A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Landscape Design

I've been asked to design a landscape! No, this is not an April Fool's joke. A woman in my office who has hired and fired two landscapers, spending thousands of dollars in the process only to be disappointed with the way her yard looks has been picking my brains for months now. We have determined that she prefers cottage style gardens. I've assembled a list of deer resistant plants, shrubs and trees. Finally today, she invited me to her house to actually see her property.

I could see immediately why she fired the landscapers. Her yard looks like every other yard in suburban NJ. Island beds. Volcano mulch. Spiral shrubs. My Master Gardener training showed me how the trees and shrubs had been planted incorrectly and will die within a few years. I also noted sun loving plants planted under trees that will grow to shade them and shade loving plants planted in full sun. I definitely have my work cut out for me.

She took me on a tour of a garden that she loves. I don't know if the man who designed it had any training, but I was enchanted with the result. It was a series of garden "rooms". My design classes have taught me to see how the paths were laid out to lure visitors through the gardens. You kept wanting to see what was around the corner. It was incredible. When we got back to her house, we talked about how we could do something similar in her yard.

We are going to start literally at the curb with a mailbox garden and work our way through the front yard, the side yards and then the backyard over the next few seasons. We've worked out a design to "invite" guests up the driveway and then they will have a choice of either going to the front door or around the garage to a gate leading to the backyard which will contain the garden rooms. We are planning a bird-friendly garden, a water garden, a secret garden and a moon garden. Those designs are still up in the air because they are building a deck this year. Once that is in place, we can draw up more definite plans.

I came back home and decided I need to do something with my own yard! I have been planning on digging a new bed in the front yard, my first new garden in years. But in my backyard I would like to do a rose garden and replace the circular garden with something else. I'm having trouble deciding on the "something else". Next year. This year, I'm redoing my front yard!


At 11:26 AM, Blogger crazygramma said...

You can come and visit me and help me do my side garden. You certainly are never still enough to get bored.

At 1:43 AM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Oooooh, crazygramma, you've given me a GREAT idea! The thin strip between my house and my neighbor's driveway has been a disgrace for years! I should do something with that. Let's see . . . a serpentine path edged by hostas. Yeah!


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