A Wildlife Christmas

Merry Christmas!

This is a hard time of the year on wildlife that inhabit our gardens and natural spaces. The habitats that supply the basic necessities for life have been stressed even more by this years natural and man-made disasters.

If everyone would develop just a portion of the space that surrounds our homes, business and institutions for wildlife habitation, the collective space would greatly help offset what has been lost.

The National Wildlife Federation outlines the basic elements needed for wildlife habitat as food, water, cover and places to raise young. This Christmas give a gift of life to the creatures that share this earth with us as well as our future generations. Just a little space for all God’s creatures.

 You can learn more about the Certified Wildlife Habitat program at www.nwf.org/habitat

Posted in Design, Hardscape, Plantings, Water Features, Written Words

“Siftings” by Jens Jensen

Jens Jensen, "Siftings"

As a landscape designer I have been influenced by many observations, experiences and people, one being Jens Jensen. Known as the Dean of American landscape architecture, he has had a profound impact on my design ethic and the way I view the natural environment.

I grew up with a great love of the natural world which surrounded me and this helped guide my life and vocation. I discovered Jens Jensen and his book ” Siftings” after years of designing outdoor spaces also discovering a kindred spirit.

This book is an easy read about his own personal evolution as a designer and a person. I highly recommend it to anyone that appreciates native plant material of our own region and the importance of natural spaces in our lives.

For those who know my work or live in a homescape I helped plan, you will recognize many Jensen elements such as the council ring. But I promise, I had my oversized mustache long before I knew Mr. Jensen!

Posted in Written Words

Lattice, It’s not what you think

Lattice provides privacy

Lattice usually conjures up the vision of the flimsy prefab panels bought at the big box lumber yard. You see them underpinning many homes usually trying to hide something unsightly or create quick privacy. 

I have mumbled the word in many design presentations hoping the client wouldn’t catch it or I come up with some vague description such as ” A wooden vertical design component thingamagig. ” When they do finally realize what I have said their reaction is much like when the toddler repeats a unacceptable word that they heard Uncle Butch say.

Much of the lattice readily available can make a landscape look cheap, breaks easily and disintegrates in a short time. Lattice done well can be a design element that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. A single panel can diffuse an unwanted view, create privacy or create a strong support for a cascading vine to climb onto. There are many design situations where a lattice panel or screen is the best way to create a vertical design element in a constricted space or create a sense of enclosurement . Usually I specify a vertical/horizontal grid lattice that is a completely different structure than the diagonal panels which most people envision. 

So next time you hear or see the word LATTICE on your landscape plan, remember it’s really not a dirty word.

Posted in Design, Hardscape

Just not enought time !

Where did August and September go?

Posted in Design, Hardscape, Lighting, Plantings, Water Features

Rolling on the river

Cooling off time

The sweat box summer temps have descended over much of the country with heat warnings to confirm it. We all seek ways to escape this yearly phenomenon and water has been one of the most popular choices to alleviate the discomfort of the furnace like conditions.

 Water takes many forms and is a intriguing element to experience. It is a scientific fact that it reduces our core body temperature , but its unique properties allow us to forget about the reality of the thermometer as we are transfixed on it with our eyes, ears and sense of touch. We may experience this through a constructed vessel such as a swim feature, a trip down a flowing river or a simple glass of our favorite beverage out on the veranda. The common denominator is waters ability to reduce the stressful effects of the summer sun on our internal thermometer.

Extreme drought has accompanied this years summer furnace over much of our country, as we seek the comfort of this limited resource let us be aware of the importance of good stewardship of it. A recent article in my local paper had a great article on this topic. It refered readers to www.40gallonchallenge.org to learn about actions we can take to   protect this irreplaceable resource.

Take a look and see what you might do to reduce your consumption of water so we may never have to endure a summer without it, or any other time of the year.

Posted in Design, Water Features, Written Words

Project relationships

The success of a landscape project is the result of many factors, one of the most important being the relationship of the client, designer and contractor. I have had the opportunity to be a part of many design teams made up of creative individuals from many disciplines. The most important team member is the client as it is their ultimate satisfaction with the project that measures the degree of success of a project.

Combining my landscape design knowledge with talented architects, land planners, developers, interior designers, engineers and all the craftsmen involved in a project has always been a learning experience. A properly schemed design plan with client involvement and talented contractors working together is a great experience. The developement of a clients personal space should be a positive and enjoyable experience for all involved especially the client. I am grateful to have been a part of many winning design teams in the past and always look forward to the next game.

I must admit that I also have seen many projects subject to human interaction that closely resembled a rival football game or worse yet a free for all brawl. The client is usually the one that ends up being the one hurt and paying the cost of the miscommunication.

Respectful communication of all parties involved is paramount for a project to transcend from the inner vision of the client, design planning to the crafting of the project into reality. All  good team players realize that everyone making up the landscape project team are equally important and with positive interaction will result in a common goal, client satisfaction. Game Won !

Posted in Design

Nature, the beauty and the beast

the eye of the storm

Mother Nature can be gentle and provide us with a bounty of beauty, she can also rule with a harsh and ruthless hand. The forceful storms of April have devastated our Southern land. Lives have been lost and impacted far beyond what most of us can imagine.

I am so thankful that my family escaped with no injury or physical damage, so many did not. Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.

A donation to a legitimate organization would be greatly appreciated by those who have lost all.  We are their hope.

                                                           Peace be with you!

Posted in Design, Hardscape, Lighting, Plantings, Water Features