Bone Structure is Key to a Garden’s Success
Home owners are often taken aback when they realize, after many hours of prep time and intensive labor, their lovely and very expensive collection of plants in the garden are nothing more than too many lovely and expensive plants in a forgettable outdoor space.
The most memorable and eye-catching gardens are those with strong internal hardscape structure. Too many plants not separated and defined by hardscaping, a word landscaper architects and designers use to describe more permanent fixtures that give a garden its shape, depth, and framework for the plants, can be uninspiring and over- whelming.
Great landscapes get their character from lovely bones: stone work, benches, water features, garden accents, sculptures, terraces, garden lighting, containers/planters, patios, arbors/pergolas, custom fences and gates, and the edging around your plant beds. All the elements that aren’t plants!
When you add a bench, a large rock, or a delightful curving stone path to a large grouping of your beautiful plants or a garden bench, suddenly the garden comes to life with its own story to tell. Your garden will capture the attention of your guests, and if you look closely, you’ll see them leaning in as they marvel at your gardens, as if they’re listening to your garden tell its story for the very first time.
Last year I took on a project to repitch and reset a flagstone patio with a Belgian block border that had been installed eight years ago. Below are some “during” and “after” pictures.
The patio was built for a new construction home. After the house settled a bit, the rear patio did as well and run off water wasn’t draining away from the patio. The project was not costly yet very important to do to correct and extend the life of the patio for another decade. By solving the problem early, I saved the homewners a lot of grief and future headaches.
I don’t have to go very far to check on this project because it’s my own backyard! Yes, when my landscape architect (me!) talks, I listen. I made the corrections to our patio just in time to enjoy our garden for spring and summer. And once again our run off water is flowing freely to the surrounding landscape and drains.
If you see lingering puddles of water in your landscape, there may be a larger problem looming on the horizon. If you act in a reasonable amount of time, an inexpensive solution can extend the life of your beloved landscape and prevent larger and more expensive problems down the road.
Home & Design Magazine Article ‘A Modern Landscape’
When J. Mark White of GardenWise was called in to restore the garden of a 1920s Colonial Revival, he was already familiar with the property, having previously landscaped the front and back yards. After fire struck the Cleveland Park home, the owners turned to the landscape architect for a redo.
Heat up Your Outdoor Space!
Many homeowners over the years have asked us to transform their outside spaces into cozy and intimate areas to gather with family and friends. It became more of a trend beginning in 2008 as the uncertain economy prompted folks to spend more time at home. I call these small, safe, and intimate areas cocoon spaces and in addition to giving homeowners an inspiring new garden area to escape to with friends, these spaces can increase a home’s value by as much as 15%.
The cocoon trend continues into 2011, but this year we’re turning up the heat! Because of recent technologies and new options from manufacturers, outdoor kitchens and fireplace/pits have become easier and much more affordable to install. A small and thoughtfully designed outdoor kitchen area gives your home a new gathering spot, and an outdoor fireplace or fire pit adds a multi-seasonal cozy spot for intimate conversations with family & friends. And by using a mix of recycled stone and hardscape materials purchased from local artists and quarries, you can take a new “green” step in your garden space.
Escape the Sun After the 4th!
We’ve had several weeks in the DC-area where many of our days have exceeded 90 degree temps; this week we’re topping 100. This coming weekend it will continue to be warm and I’m sure I won’t be the only one seeking shelter from the sun. Below is a pic of one of the sun shelters from my garden, with the GardenWise studio in the background. Our fun brightly colored striped umbrella shields us from the bright sun by day and protects us from sudden rain storms by night.
How do you escape the sun –what type of shelter do you have in your garden space? An umbrella, a covered pergola, strategically placed trees? Below is a post from Southern Living about Sun Shelters, a great link to share as we look ahead to another very sunny and warm summer weekend.
Southern Living – http://t.co/pffUCSz
Heat Up Your Outdoor Space!
Transforming an outside space into a cozy and intimate area to gather with family and friends is easier than you may think. I call these intimate garden areas “cocoon spaces,” which became a trend in 2007 as the uncertain economy prompted home- owners to spend more time at home. Cocoon spaces are safe and secure intimite garden areas, and in addition to giving home- owners an affordable and inspiring new garden space to escape to with friends, they can increase a home’s value by as much as 15%.
The cocoon space trend continues into 2011, but this year we’re turning up the heat! Because of recent technologies and other new options, smaller outdoor kitchens and fireplaces have become easier and much more affordable to install. A small and thoughtfully designed outdoor kitchen area gives your home a new heart and gathering spot, while an outdoor fireplace adds a multi-seasonal cozy spot for intimate conversations with family & friends.
An added bonus? By using a mix of recycled stone, and hardscape materials purchased from local artists and quarries, you can take a new “green” step in your garden space while supporting local businesses. Take it outside this year, and enjoy your garden spaces!
“Let sun shelters be your gateway to more gratifying outdoor living–you might even find yourself drifting to sleep beneath your umbrella.”
We’ve had several weeks in the DC-area this season where the temperature has exceeded 90 degrees — today it’s 102!! I spent the 4th of July in a shaded area near a pool, and even on a 97 degree sunny day, shelter under a very large umbrella with some strategically placed trees with a group of friends allowed for a pleasant and relaxing day. We even enjoyed a nice breeze or two!
I came across this post from Southern Living about Sun Shelters, and thought it would be a perfect post-4th of July post. Below is the umbrella from my own yard, which has provided shelter from many sunny days.