The Colorized Version

thecolorizedversion3This is stage 3 of the schematic plan.  By schematic, I mean a plan that details only the big gestures and spaces.  It does not tell you which pots to buy, or which cultivar of daylily to plant.  That comes later.  The big decisions get made first.  Where do I want my grill, and my terrace?  Where can my kids play?  Could I host a large party in that spot?  Where do I need shade?  Where can I plant my vegetables?

The colorized version has another purpose besides just being fun to do.  I color every plant that is the same, the same color.  This will tell me instantly if I have too much going on, or not enough. Do I have more landscape than I can take care of? Grass is relatively easy to take care of-if it is a beautiful shape, that grass becomes landscape; the French call it a “tapis vert”.  I can see the shapes of the spaces better in color; are they beautiful, as well as utilitarian, shapes?  Does it look like my house sits in the middle of something bigger that it is? Does my house look like a home now?  Could I imagine that the landscape came first, and the house was set down into it-rather than the other way around?  Can I walk through the landscape, rather than on the edge of it?These are all good questions to ask in advance. You will then be ready for all of nature’s surprises, yet to come.

Survey Your Spot



To follow is the first in a series of a discussion of how I design. Maybe it will help you; maybe it will inspire your own process.

If you are like me, you have a mortgage.  With that, came a mortgage survey; you need to fish that thing out. This document shows how your house, and driveway, and walks sit on the land you own. Mortgage surveys are usually on a single piece of paper-the actual dimensions of your house and land have been scaled to fit that piece of paper.  That scale is on your survey.  Should you read 1″=20′-0″, it means just that. A line on that survey which is 2 inches long, means the space is actually 40 feet long.  Who could draw a landscape bed which is actually 40 feet long in a space that is 2 inches long?  Not me.  So I will take this survey and blow it up times 2-so I have a plan that every inch represents 10 feet.  A survey scaled at 1″=30′, I blow up X 3.  Don’t black out-this is basic math. Take some time to think about it.  Should you not have this time, ask your 8th grader, or your girlfriend who is an engineer to help you. She will no doubt tell you that you need an engineer’s scale.  Enough for today, yes?