A Lawn Panel

Would that the only thing on my mind were the flowers-so fabulous.  OK, I take that back.  I love nothing better than a landscape that has been designed and agreed upon, under construction. Last July I finished the design for a client who purchased an adjacent property, and required a landscape design that would take their property and and a planned addition on an adjacent property, which would meld them together gracefully.  My plan called for a lawn plane over 120 feet wide, spanning both properties, that would erase any visual reference to previous boundaries, and make whole, what was once separate.   

The rear yard on the river was a study in irregular terrain.  It would be off limits to me, given my new knee.  People friendly spaces require level ground-do not forget this.  Should you want to make your guests and your family to feel comfortable-give them level ground.  Though it is the toughest job on the planet to convince a client that the grade of the land might be the most important landscape gesture they might make, my clients had not one problem grasping the concept.  The drawing I submitted to them was simple; the work that would be necessary to get there-complicated, long,  and exasperatingly involved.

Every square foot of existing grass was scraped up, and hauled away for compost.  Not pictured here, the bulldozers, and dump trucks hauling and delivering soil. The rough bulldozer gestures.   The hand raking.  The checking of the grades.  We restructured the entire rear yard ground plane.

Every square foot of ground from the emerging addition to the water was revisited, regraded, and in the end-hand graded with giant levelling rakes empowered by the hands of my superintendent, Steve Bernard, and his crew. I had not one worry in the world.  I could drop him at a project and visit 6 months later-everything would be thoughtful, well executed-flawless. 

This past November, we sodded the grass plane.  The story of the construction delays-suffice it to say that we had plenty.  We closed down the landscape season on this project one very cold and stormy day.

Spring came-every last piece of sod survived Steve’s careful installation.  The grass plane was level, and intact.  Not so clear in this picture-the entire rear river side of the house and new addition had a sculpted piece of ground on which to sit.  In my mind, this was a considerable contribution to the unification effort, and a giant step towards a beautiful landscape. 

Per the drawing in the first photograph, this grass plane was bisected with gravel X’s.  These gravel lines are 12 inches wide, and precisely contained by aluminum edger strip. My client’s personal space-on the second floor.  This space not only will accomodate large parties and family gatherings on a level plane, they look beautiful from that second story balcony. 

Many months have been involved in transforming a construction site into a functional and beautiful landscape. A gravel walk traversing the entire walkway sits next to the lawn plane.  My client thinks it might suffice as a mini bocce lane-what fun.   

Progress-we have that.   See for yourself.  The final finish-we are closing in. This area will have grass tomorrow. The vegetable garden boxes are done and ready to plant.   Patience I have-should it involve a landscape or a garden.  I have three landscape projects out there now, under construction.  More to follow. This project-a dream come true.  Most projects involving lots of land and plants are slow to finish-as well they should be.  How slow they are to finish, given the change of the seasons, gives me the chance to look over, and edit  an idea. The natural turn of events-comforting.


  1. Love the lawn panels and how you described the making of this garden.
    It’s enjoyable to see good landscape architecture crafted from the hand of an artist.

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