A Garden Landscape Doesn’t Exist To Be All Things To All People

20 Jul

While technology has allowed me to enjoy my chosen career as a landscape designer for well over a decade, it is only now that I’ve had the time to investigate designing a web site and blog, albeit in a painfully slow and simplified way. As an early technophile trained digitally in the investment and software industries of the late 70’s, I found that CAD software allowed for the convergence of my horticultural, design and construction knowledge without an ability to draw. I took solace from my busy life in gardening and outdoor pursuits. Alas, moving away from a rich work environment of technical resources and into the low tech field of nature has left me with, well… let’s just say, I design Gardens, pools, new and renovated landscapes well – web sites/blogs…ehh, not so well.

I remember watching Larry King interview Maria Schriver on television several years ago. While a prominent journalist, Kennedy clan celebrity, Mother, and Wife of California Governor – Arnold Schwartzenegger, Maria warmly empathized with the multi tasking of  main stream  North American women with a comment I roughly remember as echoing that: as a woman you can aspire to being all the things you want to be  in life – an interesting and accomplished person in your own right, have a wonderful and fulfilling career and be a good Mother, Daughter, Wife and Citizen – only you won’t likely be all of those things at the same time. I took it as meaning that with all of life’s competing priorities, if we are fortunate, we will have a life time to achieve our goals.

I cling to this notion personally, professionally and also when considering outdoor spaces and gardens. While it’s often a prime objective to satisfy many requirements and expectations when designing for oneself or others, success and achievement are measured much more differently in creative and organic disciplines. Guiding people through available possibilities, options and priorities is more of a solution sales process than design itself. In that way, the process guides the design and the designer channels the client’s wishes to become their design. In this way the garden’s potential to satisfy the client is realized – at least from a design perspective.

Design is, after all, the most important aspect of an outdoor project. A good design is more forgiving than a poor choice of material, plants or workmanship. Previous experience in real estate also highlighted to me that people are more likely to complain about poor function and aesthetics than they are of material and workmanship where flaws can often be tolerated under the guise of ‘charm’.

Not fully satisfied with your outdoor space? Take the time to look with new eyes to see the strengths and determine whether simple design changes could improve your outlook.

Next Blog – answering the trick question – Which plants are truly best for your garde

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