Can You Design Your Own Landscape?

Can you design your own landscape? You can design your own landscape if you are confident that you have the knowledge and ability, but your design should create depth and unity. Sure. Can you cook? Can...

Sure. Can you cook? Can you tile your kitchen? Sure you can if you have a talent for it, you can. But I say that with a big caveat. I think everybody has an expertise. If you design your kitchen and you like cherry wood cabinets, birch wood cabinets, oak cabinets, pine cabinets and white washed cabinets, you do not put one of each in your kitchen. Most people go to a nursery and they say, "Okay, I like this, I like that, I like these other plants, so I am going to put these in." But there is no rhyme or reason for why those plants were chosen, other than they like them. Just because you like stripes and plaids does not mean you put them on and wear them all that morning. Things have to go together. There has to be a reason why they work well and the same thing is true for landscape design. So, if you do not have the taste or the ability or the style to do it, it may look nice, but it's unlikely to create anything meaningful and functional.


I went to a client's house last week. These two have been married for 50 years. They have been in this house for 28 years. They were articulate, educated people and the house was immaculately well kept. It had a very nice presentation, but it lacked something. What it lacked was at the entry of the home where you come up the main road. It had a very soft, woodsy stone wall invite to it, but when you came into the house, things became very rigid and very linear. As I said, it was clean, it was neat, and it was well kept. It was manicured and very pretty, but it wasn't exciting. For the same money, they could have done dramatically different things. The reason they called me was because they had seen work that I had done for friends of theirs, and although they couldn't put their finger on it, they knew other things could be done.




So we started talking about the way the bed line curved and how they had a fence that did not work, even though it was a beautiful fence. It just didn't work. They had railing on the porch, which was a low porch and a very small porch, and the railing was dwarfing the front of the house. They wished to take the railing out. So, this house was very nice, but it could have been a lot nicer.

So if are you spending money to do something, it does not cost any more money to use it a different way than it does to do it the wrong way. A lot of people want to hide something. Whether it is a fire hydrant or utility box or whatever it might be, people like to hide things. When you go into your living room, how many outlets and switches do you have? Do you have something in front of each one of them? No, you have other things going on that draw your attention away from those things. People do not go into your living room and remember where your outlets were. Unfortunately, people do these things in their front yard. They create these piles of soil around the utility box or they create groupings of plants that have no rhyme or reason because they like those plants. They are all nice plants and they are beautiful plants by themselves, but they do not do anything. There is no cohesion, there is no flow, there is no continuity, and there is no excitement. It's just nice plants.

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