REDUCE MAINTENANCE – Our lives and resources are much different than those in our parent’s generation. It is very difficult to find workers who are willing to or capable of weeding and proper pruning. I repeat often, “it is not how much you have, it is how well-maintained what you have is kept”. Nothing is more beautiful than a well-maintained property and nothing worse than an un-kept one, large or small!
Random “beds” are unnecessary. I constantly tell people that when you create a “bed”, you have to fill it whether it be shrubs, flowers or groundcover which means $$$. When you have a bed it is a commitment to maintenance!! You not only must FILL IT it but also MULCH it; WEED it. Often my response if asked how to fix a messy area is ELIMINATE the bed or SHRINK IT with grass or sod. How easy and inexpensive is that??
365 DAY A YEAR APPEAL – A landscape is viewed 365 day a year. Winter months with bare branches and empty beds are to be factored in when creating a design and choosing plant material. I am a big fan of evergreens for this exact reason and feel strongly that your entrances should look just as pleasing at Christmas as the 4th of July. Color… everyone loves it! However, most flowering shrubs and perennials generally bloom for just a few weeks. Incorporating color with evergreens and annuals and the placement of it are part of the strategy. Place pops of color strategically as if you would a bouquet of flowers which have a short enjoyment period.
ANYTHING GREEN is more appealing than BROWN in the landscape. I have many tricks to accomplish this! My goal is to eliminate as much brown as possible. Also remember that Brown = Maintenance.
TREES – Olmsted was masterful with his placement of shade trees and how he used them to compliment the contours on the ground. In my opinion, trees are the single most important element of a landscape. When designing, I determine the variety based on the function it will serve: shade, ornamental, to screen a view, to anchor a house, to frame a vista. The placement of a tree must be done on site and considered from every angle.
EXTERIOR ROOMS – Dividing the property into exterior rooms is very much like designing the interior spaces. Together with my client, I ask questions which help determine how the space will be used. We divide the property into “ROOMS“ to fit the function such as the entertaining space, play space, cooking area, service area, garden area. The rooms can be separated by low or high walls (fences, hedges) and connected by hallways (paths) or doors (gates). Flooring can be grass, brick, stone or pebbles. Accessorizing the outdoor spaces with sculpture, furniture, fountains, ponds, adds a personal touch much like choosing art and focal points for your interior.
PLANT MATERIAL – It is imperative to know your plant material well. Mistakes can be costly and create unnecessary maintenance if the proper plant is not chosen correctly. It is imperative that Landscape designers select the plant material on site! Zone hardiness, plant conditions needed to thrive, (sun/shade, wet/dry), growing habits, all must be considered when making recommendations.