In April and May, our native and cultivated landscapes come alive. Some are magical–other’s not- so- much. My work as a landscape designer takes the “not-so-much” into magical. As humans we notice the plantings–when they bloom and their shapes in relation to others. What we feel, but don’t usually notice in a successful garden is the structure provided by hard-scape and the planting lay-out as well as realities as to grade and drainage.
The hardscape includes retaining wall, paths, patios or terraces, fencing. Grading changes the way the ground slopes so we can walk, play on it, dine, and plant it. Positive grading also directs water away from our homes and prevents erosion. It’s captured in passive systems like dry wells or catch basins or active systems like rain gardens.
During this busy time, I’m providing estimates for landscape improvements–the tax terms for a beautiful landscape that adds a tangible (improved worth of your property and curb appeal) and intangible benefits (the unseen relief of walkways, drives, decks, patios that function and beautiful plantings that connect you to nature and provide a refuge from our crazy world).
I’m also consulting with potential clients responding to problems and hum- drum landscapes with my visions of gorgeous views, lush plantings, beckoning seating and dining areas for intimate and group settings, play areas, functional and earth friendly solutions.
Meanwhile, I’m working with clients to design new beautiful landscape gardens to be installed this season that fulfil their dreams.
I’m creating several at the moment. Today’s focus is a healing garden. Currently, the area has an existing bed that slopes from right to left with several feature boulders or rocks within, a visible vegetable not-so-pretty garden fence, an related arch leading to a grass path out to the woods, and a visible unpleasant tangle of bittersweet devouring the woods. Part of the solution is a low retaining wall that will correct the slope. When land slopes away, you can’t see it so effectively it’s not there.
I’ve designed the low retaining wall as a moving line. It starts intergrated with the boulder and moves in a strong curving line. Repeating shrubs in and out of the mid and back areas also move thru the garden creating a rythmn while effectively screening the not-so-pretty vegetable fencing. A high bush blueberry garden with a gorgeous spring blooming native shrubs will fill the area between the bed, the vegetable garden, the arbor. So disconnected elements are now, in my imagination and in plan, part of integrated whole. Perennials and annuals move as drifts and masses and bloom in waves of color while their foliage adds to the display. The colors and lush abundance of the garden plus the sitting area I’ve designed will stimulate all the senses and offer restorative moments. All of the design elements create a healing garden. The photo above from my own garden inspires my work and the combination of dianthus foliage and spring bulbs chinodoxa and muscari will find it’s way into this design.