Published Articles

Original Column
Saturday Edition
August 10, 2002

- a weekly column discussing the many aspects of landscape design, including ideas and concepts relating to planning your outdoor gardens, hard surfaces and living spaces. The essentials and elements of the design plan will be outlined in simple, and no nonsense terms for both the do-it-yourselfer and for those contracting professional installation.

“Welcome to the world of landscaping. As a local landscape designer, I have been working with clients for the past six years, providing landscape design plans for both do-it-yourself and professionally installed projects. Over the years, I have discovered more and more, the importance that, every project, large or small, must begin with a good design plan.”

“The more thought and detail that go into a project, the better the chance for success. The emphasis should first and foremost, go on the plan. A properly executed design plan generally results in a workable installation and consequently, a pleasing landscape to enjoy for years to come.”

“In the following weeks I will provide helpful hints on topics such as: Landscaping with Style; Water; Elevations; Colour; Statuary, Texture and Line, just to name a few. My goal is to inspire homeowners to think design, consider elements and achieve individuality while maintaining continuity and to always plan, plan, plan.”

“I look forward to sharing with you the experience of my past successes and ‘why it worked’, the many challenges and ‘what I learned’, and as always, offer my favourite helpful hint...when in doubt, call in the professionals.”

And now please enjoy my first column,

Landscape requires delicate balance of hard & soft materials

Welcome to the world of landscaping. How would one describe the word style? The dictionary would describe it as - designation; elegance; refinement; quality. So then, how would one apply ‘style’ to landscaping?

There are many effective methods of producing style in your landscaping. By simply using each of the above definitive words, the process of ‘styling’ your landscape becomes a delicate balance between soft and hard materials - in other words, plants or living things versus structures, stone, etc. or nonliving things.

Designate areas for gardens, water features, walkways, sitting areas and so on. Keep your long range plans in mind and include all items you anticipate installing over the years. A badly placed patio can wreak havoc on future plans for a swimming pool when the bobcat or backhoe runs across the hard surface because the patio has been placed in the direct path of the pool location and there is no alternative route for the machinery. Damage is likely to occur so repair work can run from minor to extensive.

It is always wise to consider the resale value of your home as you plan your landscaping future. What might be an exciting and unique idea to you might be a huge detriment to the sale of the house down the road. If you plan to have an extensive perennial bed that takes at least two hours a day to maintain, you may find your volume of potential buyers limited. However, if you plan to stay a long time in your home, don’t be hesitant to plan for a landscape that makes you happy. Should the need arise to reduce the gardens at sale time, a home-grown perennial makes a fabulous gift to family and friends or even consider donating some of the flowers to a retirement home or church. Your gardens should present a style and quality that is appealing to the new potential buyer.

Any style of landscaping, be it formal, informal or any other kind, should have an elegance about it that says that you have raised the bar. Even a cottage garden that can easily appear unkempt, can look like an artist’s painting if the combination is properly applied. The correct placement of every element is extremely important for balance and continuity. Imagine how disconcerting a formal garden would be if sprawling perennials were added to the mix. Style, balance, flow - a landscape must have a rhythmic feel that immediately shows and is pleasurable to view.

Whether using bold and expansive areas of your property or modest, specific sections, when laying out the plan, be sure to refine, refine, refine. Begin with jotting down notes on everything that you would like to see in your final dream landscaping. It may be a swimming pool, a pond, a three-tier deck or a large gazebo. Once you have included all items, survey your property to see if everything you would like can actually work in the space you have available. Now is the time to reduce and refine.

And finally, as you begin to develop and install the various features, buy quality, use quality, hire quality. It may cost a little, or occasionally even a lot more, but in the end, you will appreciate the choice you made. An improperly installed patio can be disastrous and costly over time. There may be a reason for bargain plants or statuary. Even a great deal on services rendered may not be so great when you find your wallet opening again and again to ‘fix what broke’.

So when you begin contemplating some landscaping, keep the word style in your mind and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. And when in in the professionals.

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