The true test of a good design is not what the property looks like when first planted but what it looks like 5 to 10 years later and beyond. That should be about the time we really begin to enjoy the eye-candy, not the time for a renovation. Unfortunately, many landscapes become a mess as they age. They looked good initially, all freshly planted and mulched. But when life set in and the plants grew up, these living breathing things became a hodge-podge of a maintenance nightmare.
This painfully slow process of assessing site conditions, but more importantly, assessing the proper shapes and sizes of plant groups is essential and may involve more than one season. In the beginning, we’re simply walking the yard, getting to know the lay of the land, and perhaps sketching a rough plan view with blobs (not perfectly circular bubbles) and lots of notes in the margins. We begin to weave, giving each blob or plant group a shape, height, and width. Think of planning as the "weaving" of plant groups or masses.
As we continue this weaving process, we revisit and rework mature height and the starting and stopping points of plant sweeps. Will this groups of plants be chest, hip, or knee height? Where will the plant sweeps begin and end? Is there enough overlap or weave among the groups? We’re organizing horizontal and vertical layers to shade every inch of the garden. This is the concept or long-term planning stage of big pieces, where we pull back our lens and focus our mind’s eye on the big picture of fully grown, mature plants. We're envisioning the end result in 5 to 10 years, and keeping in mind... the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, then they leap.
And we have yet to name a single plant or visit a nursery. Imagine that.
Welcome to my journal. For over 20 years I've created original landscape plans to help homeowners increase property value and really enjoy their yards. I approach every project as an unique opportunity to develop a work of living art, one that will require minimal care and age beautifully with time. In this journal, I will share some of my field experiences and tricks of the trade with you. Please join the conversation and thanks for visiting.