pleasing, painted birdhouses might repel birds due to toxicities. If you do choose to paint, opt for bird-safe, subdued colors that blend with the environment. Avoid flashy designs or glittery additions.
Year-round Use of Birdhouses
Contrary to belief, birdhouses can be beneficial even in colder months, serving as a refuge from harsh weather. While it’s crucial to clean birdhouses during the autumn, they can remain in place throughout the year for birds to use.
Observing without Disturbing
While it’s exciting to watch birds, it’s essential not to disturb them, especially during nesting. If you’re keen on observing, consider using distant viewing techniques or installing non-intrusive birdhouse cameras to monitor without causing stress.
By addressing these challenges, you can make your yard a welcoming oasis for birds and enjoy the benefits of their delightful presence.
A picturesque, groomed garden is a dream for many homeowners, yet not everyone knows which grass species suits their garden best. While grass may seem like an ordinary plant, choosing the right kind involves various factors specific to each lawn.
Numerous grass species exist, but only a select few are frequently used for lawns. Let’s delve into some of the more common grass varieties and discover how to pick the best among them.
How Many Kinds of Grass Are There?
Grass, one of the world’s most prevalent plants, belongs to the Poaceae family. However, some plants resembling grass might belong to other families. An instance is the sedge plant, which, although grass-like, is part of a distinct family.
Although the term “grass” includes a vast range of plants, not all are apt for lawns. For example, Maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’) is genuine grass, but it’s not ideal for lawns. Similarly, the weed, crabgrass (Digitaria spp.), isn’t suitable either.
For our discussion, we focus on “turf” grasses, which are primarily used for lawns. These can be categorized into cool-season (like Kentucky bluegrass) and warm-season types (e.g., Bermuda grass). These classifications relate to the grass’s resilience and its ability to form a consistent, sturdy layer suitable for frequent activity.
Choosing the Ideal Grass for Your Lawn
Your local climate is crucial in making this decision. “Cool-season grasses” flourish in cooler climates and withstand frosty winters. In contrast, “warm-season grasses” are resilient in hotter climates.
Furthermore, consider your preferences, such as:
- Maintenance: What level of care are you willing to give? Some grass types require less attention, while others demand frequent mowing and watering.
- Aesthetics: The growth pattern may affect your choice. Some grasses grow in clusters, which might not provide the even appearance you desire.
- Recreational Uses: If your garden hosts outdoor activities, you’ll need a uniformly growing grass variety.
1. Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis)
A top choice among cool-season grasses, Kentucky bluegrass is famed for its stunning, even texture. However, it requires frequent fertilization, much like the fescue grasses.
Shade Tolerance: Limited
Drought Resistance: Limited
Foot Traffic Endurance: Excellent
Preferred Soil: Nutrient-rich, well-draining loam
2. Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea)
Unlike horizontally growing grasses, tall fescue grows vertically. It needs less fertilization than Kentucky bluegrass.
Shade Tolerance: Excellent
Drought Resistance: Excellent
Foot Traffic Endurance: Superior
Preferred Soil: Preferably nutrient-rich, well-draining loam but can withstand clayey soils
3. Fine Fescues (Hard Fescue)
Fine fescues differ from their tall counterparts due to their delicate, slender leaves, making them a favorite for many homeowners. They’re also salt-resistant, perfect for coastal lawns.
Shade Tolerance: Excellent
Drought Resistance: Excellent
Foot Traffic Endurance: Superior
Preferred Soil: Preferably nutrient-rich, well-draining loam but handles clay soils better than other varieties
4. Fine Fescues (Creeping Red Fescue)
This grass type is a golfer’s favorite because of its endurance and uniform growth. Though it doesn’t fare well in heat, it is drought-resistant once matured.
Shade Tolerance: Excellent
Drought Resistance: Excellent
Foot Traffic Endurance: Superior
Preferred Soil: Preferably nutrient-rich, well-draining loam but stands up well to clayey soils
5. Perennial Rye (Lolium perenne)
While perennial rye demands more water and nutrients, resulting in more garden work, it withstands foot traffic quite well.
Shade Tolerance: Limited
Drought Resistance: Limited
Foot Traffic Endurance: Excellent
Preferred Soil: Moist, rich, well-draining loam with a neutral to slightly acidic pH
In summary, while numerous grass species exist, understanding your lawn’s specific requirements will help you make an informed choice. Whether considering the climate, maintenance, or aesthetic preferences, choosing the right grass can transform your garden into an enchanting space.
If transforming your backyard into a visual delight or crafting a serene garden sanctuary has been on your mind, acquainting yourself with landscape design essentials is the way forward. Landscape design revolves around blending various elements like shades, patterns, and structures to produce an environment that’s not only captivating but also sustainable. With a strong grasp of the fundamentals, you can curate a landscape that marries functionality with beauty.
A holistic landscape design integrates both hardscape and softscape components. While hardscape encompasses inanimate elements such as boulders, fences, decks, pergolas, or fountains, softscape is all about living features, encompassing grasslands, flowerbeds, bushes, and trees.
6 Basic Principles of Landscape Design
When envisioning your landscape project, it’s vital to understand and integrate the foundational six principles to ensure an impeccable outcome. The trio of initial garden design principles (namely scale, flow, and cohesion) shape the overarching aura of the landscape. Meanwhile, the subsequent triad (consistency, equilibrium, and emphasis) dictates how an observer’s attention moves across the space. These guiding tenets can be realized by leveraging the quintessential elements of landscape design: shade, shape, texture, direction, and magnitude (detailed further).
Scale delves into ensuring that individual features or clusters of features, whether they’re plants or architectural structures, resonate with the overall landscape’s dimensions and feel.
Smooth and seamless transitions are the essence of any harmonious garden design. A disproportionate design is often disrupted by jarring shifts or the absence of fluid transitions. For instance, a tall stone barrier might splendidly enhance a grand residence but would dwarf a petite house because of the closeness in their heights. It would be prudent to position taller trees between the dwelling and the barrier to induce a gradual transformation.
When there’s a discernible sense of scale, there’s also an inherent unity. Thoughtful plant placements, keeping their shape in focus, can be instrumental in fostering a cohesive ambiance. To exemplify, trees of a similar shape stationed on either side of an entryway can induce cohesion. Reiterating a consistent shape also strengthens this principle. Achieving cohesion means every plant and element collaboratively operates under a central, harmonizing theme.
Consistency, in landscape design, is the systematic repetition of a distinct pattern or element. In the domestic landscape milieu, this repeated element could be certain plant species. Deploying plants of a specific type in a linear fashion or as a barrier can effectively guide an observer’s sightline in a designated trajectory. Straight lines are notably potent in governing the direction of one’s gaze.
Equilibrium pertains to the perceived steadiness and visual emphasis of features in a landscape. It can manifest through echoing identical dimensions, forms, and colors, distributed symmetrically across a terrain. Trees of significant size, positioned on either side of a residence, exemplify this balance.
A grasp of equilibrium paves the way to mastering emphasis. Emphasis steers an observer’s attention to particular focal points seamlessly. While numerous methods can craft emphasis, pronounced emphasis often stems from harmoniously arranged landscape components.
Wish to spotlight a sculptural element in your garden? Minimize surrounding distractions and utilize shade or layout to achieve this objective. Envelop the sculpture with a profusion of vibrant blossoms, construct a direct cobblestone pathway leading up to it, or design a defined border using ornamental plants, compelling the observer’s sight in the desired direction.
Types of Landscapes
Before embarking on your design journey, it’s paramount to reflect on your geographical location, as it plays a pivotal role in dictating the kinds of flora that will thrive in your space. Familiarize yourself with the USDA zone map, allowing you to gauge whether your locale is more suited for tropical greenery or requires hardier, cold-resistant varieties. Broadly speaking, there are three distinct landscape categories to contemplate:
- High-altitude Terrains differ significantly from landscapes closer to sea level. These elevated terrains necessitate flora that can withstand the rugged weather conditions and the stringent challenges presented by greater heights.
- Plains and Prairies encompass vast stretches of open terrain, like meadows and agricultural lands. Such expanses, devoid of natural barriers, can expose plants to the brunt of inclement weather, persistent gusts of wind, or prolonged dry spells.
- Shoreline Environments, given their proximity to the sea, often need plants that are resilient to both salt sprays and periodic water scarcities.
How to Design a Landscape
When orchestrating both the structural (hardscape) and living (softscape) elements of your domain, it’s imperative to weave in the five foundational elements essential to effective landscape design. They encompass:
Shade and Palette
Arguably, the primary pillar in any landscape design is color. Intermix blooms from warm and cool palettes for a striking contrast. Conversely, for a more harmonious vista, maintain a palette from either the warm or cool spectrum. A color wheel can serve as a handy tool in finalizing the hues for your landscape.
Shape and Structure
The principle of form is all about understanding the silhouette of a plant and the layout of its branches. Trees exhibit a plethora of shapes, further amplified by pruning techniques, ranging from the upright nature of Lombardy poplar trees to the cascading tendrils of a weeping willow. It’s also vital to scrutinize the form of a plant’s individual parts; for instance, the leaf structure of various trees can vary vastly.
Surface and Feel
Texture, in the landscape arena, predominantly focuses on the visual experience. A quintessential example is the way a plant’s leaf size contributes to its perceived texture. The granularity or fineness of one plant’s foliage can contrast significantly with its neighboring flora, based on disparities in leaf dimensions. Introduce diverse textures in your design blueprint for an engaging visual experience without compromising the garden’s synchrony.
Direction and Flow
Lines in landscape design act as silent guides, subtly directing the observer’s line of sight. The orientation and assembly of flora can subliminally determine how the eye navigates both along horizontal and vertical axes. A linear assembly of trees, for instance, can function as a demarcation, steering an observer’s attention purposefully.
Proportion and Comparison
At its core, scale pertains to the relative magnitude of an element in juxtaposition to its neighbors. For instance, shrubs might appear stunted if singularly placed before a vast mansion set in expansive grounds. However, the very same shrubs might feel aptly proportioned against a modest dwelling, sans the need for intermediary elements.
Landscape Design Explained Through Pictures
Invest some moments to peruse through portfolios of finished landscapes to unearth a wealth of captivating design inspirations. Browsing such visuals offers a lens to identify styles, components, or design facets that strike a chord with you. Delving into these photographic depictions provides insights into the practical application of foundational landscape design tenets. Furthermore, it paves the way for a clearer understanding of what financial outlay might be plausible for beautifying your residence.