Landscape Design Advisories: Chapter 2 / Approaching Your Land

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Landscape Design Advisories
Chapter 2

Approaching Your Land


A Year of Observation

Many of the plant materials and sylvan creatures of our northern landscapes appear and disappear through the course of the seasons, so it will require a year of observation just to fully see who lives on your land.

You will want to know your Land Partner intimately before you can consider what will be best to do.
Once you are aware of what is currently happening on your land, you can best alter things in ways that can benefit your place.

To establish this close relationship, you will want go out and be in your landscape as often as you can through the year. Wander and sit everywhere, in the light of different times of day, in all seasons and weather. Notice everything you can and then wonder about it. See what you find pleasing and what displeases you. As you walk around, your feet will be looking for the paths you may want to establish. You will be gradually deciding the views you want to keep or erase, and you will find out what your favorite places are. Watching the behavior of individual types of plants and animals through the year will help you to figure out who the good guys and who the bad guys are, by your definition of partners or pests.
This is your search for the ‘spirit of the place’, and it is an integral part of a considerate design process.

Before you begin changing things much, it helps to know where and when the sun shines, shadows fall and the wind blows – for different times of the day and through the different seasons.
You will want to know things like where water comes into the property by sky, by drainpipes or through the ground, where it pools and where it never reaches.
See what is thriving or working well, what is not, and figure out why. See where the grass dries out (you will need to add water) and where soil erodes (fix the grade), where plants and weeds are happiest (plant more things there), and where even the tough multitude of native plants can’t manage to grow (the ground is not welcoming to plants, something drastic must be changed).

This kind of a searching and questioning process will help you to identify the problems and possibilities of your natural surroundings.

The information you gather will be fundamental to your design and thereafter to your lifelong experience of the landscape.
A well considered and well constructed landscape is fundamental to a natural, comfortable and pleasant daily life for plants and people alike.

A trained observer such as a landscape designer, landscape architect or horticulturist can notice clues to the pertinent considerations and probably find good solutions more quickly than you can, but you can probably figure out a lot of it. It will just take longer. Racket Shreve's signature  Pay lots of attention and make notes, lists and labels.
You may think that you will remember everything, but you won’t.

“the horror of that moment”, the King went on,
”I shall never never forget.”

“You will though”, the Queen said,
“if you don’t make a memorandum of it.”

……………………………………fromfrom Lewis Carroll     Through the Looking Glass

LINK TO CHAPTER 3 / ‘Deletions are First’

A Reasoned

Landscape Composition.
Stonework and Garden Design.

Unusual Plant Materials, Troughs
Tools and Antique Garden Ornaments

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  219. marc reiss
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4 Trackbacks

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