Deletions are First / Landscape Design Advisories: Chapter 3

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Landscape Design Advisories
Chapter 3

Deletions are First
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Start with the Givens.

For the design of the all the work, from built work to plant work, you may first want to carefully consider which features of the property will or will not be altered.
The features that definitely remain are your ‘givens’, fundamental in directing the location, organisation and character of the elements which you will add.

Deletions are Important

  • You don’t want to begin your design thoughts with respect to existing unsatisfactory features, whether hard materials or plant materials.
    You will probably want to be liberal about removing things you are sure you don’t ultimately want
    , mentally if not actually, for the time being. If possible, begin your thoughts with what you have that you love – or can move or enhance.
    Perhaps there are poor placements of structures or plants ? Will you ultimately retain  that particular piece of unfortunate architecture or masonry ? Too many trees or shrubs ? Which are the worst ones? These kinds of  thoughts will guide you to your best ways forward.
  • To begin to look for your best property arrangements, deletions that you are sure about  come first.
    In an old landscape there will probably be more than one set of deletions, perhaps ideally with a cautious phase at the start. If, however, it is clear that something will be subtracted, taking it out as soon as you can will help you to better see the possibilities for arranging your landscape.
  • The ramifications of deletions are best experienced as they can rarely be fully pre-envisioned.
    I prefer to decide and accomplish essential deletions before planning a landscape in detail. What you move or remove changes the visual, ecological and physical circumstances of your land. When you can experience your landscape more fully, the best choices begin to show themselves.
  • You can neaten up from the earliest days
    This helps you to better experience the property, as you begin to consider what to change and create there. Take away all miscellaneous unwanted stuff. Clarifies things.
    Working in the connected spaces will help you see how they need to tie together.
    Straighten out your garage, cellar and garden buildings and get your doors working well. You’ll need a good broom.
    Rake, sweep and clean off the outdoor floor, especially potential walking pathways. Shear away chaff, dead stalks and trim off the brown bits in the beds. Soft tined rakes and blowers are helpful.
    You are getting to know your land partner and looking for the important paths and places....

    Now, Delete considerately.Before Deletions

  • Cut out dead trees and shrubs.
    Cut back or remove any individuals that are harming better trees or other things. You will want to determine which trees and shrubs are the better ones, if you need to make choices. Only take away ones you are sure about, but remove those as soon as you sensibly can. Many beautiful things are scruffy or invisible in winter, so watch through the seasons to find out who is who.
    Clean the trees and shrubs you are likely to be keeping. Take away dead and crisscrossing branches. You may want to prune some trees up 7′  or more if you will want to walk under them in your revised landscape.

    After Completion

Site Your Essentials

  • Elements of your landscape which are not yet present but will be needed for your outdoor life will need to be roughly sited early on. You will want the best locations for what will become the most used places.

  • Paths, entrys, sheds, water places and all essential immovable features, both existing and needed, will become centers of thought for your design planning and affect what you will choose to add.
    Whichever elements are of greatest of importance to you need to be optimally connected in the end, so their associated paths should be shaped early in your plans.

    Reuse and Recycle

    If plants or structures are just in the wrong places, perhaps they can be moved. Even large ones. I have had very good success with Rhodys 10′ high and wide, and many other plant materials with stature. It depends on the kind of root structure the plant has, or perhaps on whether you can get a machine to help transport them.
    Old swingsets can become archways to climb plants over. Wood playhouses can move, and can become mini studios. Smaller ones may become homes for plants to climb in and out of, perhaps with a seat inside for you.
    Earth or stone materials that will be recovered during digging work can create an opportunity elsewhere to raise a bed or embank a garden. Even broken concrete and silty loam can sometimes find a suitable filling purpose somewhere on your property, or that of a friend or neighbor.

    Getting Ready for the Work

  • If you have some really good plants but you need to get out them of the way of proposed work,  it will be good to wonder ahead of time where else those elements might be well used, and plant them in those locations.
    If your recycled plants will be used later around your finished built work, you can make a rough nursery bed somewhere out of the way of the building process, preferably out of the hot sun to protect your plants for the duration of the process. This can be just a simple trench or larger dug out place where your ‘plants in transit’ can be kept in soft earth and easily watered until your new grounds are ready.
    You then have a pallette of plant materials to draw from when the time comes to populate your new places.

    Link to Chapter 4 / The Logic of the Property

A Reasoned
Landscape Composition.
Stonework and Garden Design.

Unusual Plant Materials, Troughs
Tools and Antique Garden Ornaments

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