thedes覺gner ASSOCIATION OF
PROFESSIONAL LANDSCAPE DESIGNERS
Backyard OUT BACK WITH APLD
OVER THE HEDGE
editor’sletter Out Back with APLD
irst of all—hello! I’m thrilled to come aboard The Designer as its new Editor in Chief. I’m supported by an amazingly talented and generous group of APLD members serving on an editorial board to ensure that we’re covering what you, the members, want to know. If you have ideas for The Designer, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This editorial board developed the theme for this Spring issue: The Backyard. Members Margie Grace APLD, W. Gary Smith APLD, Benjamin Vogt, and Roberta Braegelmann APLD have welcomed us into theirs, an act of bravery roughly equivalent to inviting a professional chef to your house for dinner. Our other contributors also tackle this theme, looking at design features for private spaces (Joshua Gillow, “Design 101: Patios”), plant sourcing after the 2008 economic collapse (Matthew Cunningham, ASLA), and dealing with “unplanned renovations” (Vanessa Nagel, APLD, NCIDQ). Ben Vogt, reviews Past APLD President Judy Nauseef’s book, which discusses designing to place. Laurel Von Gerichten, APLD, views her own landscape with new eyes after a trek through Ireland. Finally, Cathy Carr, APLD, reviews APLD member Catherine Wiersema’s book, The Thriving Landscape Designer, which shares tips and tools for building a robust landscape design business.
We introduce two new regular features with this issue. “Wander.Lust.” invites us to accompany an APLD member as they explore a city or region, sniffing out the best spots for visiting designers to add to their itineraries. This issue finds Kelly Kilpatrick roaming through her “backyard,” the San Francisco Bay area, and recommending shops, restaurants, gardens, and green spaces. “Plant App(lication)s” delves into the many ways to put plants to work in the landscape; this time Deborah Silver examines hedges in all their various forms and functions with plants that fit the application. Pull up a seat, grab a glass of sweet tea (hey, I’m from the South!), and sit out back with APLD. Ignore the algae-covered mannequins in the corner. They’re for a project. KATIE ELZER-PETERS
T U F F S T UF F ™
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11 PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE 12 DESIGN ROUNDUP WANDER.LUST. 18 San Francisco BY K E L LY K I LPATRIC K
24 PL ANT APP( L ICATION )S Over the Hedge BY D E B O R A H S ILVE R
32 BUSINESS Strategies for Success BY C AT H Y C A RR, AP LD
36 BOOK REVIEW Gardening with Native Plants BY BENJAMIN VOGT 42 IN THE FIELD Where Have All the Good Plants Gone? BY M AT T H E W C UNNINGH AM , AS LA
50 OUT BACK WITH APLD BY MARGIE GRACE APLD, W. GARY SMITH APLD, BENJAMIN VOGT & ROBERTA BRAEGLEMANN APLD
62 CASE STUDY Regenerating a Garden: A Landscape Designer’s 25-Year Challenge BY VA N E SSA NAGE L, AP LD, NCI D Q
72 DESIGN 101 Pointers for the Perfect Patio Project BY J OSH UA GILLOW
82 TRAVEL INSPIRATION The Emerald Isle BY L AU R E L VO N GE RICH TE N, AP LD
O N T H E COV ER: D E SI G N BY GRO UNDWO RKS INC. P H OTO G R A P H BY A L I C E S . M A R CUS K RIE G
S P R IN G 2 0 1 6
APLD's W. Gary Smith gives us a peek into his backyard.
thedesıgner EDITOR IN CHIEF Katie Elzer-Peters ART DIRECTOR
Roberta Braegelmann APLD
Out Back with APLD p. 56
Cathy Carr APLD Business: The Thriving Landscape Designer
Denise Calabrese, CAE ASSOCIATE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Lisa Ruggiers MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR
Angela Burkett COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
Michelle Keyser CERTIFICATION COORDINATOR
Kelly Clark COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE
Courtney Kuntz BOOKKEEPER
Jennifer Swartz DIRECTOR OF CONFERENCES & EVENTS
Lori Zelesko MEMBERSHIP, FINANCE & EVENTS COORDINATOR
Leona Wagner NEWSLETTER EDITOR
Amy Bobb ADMINISTRATIVE PROJECT COORDINATOR
Julie Wilhelm COPY EDITOR
Roberta has been designing landscapes in Tucson, Arizona, since 2000 with a focus on outdoor living. She derives equal enjoyment out of creating garden “rooms” and gathering areas as she does working with larger landscape plans. She draws from the wide diversity of the desert plant palette, packed with incredible forms and structure to create never-ending unique combinations for clients.
After more than 12 years designing, pricing, and project managing installations for a highly respected garden design/ build firm, Cathy Carr, APLD, started Green Heart Garden Designs two years ago. She has established herself as a thriving Customer Intimate designer in the Washington, DC area.
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contributors Matthew Cunningham ASLA Where Have All the Good Plants Gone? p. 42
Matthew Cunningham is an award-winning landscape architect in New England who derives immeasurable passion from the landscapes of the region and from his rural roots in the verdant, rocky coast of Maine. He is a hands-on professional and collaborates only with the finest craftspeople to ensure ecologically balanced gardens that feel almost instantly contextual and mature. Matthew holds degrees in landscape architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Design 101: Perfect Patio Projects
Out Back with APLD
Wander.Lust.: Meet Me … in San Francisco
Joshua Gillow is the Founder of MasterPLAN Landscape Design in Eastern Pennsylvania. Joshua first realized his love of nature when he started working at his parents’ garden center at age 5. Backed by his degree in architectural design and engineering, Joshua’s love of plants, the outdoors, and helping people inspires his passion for design and intricate construction. “Nothing brings me more pleasure than working with my clients to discover the true potential of their properties.”
Margie Grace heads Grace Design Associates, Inc. (GDA), a landscape design-build firm headquartered in Santa Barbara, California. An avid traveler, with a formal education in biology, geology, and illustration and professional stints as ranger, lifeguard, and white-water rafter, she is a keen observer of nature and architecture. Margie’s work on Victoria Garden Mews, a multi-family infill project, was the first residential project worldwide to achieve Sustainable SITES Initiative certification. In 2009, Margie received the APLD Landscape Designer of the Year Award.
Kelly Kilpatrick has been creating plantalicious gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2000. She is the owner of Floradora Garden Design and keeps a garden journal at the blog Floradora.
contributors Vanessa Gardner Nagel APLD, NCIDQ Case Study: Regenerating a Garden p. 62
Vanessa is the owner of Seasons Garden Design LLC in Vancouver, Washington, and the author of Understanding Garden Design and The Designer’s Guide to Garden Furnishings. She is a director on APLD’s international board, and has won numerous awards for her designs, including an APLD Merit Award and an Award of Excellence from Sunset magazine’s Landscape Design Competition.
W. Gary Smith
Plant App(lication)s: Hedges
Out Back with APLD
Book Review: Gardening with Native Plants
Deborah Silver is a landscape and garden designer whose firm, Deborah Silver and Co., Inc., will celebrate 30 years in business in July of 2016. Her primarily residential practice is located in Michigan and the upper Midwest. She also owns Detroit Garden Works, a retail store devoted to fine and unusual garden ornament and specialty plants. In 2004, she founded The Branch Studio, which fabricates, in steel, garden fountains, containers, structures, and sculptures of her own design.
W. Gary Smith works almost exclusively in botanical gardens across the United States. Recently completed projects include gardens for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the Southern Highlands Reserve, and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. He is currently designing gardens for the Tower Hill Botanical Garden and the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden. Gary is also widely known as a lecturer, author, and artist. His book, From Art to Landscape: Unleashing Creativity in Garden Design, received the Book Award from the American Horticultural Society.
Benjamin Vogt owns Monarch Gardens, a prairie garden consulting and design firm in Lincoln, Nebraska. His personal garden has been featured online at ApartmentTherapy. com, FineGardening. com, and GardenDesign.com. Benjamin’s weekly column at Houzz. com has been read nearly two million times, and he speaks nationally on native plants, climate change, and garden philosophy. You can link to his social media pages at www. monarchgard.com.
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thank you to our
Laurel Von Gerichten APLD Travel Inspiration: The Emerald Isle
Laurel Von Gerichten earned a Certificate in Landscape Design from the New York Botanical Garden in 2006. She then opened Laurelbrook Design, Inc., a design-only practice in central New Jersey. Laurel favors using native plants in her work, and won awards from the National Garden Clubs and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for creating the naturalistic landscaping at the Ocean Township branch of the Monmouth County Library. She is a certified member of APLD.
>>Click logos for link to their website
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president’smessage Spring Bloom!
s a landscape designer, I find the months between March and May are ultimately my favorite time of the year. So many flowers and leaves emerge from cold and dampness, with the full benefit of dormancy, rest, and relaxation from the fall and winter seasons. The struggle for these plants to emerge is so very inspiring. Indeed, it is that same renewed energy that is pushing me forward in 2016!
Just as the flower and leaves burst forth with color, scent, and anticipation on late winter days, so do professional landscape designers—and their clients! For me in Seattle, as soon as the Northwest Flower and Garden Show finishes its five-day run of display gardens, informative seminars, and shopping for the latest garden gadget, our Pacific Northwest region bursts forward with hope and enough stored energy to push landscape designers to the brink of exhaustion just trying to keep up with the energy of the season. The spring crush of incoming calls and inquiries indicates that we all have work to do—and work we will! Nearly every region in our nation will host some sort of spring-forward gardening event that encourages even the reluctant to ponder what is possible in the landscape. And then to question how do I get that done?
Professional landscape designers offer much to both industry and consumers when it comes to channeling and focusing all that pent-up winter energy into something beautiful, functional, and happy-making. Certified landscape designers have years of experience and training in design, horticulture, site layout, and soil health, not to mention exposure to sustainability foundations that affect the health and wellbeing of our landscapes. They collaborate with clients to take a wild, crazy, dream-of-an-idea, and put that idea on paper through innovative solutions and hands-on problem solving. Designers will incorporate techniques and skills to save their clients’ money, time, water, and additional resources, while they institute innovative solutions for unique gardens spaces that are as individual as their owners. In the end, client and designer do a little happy dance for their shared creative success that only reminds me of the surge of spring fullness and joy that comes this time of year. LISA PORT APLD
We ask questions of our clients like ‘What is your favorite garden memory?’ ‘Your favorite smell?’
We Dig Plants is a weekly podcast created and produced by Carmen DeVito and Alice S. Marcus Krieg, principal designers of Groundworks in New York
City. They started the show in 2009, broadcasting live to 12,000 listeners per week on the Heritage Radio Network and recorded for easy playback on apps like Stitcher. New episodes air from September through March—so you’re just in time to listen to the 2015–2016 season before your design work gets out of hand, or to queue it up for long drives to client properties.
PHOTO CR EDI T: A LI CE S. MA R CUS KR I EG
designroundup BY KATIE ELZER-PETERS
PHOTO CRED IT: MI CHELLE A R CI LA
Podcast: We Dig Plants
DeVito and Krieg met while working at the Horticultural Society of New York. “We’re very plant driven,” said DeVito. “We started our firm after 9/11, when there was so much destruction where we lived and people desperately needed living things and beauty.” Most of their work is in small, city courtyards and rooftop gardens—a vastly different “backyard” than the others covered in this issue of The Designer. ➸
Alice S. Marcus Krieg and Carmen DeVito of Groundworks Inc. Views from a terrace they designed in Brooklyn (above left).
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We try to get people and clients excited about plants and the human connections with plants.
designroundup “We design spaces that are often the first garden someone gets to have as an adult. They want it to be everything—to produce food, to smell good, to offer privacy. It’s more than an outdoor living room. It’s very special to them,” DeVito said. “We ask questions of our clients like ‘What is your favorite garden memory?’ ‘Your favorite smell?’” She said their podcast is a natural extension of their design philosophy. “We try to get people and clients excited about plants and the human connections with plants.”
Recent episodes covered the history of Chinese plants and their influence on American horticulture. “There’s a reason why our gardens look like they do—and include camellias, azaleas, and peonies,” said DeVito.
In 2014 in another exploration of garden history, they interviewed Gordon Campbell, author of The Hermit in the Garden, discussing, among other things, the concept of the “ornamental hermit,” when it was common in 18th and 19th century Britain for garden owners to pay a “faux hermit” to install himself in the landscape. “There’s lots of crossover between design and history, history and plants,” said DeVito. “If you’re interested in one, you’re probably interested in the other.”
P HOTO CRED IT: WI KIM EDIA COM MO NS
Peonies were a recent podcast subject (right). A West Village courtyard in NYC designed by Groundworks Inc (left). P HOTO C RE D IT: A L IC E S. M ARC U S K RIE G
Website: Pollinator Partnership Selecting Plants for Pollinators
A Regional Guide for Farmers, Land Managers, and Gardeners In the
Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Including the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and parts of Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas,
Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Maryland
As this issue asserts, our backyards are not all the same, and neither are the pollinators—insects, butterflies, birds, and bats—that visit them. For designers serious about incorporating beneficial plants that enrich the specific ecosystems surrounding and encompassing their designs, the Pollinator Partnership Ecoregional Planting Guides are must-haves. Each guide is tailored to a defined region of the United States or Canada and includes extensive plant lists with descriptions of flower color, leaf color, and seasonal interest. While the plants listed are natives, cultivars of many are available in the trade. If you’re new to embracing ecoregionalism in design, these guides are a good place to start for scientifically quantified information.
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PHOTO CR EDI T: I STOCK
Book: The WaterSaving Garden: How to Grow a Gorgeous Garden With a Lot Less Water
Rebecca Sweet (frequent contributor to The Designer) says, “As a designer who focuses primarily on water-wise and lawn-free garden designs, Pam Penick’s latest book, The Water-Saving Garden, is hands-down one of my top three favorite resources. This book helps to inspire with gorgeous photos but also provides specific details about various methods of containing and re-using water. In fact, after only having it a few weeks now, I’ve already used this book several times to help with a few of my current projects.”
Depending on where you are, water issues may range from funneling water from frequent rains to finding plants that thrive without rain—and all are equally treated in the book. You’ll find new nuggets of inspiration in “Part Four: Oasis or Mirage? Creating the ILLUSION of Water in the Landscape,” which includes chapters on water-evoking plants and “Squeezing Water from a Stone” (dry water features).
In the 1800s, American pioneers driving wagon trains west across the Great Plains glimpsed in the rolling, tall-grass prairie an echo of the ocean. —PAM PENI CK
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Meet Me … in San Francisco BY KELLY KILPATRICK
ith the Bay Area’s excellent gardening climate, we are lucky to have an abundance of nurseries and garden-related shopping. In addition, urban renewal has spurred some creative public spaces and our botanical gardens are treasures we’ve long loved. One could spend several years in the San Francisco Bay Area and still not see all the beautiful gardens and design-related stores that this area boasts. Even though I’ve lived in the area for 20 years, I still have so much left to see! I’ve put together a list of my favorite gardens, stores, and a few nearby eateries for when you need to refuel. So whether you are here for a few days or 20 years, you will find plenty of fun places to visit. PHOTOGR A PHY BY KELLY KI LPATR I CK
(Left) Clement Street parklet during a busy Sunday farmer’s market (Below) Park Life is a fun design store with unusual gifts and artwork.
Urban Renewal Open Spaces San Francisco is home to many “parklets”—miniature parks/seating areas/ plantings that are built across a span of two or three parking spaces, effectively enlarging a sidewalk enough to allow people to hang out and relax for a bit.
The parklet on Clement Street is made of reclaimed lumber and large hunks of wood. It has benches, tables and beautiful succulent plantings. The parklet is located in front of Park Life, a fun design store and art gallery selling cool prints, t-shirts, gifts, and books. Visit on Sunday to catch the farmers’ market for local produce, honey, and prepared-food vendors.
The Judah parklet includes a large tree trunk laid on its side for seating, perfect for kids to climb all over. Enjoy this parklet with a coffee, toast, and
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Alfresco dining amid sculptures at the de Young.
coconut water from Trouble Coffee and peruse the So-Cal vibe at General Store afterwards. You’ll find great ceramics, periodicals, and vintage clothing. Make sure and check out the seating area and greenhouse behind the store; it is a frequently Instagrammed space. Patricia’s Green is a narrow park created in 1999 when the demolition of a
freeway onramp opened up the space. The result is a revitalized neighborhood. It is a popular place for walking dogs or letting the kids play, and is conveniently located right next to several eateries constructed out of shipping containers. One end of the park currently features David Best’s intricate, interactive wooden temple. Save time for the excellent shopping and dining on Hayes Street that borders the park.
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wander.lust. Botanical Gardens & Large Parks One could spend many days exploring the attractions of
Golden Gate Park. Rent a bike
and check out the windmills, buffalo, and roller The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden disco gatherings. Gate Park has beautiful architecture Golden Gate Park and well-tended plantings. also contains some world-class gardens and museums. Visit the San Francisco Botanical Garden or the Japanese Tea Garden. Next door to the Japanese Garden is the de Young Museum, complete with a textural steel building and attractive grounds. Even if you don’t go inside to see the exhibits, make sure and check out the many outdoor sculptures and definitely go up to the top of the free observation tower for a spectacular view. Across the plaza from the de Young is the California Academy of Science with its undulating green roof and fun, kid-friendly, natural science exhibits, including an amazing rainforest dome—a perfect place to warm your bones on a chilly San Francisco summer day. Or warm up at the Conservatory of Flowers, a beautifully renovated ornate glass conservatory filled with spectacular tropical plantings. Don’t miss the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley. It is beautifully situated in a gorge up the hill from campus. The undulating grounds host several plant collections including the New World Desert, California, and the Mediterranean gardens. The UC Botanical Garden has one of the most ➸ >>Check out all these places on our map! Click here
wander.lust. diverse collections in the United States. Pop in for a quick look around the beautiful entry gardens and gift shop or plan to spend several hours stretching your legs, walking the many trails of the garden.
Stop by the renowned Flora Grubb Gardens in San Francisco, a nursery where you’ll find a great selection of succulents, bromeliads, and plenty of foliage plants for that modern-lush look, not to mention outdoor furniture and beautiful homewares. Have a pastry and coffee at the Ritual coffee bar located inside. A few blocks away from Flora Grubb is the Living Green Design showroom where you will find amazing planters, relics, and outdoor pieces sure to make your jaw drop. These aren’t pieces you can pop in your suitcase for the flight back, but it’s a great place to source unique items for big-budget projects where shipping heavy pieces is not a problem. Flowerland Nursery in
Albany is an excellent stop for plant lovers with one of the best selections around. I always find some new plant that I need to try out. Their gift store is one of my favorites with a lovely selection of jewelry, art, and ceramics. And outside you’ll find an airstream trailer serving tasty coffee and snacks.
Crimson Horticultural Rarities is a cute shop in
Temescal Alley in Oakland. It features mostly houseplants, but you’ll also find a nice selection of moody art and home furnishings. Make sure Beautiful interior and exterior selections at Flora Grubb Gardens
and check out the rest of the shops in the alley, as there are many interesting boutiques.
One can find a large selection of gardenrelated books at Mrs. Dalloway’s.
Builders Booksource on 4th Street in Berkeley is an excellent place to peruse
selections of garden design, architecture, interior design, and graphic design books. And they have a lot of technical books that are hard to find elsewhere. Across the street is The Gardener. It contains fewer garden-related supplies than the name would suggest, but you’ll still want to stop in for the beautiful dishes, furniture, and other homegoods. Also in Berkeley is the bookstore Mrs. Dalloway’s, which has one of the best selections of gardening and garden design books I’ve ever seen. Grab a book and pop next door to the Elmwood Café, an old soda fountain counter that now serves delicious breakfasts and lunches.
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Over The 24
A hedge can frame and celebrate a special feature in a landscape.
EIGHT IDEAS FOR USING HEDGES IN A VARIETY OF SHAPES, FORMS, COLORS, SIZES, AND FUNCTIONS IN THE LANDSCAPE apld.org
plantapp(lication)s BY DEBORAH SILVER
he dictionary says, â€œA hedge is a group of plants grown in concert that creates a boundary, enclosure, or fence.â€? The need to establish a boundary may be utilitarian. A coppiced hedgerow can keep livestock fenced in and out of the road. A hedge of trees planted closely can deflect damaging winds or define the edges of a property or garden. A dense hedge can discourage uninvited guests. A low hedge can neatly enclose a garden of perennial and annual herbs or vegetables. Hedges create a visual and sculptural description of the parameters defining a place, space, spot, or property and need not be confined to the perimeter of a property.
A dense hedge of great height can screen an untoward view and provide privacy. Evergreen hedges represent their function in the landscape year round. A living hedge can provide a softer and more circumspect enclosure than a wall. This arborvitae hedge not only screens a neighboring house from view, it conceals the chain link fence required for the pool. The secondary and lower corresponding hedge of boxwood screens the lower portion of the arborvitae from view. Despite the best of care, arborvitae have a tendency to get scraggly at the bottom with age. A hedge of this type requires a fair amount of room. The depth of this bed is 10 feet.
PHOTOGR A PHY BY DEB OR A H SI LVER
enclosure Locating and choosing the proper plants has everything to do with intent. A boxwood hedge can formally enclose a garden that is re-planted throughout the year or has seasonal interest from flowering shrubs and perennials. The contrast of the ephemeral garden elements set against the permanent hedge will create visual interest. This rose garden of mine, planted additionally with Boltonia, asparagus, and white Japanese anemone, was especially satisfying at that moment during the season when the roses would spill over the boxwood. The tall arborvitae hedge to the rear, which provides privacy from the road, is interrupted by a gate. As a result of the winters of 2013 and 2014, the roses are gone now. All that survived from within the garden was the Japanese anemone. The garden needs to be replanted, but the 15-year-old boxwood hedge is still thriving. âž¸
In this picture, you can see that the car park is entirely screened from view from the street to the right. Hedges do a great job of keeping a utilitarian space out of public view. The hedge of Limelight hydrangea planted between the arborvitae and the boxwood is beautiful for many months in the late summer and fall. The hydrangeas are pruned in the spring, so the winter look is a bit better than passable.
define Not all hedges need to be comprised of a long line of the same plant. The evergreen hedge in the rear of this picture screens from view a road that sits considerably higher than the house. Prior to the planting of the hedge, everyone passing by on foot, bike, or car had a birdâ€™s eye view of all of the comings and goings at the property. The hedge is 15 years old now, and features a variety of large specimen evergreens interspersed on the house side with dwarf evergreens whose mature height is 12 feet or less. The street side of this big hedge is faced down with evergreens that mature at four feet or less. The hedge provides a lot of privacy and great pleasure to a client who has a keen interest in plants in the landscape. A buffer of Indian woodoats (Chasmanthium latifolium) and false chamomile (Boltonia asteroides) separates the Limelight hydrangea hedge from the big evergreens. âž¸
elevate A “hedge on stilts” of Frans Fontaine hornbeam (Carpinus betulus 5 ‘Frans Fontaine’) addresses how screening can be achieved at a green height, without taking up so much room on the ground level. A neighboring house is at an elevation much above the elevation of this sunken garden. The trees were 1.5-inch caliper trees grown in 25-gallon pots, and were spaced at 9 feet. All 14 trees now function as one organism. Needless to say, the client takes very special care of them, as the loss of a single tree would be devastating to the appearance of the landscape. 30
A hedge can do a lot for a landscape, not the least of which is to describe or strengthen a change of elevation. Changes of elevation in a landscape add much to its sculptural quality.
These parallel hedges of yew (Taxus × media ‘Densiformis’) help to direct traffic as much as they help direct the view to a destination. A hedge can be quite the workhorse in a landscape.
A traditional boxwood hedge can be a decorative element in and of itself.
business Strategies for Success
T I P S AN D TO O LS F R O M THE BOOK, THE THR IVING LANDSCAPE D E SI G N E R : A P RACT IC E G UID E TO CLIENT MANAGEMENT, M A R K E T I N G & P RO F ITABIL IT Y BY CATHERI NE WI ERSEMA BY CATHY CARR, APLD
lients can’t have a great garden without a terrific design. Our work begins the garden-making process and deserves to be well compensated. However, price—and profit—is a natural outcome of your business strategy. Do you want your business to be more profitable? First, locate the type of work you do on APLD member Catherine Wiersema’s Residential Market Pyramid.
I learned enough about positioning my business from Wiersema’s talk at the 2015 APLD Conference in Washington, DC, to immediately order her new book, The Thriving Landscape Designer: A Practice Guide to Client Management, Marketing & Profitability. I’m glad I did, because the book gave me additional ideas to boost my income. Initial chapters help the designer define or refine the business strategy that best fits his or her interests, skills, abilities, and market. Using categories from the book, The Discipline of Market Leaders, Wiersema explains that design businesses fall into one of three models:
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OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE (OE)
A designer who provides clearly defined, tangible benefits that can be delivered quickly and at a competitive price. Landscape maintenance, container design and upkeep, and landscape
staging for real estate sales are examples of OE businesses.
PRODUCT LEADERS (PL) Designers who have a well-defined
CUSTOMER INTIMATE (CI) Designers who focus on meeting each
aesthetic and distinctive look that clients from all over the world want and seek out. Oehme van Sweden is a prime example of a PL brand.
clientâ€™s vision and needs, so one landscape looks very different from another. Great listening and customer-centric skills are required to gain âž¸ referrals in a close geographic market.
Residential Market Pyramid LOC ATE THE TY P E O F WORK YOU DO ON THI S PYRAMI D
Very large residential new construction on large lots
Large residential additions
Renovation of landscapes; hardscape and landscape
Freshening of tired landscapes; transplanting and planting Foundation or perennial plantings
Landscape staging, containers, maintenance and fine pruning
Maintenance: Lawns and seasonal cleanup
business Wiersema illustrates many marketing, presentation, pricing, and client relationship examples to suit each strategy. For instance, CI designers would benefit from having a high-visibility pro bono project that will attract potential clients in their market area. Product Leaders might enter regional or national design competitions that prospects will see. OE designers should create a very descriptive website or brochure that includes detailed descriptions and pricing information. Everything we produce, Wiersema demonstrates, should represent our business strategy and the type of services we offer.
Putting the Pieces Together
Analyze Markets and Clients
ASSESS: Your Skills Your Resources Your Goals
Analyze the Competition
Segment the Market
Differentiate Your Services
MARKETING MIX: Product Promotion Place Price
Create Your Service Offerings
Wiersema’s book will most benefit residential landscape designers who are involved with garden installations, or who aspire to be. It includes portfolio examples, design proposals, and installation budgets from Wiersema’s successful landscape business. APLD members can buy her book and receive illuminating Excel spreadsheets from real landscape projects by visiting thethrivingld.com. Chapter summaries and excerpts of the book can be found on her site as well.
Business Success Strategies ■ Know thyself. Who are you in the landscape universe? ■ Based on your skillset, define your typical customer. What services do they value and what services can you best supply in your chosen market?
■ Define your strategic focus: Operational Excellence (OE), Product Leadership (PL), or Customer Intimacy (CI).
■ Your core strategy influences and can limit what you can charge. Position, promote, price, and deliver your services based on your strategic focus, so your clients are delighted, provide great referrals, and compensate you fairly.
■ Your success depends on masons, plant suppliers and installers, carpenters, lighting, and irrigation specialists, etc. Develop and maintain these relationships as you cultivate your client relationships.
D E S I G N | P R O D U C T S | M AT E R I A L S | AVA I L A B I L I T Y
bookreview Let's Go Native!
GA R D E N I N G WIT H N AT IVE PL A N T S O F T HE UP P ER MIDWEST: B R I N G I N G T HE TAL LG RASS PRAIR IE HOM E BY J UDY N AUSE E F U NIVERSI TY OF IOW A P R ESS, 2 016
BY BENJAMIN VOGT
he tallgrass prairie is one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet—many would even agree it’s functionally extinct—and yet countless species that depend on it still roam our farm edges, cemeteries, roadsides, and even urban yards. What we are also lacking, however, are resources we can use to educate people on these disappearing plants. I’ve longed for a book I can recommend to clients that bridges the historical context of our northern Plains/Midwest region, and the importance of using native plants in designed landscapes. Judy Nauseef’s new book, Gardening with Native Plants of the Upper Midwest, helps to fill that knowledge gap. >>Get the book! Click here
Nauseef begins the book by describing the harsh climate realities of upper Midwest gardens, and
how many of our native plants can help gardeners succeed. She then explores the geologic and pioneer histories that shaped the landscape, glancing at modern writers and early explorers who both extol and denigrate what they see in the tallgrass prairies. What I found exciting was a mini lesson in garden design that focused on early 20th century landscape thinkers like Jens Jensen, Wilhelm Miller, and Robert Grese; this sets up the author’s argument that for over a century we’ve known about the ecological and ➸
The orange of Moerheim Beauty sneezeweed (Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’) and white of White Swan coneflower (Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’) bring this planting to life.
P H OTO C R E D IT: ADAM WO O D RU FF
aesthetic wonder of the tallgrass, yet continue to eschew it in our home landscapes. Why is that when there are so many plant and design options? If we carefully plan our spaces, we can have more longterm success and help wildlife.
She goes on to explore Well-planned contemporary work gardens will by Roy Diblik and Adam Woodruff, as mean fewer well as several others, false starts. showing their projects and plant pallets while highlighting a few combinations that are tried and true. Nauseef covers her own work as well, telling stories of challenges and successes with various clients that serve as encouragement for readers. She ends with strategies for planting and maintenance, saying, “Well-planned gardens will mean fewer false starts.”
The focus is on subtly wild, designed spaces that mix natives and exotics, made evident by a terrific section on urban and suburban prairies. This is where the book feels most at home, and I can’t help but wonder what other ways mini-meadows and prairies can be used in even smaller spaces—what specific seed mixes to use, or how plugs and seeding can work together to show a designed intent more palatable to neighbors and formal spaces, especially in front yards. Converting a front lawn into a prairie removes the maintenance of a lawn, saving time, money, and resources. This planting accentuates the architecture of the house far more successfully. P H OTO C RED IT: JACK P IZZO
This book is geared toward the novice to intermediate gardener, and as such I wish it had included tables listing the mentioned plants with horticultural information. I also ➸ apld.org
bookreview Naturalistic plantings of large swaths of perennials and grasses require a detailed planting plan. PHOTO BY R OY DI B LI K.
desired more research on the benefits of native plants for specific wildlife, which would help ground the argument for sustainable spaces that create linked habitat.
But for those wondering how to get started with thoughtfully designed, native plant landscapes, Nauseef’s book fills a wide gap in the underserved region of the Upper Midwest.
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Where Have All the TIPS
F R U
The value of mature trees is evident at this project in Newton, Massachusetts, where 20-feet-tall, Amelanchier trees were used to provide necessary scale to crisp new masonry features.
Good Plants Gone?
S T R AT I O N
S H O RTAG E S
Sourcing 56 matching Fothergilla for a hedge installation at our 2014 APLD Merit Award-winner, â€œBeech Ledge,â€? took months of strategic planning with the landscape contractor.
inthefield BY MATTHEW CUNNINGHAM, ASLA
ow many of you have encountered plant shortages or a near complete lack of availability of your favorites over the past few seasons? I’ve connected with suppliers and growers in the Northeast recently to understand why sourcing plant materials, from specimen quality pieces to trays of simple groundcovers, has become so difficult. No single answer has emerged. Those of us who are experienced and patient gardeners are willing to nurture our plants from seed, cutting, or division, but most homeowners are not open to waiting for a scrawny, leafless twig to turn into a magnificent and robust specimen. These clients rely on designers’ skills to create beautiful, functional, and durable Clients expect spaces within a short timespan. Starting with their properties to mature plants is often more practical, especially feel established after weighing the impacts of severe weather, —even when wildlife, and inadequate maintenance on the newly planted. long-term vitality of younger plants. Mature plants cost money and require significant commitments from a small army to actually source, install, and maintain, but let’s face it, after months, sometimes years, of construction, clients expect their properties to feel established—even when newly planted.
Let’s rewind to 2007 when the global economy collapsed. Consider what happened to the majority of horticultural suppliers throughout the United States during and after that tumultuous time. Banking and real estate empires crumbled, and the construction industry came to a screeching halt. As a result, nurseries of all sizes were left with massive stockpiles of excess plant material. There were few, if any, buyers, and minimal opportunities existed for small businesses to borrow money to sustain operations.
With little demand, growers made difficult and necessary decisions. Companies downsized, destroyed inventory to avoid carrying costs, or simply closed. Few businesses had resources strong enough to maintain healthy reserves. In many cases, the costs of employing skilled horticultural laborers—combined ➸ P H OTO G R A P H Y BY M ATTH EW CU NNINGH AM
10- to 18-feet-tall birches were used to re-vegetate a devastated woodland property in Southwest Harbor, Maine. “Le Petit Chalet” received a 2011 APLD Gold Award for how well the new landscape fits with its surrounding context.
with increasing fuel costs for transportation and greenhouse heating—left growers with no other choice. Trees and shrubs that had historically remained in nurseries for months, suddenly lingered in the same containers for years before arriving to their final homes. We all know what happens to a plant that becomes pot bound: severely encumbered root systems can be fatal.
Anyone with a job felt lucky during this period. Growers fortunate enough to stay afloat were regularly forced to employ untrained laborers rather than skilled horticulturists to maintain their stock. Proper pruning practices gave way to mechanical shearing, and many of the “specimen” plants we now see apld.org
inthefield arriving in nurseries are unrecognizable in comparison to their true and natural forms. Add record snowfalls, cataclysmic ice storms, and prolonged periods of heat and drought, and already reduced inventories further contracted. Problems with mislabeling cultivars have become painfully commonplace, and the ability to reject plants based on their quality has become more and more difficult. The ripples of plant health–related problems due to events that occurred during the Great Recession will probably be evident in nursery stock for decades.
The good news (yes, I promise there is some) is that the economy has finally rebounded, and the demand for quality plants is higher than ever. Residential real estate markets are heating up. Banks are lending. Businesses are expanding. And North America has seen steady job growth. Landscape designers and architects are uniquely positioned within the green industry, and if we play our cards right, we will solidify our place at any professional table.
Planting small but vigorous ornamental orchard trees, Prunus x yedoensis, Yoshino cherry, helped establish the non-irrigated managed meadow of “Beech Ledge.”
On one hand, we are technicians, artists, and craftspeople. On the other hand, we are savvy entrepreneurs and employers, who are very much at the mercy of a dynamic, sometimes volatile, supply-and-demand economy. The success of our work relies on ➸ apld.org
Convincing clients that using smaller plants can be a hard sell, but the vegetative palette for our 2013 APLD Merit Award-winner, “Valentine Park,” utilizes plants of all sizes to create a lush native plant garden.
an ability to merge the needs of our clients and collaborators with the context of a site’s ecology. It is our continued responsibility to educate our patrons, and we can’t forget that we are working with living things, with somewhat predetermined lifespans. The best way to protect homeowners’ investments is to be patient, guard valuable resources, and be realistic with selections and timelines. Designers and installers have to be resourceful, flexible, and complete their due diligence to verify the quantities, species, and health of the plants they specify. Contract growing has become more common, as has convincing clients to install smaller plants in their landscapes to ensure cost-effective solutions that are durable for the long term. Some of the best gardens that my firm has designed came with extreme site conditions, limited budgets, or both. The constraints allowed us to produce some of our most thoughtful work, but starting with healthy plants is a must.
inthefield Tips for Sourcing Plants ■ CONTRACT GROWING AND LARGE QUANTITIES Are you trying to source 10,000 groundcovers for a project, or looking for a large quantity of an obscure plant you rarely see in the trade? Don’t be afraid to reach out to your favorite grower— large or small—to coordinate growing or propagating what you need. Most landscape construction companies contract grow on a regular basis—just make sure you have the terms of your contract (numbers, quality, what happens in the event of weather problems) clear and in writing before moving forward.
■ LARGE SPECIMENS
Starting with healthy plants is a must.
Need a large specimen to anchor a new house, or to provide quick shade? Largescale wholesalers to smaller, boutiquetype nurseries carry large, b+b specimen plants, but the key to success is to source, secure, and install them as quickly as you can. Most nurseries are generally okay with holding something for a couple of months or more, but this can become tricky if you need to have them hold on to something from one season to the next. Be clear about timing with your installer from the start of a project so that you can coordinate planting as efficiently as possible.
■ BAREROOT AND PLUGS We’ve had particular problems sourcing native groundcovers such as fern and carex late in the season. If you’re worried that you can’t start off with larger, robust, healthy plants, don’t be afraid to start off with bareroot materials or small plugs from trays. You may want to add 10 percent to your quantities if you use smaller plants so that you can cover your areas per plan.
outbackwithAPLD LIFE ON TRANQUIL STREET MARGIE GRACE, APLD SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA
Flagstone patio for hanging out. PH OTO C R E D IT: H O LLY LEP E RE
live in a modest and much-loved 1940s cottage on a little lane called Paseo Tranquillo—Tranquil Street—in bonny Santa Barbara. Every inch of the quarter-acre lot is pressed into service. Here you’ll find multiple sitting areas (where we do much of our living), a tiny guest cottage (to lure far-flung family and friends), a staging area for our landscape design-build firm (stuff for projects is always coming and going), running space for our three cocker spaniels (where their fancy coats won’t collect dirt and debris), food production (blended in with the ornamentals), constantly evolving planting combinations, and—always—a botanical experiment or two, always in flux.
The whole space has been done over three times in the 26 years I’ve lived here. The first go-round was mostly lawn—plus sand box, tree house, and veggie garden. I had two preschoolers at the time.
By 2000, it was time for a garden (versus a play yard). So, lawn out; large patio in (plus super cottage-y borders). The front yard instantly became the pre-
PHOTOGR A PHY BY HOLLY LEP ERE
outbackwithAPLD An assortment of garden produce assembled for our neighborhood garden exchange in my front yard (far left). We swap extra fruit, veggies, eggs, jam, flowers, cuttings—whatever we’re growing. Recipes, seeds, and garden know-how are shared as well. My son and friend – all veggie-d up (inset).
ferred hang-out spot for entertaining, chatting with passers-by, or watching the kids bike/ skateboard/play ball on the street.
The next shake-up came in 2008. A new guest house displaced the veggie garden, so vegetable production moved to the front yard. A “blended garden” was born with large pots for veggies, fruit trees, and other edibles woven into the beds, curb strip, and side of the driveway. The flagstone patio remained, with a little more screening from the street, as the kids, now in high school, were past the playing-on-thestreet stage.
It’s been all about integrated food production ever since. We love to hang out in the front yard, enjoying fresh fruit at our fingertips, sharing fresh-from-the-garden meals with our favorite people, gathering with neighbors for our monthly garden exchange.
Given the prolonged statewide drought, I plan to re-make the front garden again this year. It will be uber-low-water demand. I’ll keep a few veggie pots (the kids are launched, so fewer are needed). I’ll do some mounding and bring in some happy color too. But that patio Shallow water stays—it’s the gatherbowls draw criting place, the heart and ters and reflect soul, the raison d’être the surrounding plantings. for the garden.
BENJAMIN VOGT LINCOLN, NEBRASKA
y garden is a trial garden that sometimes gets lucky. When we moved here in 2007 we were the street’s fourth house, complete with topsoil-stripped, compacted clay that flooded and cracked in the same week. Back then I didn’t know I was going to become a designer and garden writer. I plunked in what the plant tags said would work without much thought to plant or wildlife communities. After a few years I began earnestly researching plants, learning about their ecosystem services, and identifying candidates in nearby prairies. What my uninformed, haphazard, early gardening taught me was to enjoy the unexpected – plants that failed for whatever reason, and plants that moved or diminished one year only to pop back even bigger the next. I left the garden up for winter because I was lazy, not for interest or hibernating pollinators in stems. I let plants duke it out – still do – and as they compete weeds vanish and water infiltrates soil.
The main 1,500-square-foot garden has turned into 4,500 square feet in the last two years. Out front we tore up 600 square feet of lawn—almost the entire yard—and I came up with a neighbor-pleasing plan featuring 100 percent prairie plants. This fall I scalped the back lawn—about 2,000 square feet—exposed as much soil as I could, and sowed a pound or two of seed while planting 70 divisions and plugs grown from my garden.
Who knows what will happen. While clients come to visit and pick plants they like, I simply think of my landscape as a massive trial bed masquerading as something wildly intentional. But the garden isn’t just for me; it’s for every pollinator and bird. The idea that what we do with nature’s echo empowers us to make a difference. Gardens should be revolutions that wake us to our world.
Vogt's garden in summer. PHOTO CR EDI T: B EN JA MI N VOGT
outbackwithAPLD MY NEBRASKA EXPERIMENT
FOUR-SEASON PAT I O L I V I N G ROBERTA BRAEGELMANN, APLD
garden in what I think of as a typical lot for my Central Tucson neighborhood—not large, probably 140 feet by 65 feet. The house was born in 1947 and I’ve lived here for 26 years. It is the only house I’ve ever owned. And everything about it says, “me.” As I looked at it recently through the eye of a camera, I’ve gained a better appreciation of what I’ve created. It really is a comfortable, fun, soothing backyard that I love.
When I moved in I wasn’t a designer, but straight away the first thing I had to do was take out two palm trees. There is a small area in Tucson where palm trees belong and are native, but in my back yard? No. There was a little bit of grass, and while it was fun for a while as a new homeowner, it isn’t my style. I grew up in Phoenix— I’m a desert rat from way back—and I just can’t rationalize the water needed for grass. Now the backyard is a mix of patios inter-planted with low-water perennials, aloes that can take the hot sun, and wildflowers that sprout from seeds dropped as I drag clippings around the yard. My husband and I joke that there’s a patio for every season and time of the day at our house. The north patio is better in the early morning before the summer sun can start heating you up. The barbecue patio, also the “dining room,” is open to the sky and stars.
We consider the back covered patio the biggest room of the house with two separate seating areas, one anchored by my grandfather’s toolbox as a coffee table. In the winter, we warm up the space with a tall-stemmed propane heater. In the summer, I lower shades over the west-facing salvaged window frames to keep the afternoon 58
We expanded the barbecue patio and created additional seating by turning the low wall into a bench (above). Two separate seating areas allow for intimate gatherings or larger festivities. The plant palette includes seasonal annuals and hardy, low-water perennials, including several species of aloe.
sun out. When the television is on inside, I’m usually outside. It has sort of been a joke, but it’s a true joke, that my favorite thing to do is sit on any porch and watch the plants grow. In the front yard, which is filled with agaves and cactus, that’s a particularly slow process. A key feature of the yard is a galvanized corrugated fence that we built after repairing a wooden fence for a second time. This fence will be here long after I’m gone, as will the rusted steel posts, a wonderful contrast with the galvanized panels. I designed the patio roof to match and shortly thereafter added the galvanized stock tank planters. I freshen those up with seasonal color. The rest of the yard is lower maintenance. In the mornings I do what I like to call my “sip and snip” rounds with coffee in one hand and clippers in the other. I can’t get too involved. Don’t want to spill my coffee.
P H OTO GRA PHY BY R OB ERTA B R A EGELMA N N
B A C K Y A R D H AV E N O F
outbackwithAPLD W. GARY SMITH, APLD TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA
e live in Toronto’s “Little Italy,” a big neighborhood of small row houses, each typically with little gardens in both front and back. Our back garden is a 24 × 24-foot square that connects the kitchen to my studio. One of my favorite things in life is to sit out there in the middle of the day, with the cats and a cup of coffee, thinking “nobody knows I’m here.” It’s not an integrated design or horticultural showplace, but more of a simple framework where I can arrange and rearrange potted plants and sculptural bits and pieces. Some of the pieces can be challenging for visitors to enjoy: a Buddha statue I picked up in a junk shop in Austin is missing an arm, and disembodied baby doll heads show up in little niches here and there. I play around a lot with bundles of sticks and grasses, or broken tools, or stones that have followed me to Toronto from homes in Pennsylvania and Texas. I’m always moving things around to test different juxtapositions, and when I do I try to keep my thinking self at bay, so serendipity will have a chance to show me things I might not have thought of on my own. My work frequently takes me away from home, and I spend too much time on airplanes and in airports. But when I’m in Toronto I’m often hanging out in our garden. It’s an intimate place of personal narrative, and I’m grateful for the solitude and renewal that I find there.
The Cotinus seeds fly around and sprout everywhere, but the weeding is worth it for the fabulous fall display.
PHOTOGR A PHY BY W. GA RY SMI TH
L A N D S C A P E
With a new planting of wooly thyme, this three-year-old photo of the award-winning pebble mosaic shows how it is nestled into the mid-garden. Itâ€™s a startling contrast to the lawn that used to be there. 62
D E S I G N E R
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casestudy BY VANESSA GARDNER NAGEL, APLD, NCIDQ
hen we first moved to our one-acre property over 25 years ago, our initial goal was to renovate the house. For the first couple of years nothing significant happened in the garden until we had to remove about eight of our 100-foot Douglas fir trees due to laminated root rot. After felling, then cutting and removing the trees, we were suddenly off and running in the yard. I had just begun to space plan the garden when our second greatest challenge—and subsequent opportunity—occurred. The old oil tank for our heating system had apparently been leaking long before we bought the house, which we discovered only after our neighbor found an oil slick on his duck pond. The insurance company sent earth-moving equipment to fix the problem just as the winter rains arrived.
As they dug the tank, they broke a window well to our basement. That night and over the next 24 hours, the Portland/Vancouver region received a record-setting rainfall of 3” in less than 24 hours. We awoke the next morning to a flooded basement. The insurance company woke up to me screeching on the phone. The eventual result of this event was a large mound of extra soil adjacent to our parking area. We decided to keep the 15 x 20 x 4-foot-high soil ➸
Looking from the miniature version of a Lutyenâ€™s bench across the back garden in the direction of the crop circle. The bench sits beneath an arbor on axis with the front door, bridge, crop circle, and two arborvitae.
ALL PHOTO G R A P H Y BY VA NE SSA GARD NER NAGEL E XCEPT WHER E N OTED
mound and use it as a visual barrier between the garden and the parking area, creating a rock garden (elevating tiny plants to a height where we can see them) on the parking side and a garden with grasses and perennials on the other side.
In addition to new gardens, we also gained a new patio during the upheaval. To dig to the basement floor level outside the foundation and install a new drain system would have been incredibly expensive. This should have been there when the house was built, but it wasn’t. Pouring concrete right up to the house foundation at the appropriate angle for drainage has allowed the water to drain away from the house. That was about 19 years ago. A lot of lemons made considerAs part of the able lemonade. It’s served us patio entertaining well. area, a low deck was installed to increase
Several years later, my employthe amount of seater sent me to Tianjin, China ing. The large Forest (about 2 hours southwest of Pansy redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Beijing) for two extended periPansy’) drapes over ods. I worked with a feng shui the area to create a consultant periodically as part shady escape from of the project. This exposure to the heat of the day in Chinese culture not only affectsummer. ed me, it affected my garden in several ways. Once home, I created a simple meditation garden with a Chinese garden seat at the center of a large circle in a wooded corner of our property.
For a few years, all was quiet on our eastern front. Then a developer clear-cut the entire 13-acre forest on that side of our property line. Six years later our southern neighbor removed the 10-foot-tall arborvitae hedge along the lot line and built a 6-foot-tall fence. The additional sun stressed our mature Douglas firs, particularly during the summer. We decided one bit of dying turf (due to waterguzzling fir roots), needed to go. In its place we developed a 2-foot pebble mosaic ring 12 feet in diameter that would be a signature installation for the garden as well as allow apld.org
PHOTO CR EDI T: JA N ET LOUG HREY
my husband to get the lawnmower to the remaining lawn (which was important for him to keep at the time). As part of this process, we developed a garden theme: peace through culture. It was important through our permanent, site-specific art to show what two or more cultures have in common.
One year after the pebble mosaic was installed, all of the new thymes have filled in.
I designed a coiling dragon eating its tail (an ouroboros) as the pattern for the pebble mosaic. An ouroboros can be a snake or dragon in many cultures around the world. It is a symbol of the circle, or continuity, of time. Jeffrey Bale, pebble mosaic artist extraordinaire, installed the âž¸ apld.org
The large concrete patio affords us plenty of space for dining al fresco, which we do as much as possible all summer. Surrounded by the garden and the house, it is quite private. PHOTO CR EDI T: JA N ET LOUGHR EY
A mid-summer view of the young crop circle from the bridge. The crop circle is centered on an axis with the front door, the bridge, the two arborvitae, and the arbor out back. The boxwood hedge has since grown together.
mosaic and then we planted thyme at its center.
While some of our renovations have been planned, we continue to respond to “opportunities” created by infrastructure and landscape changes beyond our control. When the pond that my husband had created near the house years ago suffered from raccoons clawing holes into the sides of the liner at about the same time as the imminent demise of the large, expensive pump, we threw up our hands and said, “Fate! Time to create something new.” We found homes for our koi, disappointing the neighborhood blue heron, and removed the pond. We filled in the 3,000-gallon hole, built gabion seat walls (reusing the stone from the deconstructed pond inside the gabions) and created a fire pit area, complete with new, circular, colored concrete fire pit. (I do have a “thing” with circles in our garden.)
The presence of a lawn came to a head next. I had been subtly removing inches for years before I finally confronted my husband with the fact that he didn’t have time to care for it. I convinced him that a series of circles, two of them including ornamental grass, would be much nicer, easier to maintain, and still give the visual relief of an expanse of green. The largest circle became our “crop circle.” Inspired by one of the patterns I found online of brazen aliens carving up British fields, I proceeded to create a display to show that kitchen gardens can be beautiful, even in a front garden. I confess I was also inspired by Château Val Joanis, a garden I visited in Provence. These days I am changing planting schemes for a simpler plant palette, working with mass planting and ground matrices, as I consider the future and the impact of aging in place. I’m also contemplating the design of this year’s addition: a new gaming area. Now, will it be pétanque or horseshoes?
Ground Matrices After seeing presentations in Portland by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West, authors of Planting in a Post-Wild World, I began to pay closer attention to natureâ€™s layered approach to planting. That intermingled approach becomes a matrix of plants that can co-exist. For example, I discovered we have an naturally occurring ground matrix of ajuga, sweet woodruff, and native violets in our garden. They are persistent groundcovers that I will never eliminate. So Iâ€™ve decided to let them cover more ground. My often-sore, weed-pulling arms say it is also effective organic weed prevention.
POINTERS FOR THE
Keeping the patio flat allows family members of all ages to enjoy the space. Leaving at least 4 feet of open space around a dining area helps avoid traffic congestion. apld.org
BY JOSHUA GILLOW
hen a client calls your office and says that they want the perfect patio space, chances are they have so many ideas and want to incorporate so many elements that they send your creative mind into a tailspin. People know what features they want in a backyard and how they want to feel in that backyard, but more often than not, they lack the design vision to make their ideas a cohesive reality. It’s your job, as a problem-solving landscape professional, to lead your client down the right path for them. Here’s how to do it.
Design in 3D
Make it easy for your clients to see what you’re proposing. One of the most beneficial things I have done in my business has been to learn to put the pencils away and use 3D design software. Designs on paper leave too much guesswork for the clients; not everyone has the same level of imagination to be able to visualize the end result, even when the groundwork is right in front of them. While two-dimensional plans are a beautiful art form in themselves, presenting your designs in 3D is a bigger benefit to your client than you might think.
DESI GN A N D PHOTOGR A PHS BY J OSHUA GI LLOW
With 3D designs you have the ability to take your 3D designs greatly client, by the drag of a mouse, through your combenefit your clients so plete vision for the project. You can lead them they can see exactly how their space will through the design, showing every angle of every look, down to specific feature they have been dreaming of. A 3D design materials, before any allows your comprehensive plan to come to life. ground is broken. Need revisions during a meeting? No problem. What would take possibly hours to revise on vellum back at the office now can be done on your laptop in minutes, while youâ€™re sitting alongside your clients. You will find that using this great tool makes the project easier for your clients to hop on board, saving time and money.
Think Open and Multi-Purpose
Listen to your clients and be mindful of how they want their patio space to function. An open-concept feel is often sought out when purchasing a home, so I like to build upon this in my patio designs. An outdoor living space should feel like an extension of the inside of the home. An effortless inside-to-outside progression is the perfect way to feel that you have more space than what you might actually have.
Design the deck or patio as close to first-floor level as possible to create an easy transition, without steps, from indoors to outdoors. This appeals to most families with small children or those who might need ambulatory assistance. It also helps with the resale value of the home, because aging buyers will view this as an asset. Keeping the patio space flat will also give you the most use of the total 76
design101 The multi-purpose, out-the-door deck extension provides a seamless transition from inside to outside. It was designed as an open concept to allow for dining, entertaining, and lounging—a true extension of the home.
square footage of the space. While staircases and elevation changes provide visual interest, I see this as an avoidable increase in project cost and wasted space if the client is on a specified budget. The open-concept idea also leads to the creation of a multi-purpose space. I have found that designing deck and patio spaces at a minimum of 12 × 12 feet allows for more functional, flexible, and practical use; anything smaller than this will end up choking your design into designated rooms. This size gives you ample room to incorporate several client wishlist items such as a grill/kitchen area, furniture, intimate dining area, and so forth.
If you know that your client wants to use a portion of this space for dining, leave at least 4 feet surrounding the area where the dining room table will be stationed. This will allow room for the family to sit and dine, while leaving space for mom and dad to walk around without bumping into anything. The 4-foot rule actually applies to all areas that will have traffic flow. I like to incorporate 4-foot-wide transportation paths for foot traffic to guarantee everyone’s personal space remains intact. To make sure this open patio/deck concept is spec’d and built correctly, I strongly suggest bringing in a structural engineer. ➸ apld.org
Work with a Structural Engineer Most designers have boundless creative talent, but may lack technical building knowledge. Partnering with a structural engineer will expand your design capacity significantly. The phrase “less is more” in the building of a patio space is not cliché; it is a golden rule that your engineer can turn into a reality. For example, a structural engineer will know that incorporating engineered wooden or steel beams into the patio roof structures will minimize the number of support posts needed. Too many support posts can end up obstructing your client’s sight lines and ultimately making the space seem smaller than it actually is. By maximizing rafter span, your patio space will now have a much welcomed open-air feel. In order to do this safely, unless you have formal structural engineering training, you need to get outside help. 78
I know what you are thinking, “That sounds great. How do I find a structural engineer?” There are a few ways you can find the perfect partner. For starters, you
This open patio offers ample room to fit all of the client’s wish-list items without splitting the space into designated rooms. Blending the patio into the yard gives the illusion of a larger hardscaped space.
can join your local builders association. This associa▲ A structural tion will be chock-full of like-minded professionals and engineer was brought in to make tradesmen, making it a helpful network to be a part of. sure the deck area While you are searching for an engineer to work with was strong enough you, chances are there will be other members of the to support the top association looking for the services that you offer. If floor’s total weight. the association doesn’t have any structural engineers as members, by getting to know the others in the organization, through word of mouth, you will run into someone who can help. Another way to find the perfect partner is to turn to Google. Find the contact information for several structural engineers in your area, narrow down your list to three potential local leads, and conduct interviews. Phone or face-to-face interviews are important because not only do you need to make sure that the individual can handle the job, you need to find out whether they will be conscientious about budgets and deadlines and conduct themselves profession- ➸
design101 ally on the job site. Once you find an engineer you can work well with, you can rest assured that together, your vision will follow the path of safety and code compliance while on its journey from concept to completion.
Speaking as a business owner and designer, my best advice is to not be afraid of what you don’t know yet. If you are ever uncertain of an aspect of your design work or wonder how to bring big plans to fruition, seek a partnership with those who already know; you can only grow by learning.
WHEN AND WHY TO HIRE A STRUCTURAL ENGINEER
■ FOOTINGS Hire a structural engineer as soon as you require a structural masonry element like a retaining wall, seating wall, fireplace, and so forth.
■ ATTACHMENTS Hire a structural engineer any time you are connecting an outdoor element like a deck or a roof system to a home.
■ LIABILITY When projects become more complicated, hire a structural engineer to aid in the project’s calculations.
■ REASSURANCE Having that second set of eyes to know the project is designed and constructed correctly will give you peace of mind.
KEY FEATURES TO LOOK FOR IN 3D DESIGN SOFTWARE ■ EASE OF USE The software should allow you to toggle between 2D and 3D easily.
■ EASE OF CALCULATION The software should be able to calculate square footages and inventories in order to make bidding project takeoffs much easier.
■ REVISIONS The program you choose should make revisions simply and transfer the changes to the construction drawings already created.
■ AESTHETICS The 3D software should allow your designs to look realistic and allow for moving features like water and fire. This makes the experience for the client much more personable and desirable.
■ CLIENT EXPERIENCE The software should be able to import materials and specific items like furniture and decor to allow you to fully customize the client’s experience.
夀伀唀刀 一䔀圀 匀伀唀刀䌀䔀 䘀伀刀 倀䰀䄀匀吀䤀䌀 䰀唀䴀䈀䔀刀⸀
匀甀猀琀愀椀渀愀戀氀攀Ⰰ 愀氀氀 爀攀挀礀挀氀攀搀 瀀氀愀猀琀椀挀Ⰰ 椀渀攀砀瀀攀渀猀椀瘀攀 愀渀搀 氀漀眀 洀愀椀渀琀攀渀愀渀挀攀⸀ ⴀ㠀㐀㐀ⴀ㈀ ⴀ䈀䔀匀吀 簀 眀眀眀⸀戀攀猀琀瀀氀⸀甀猀 apld.org
This page: Family graveyard at Powerscourt Estate, Wicklow, Ireland Opposite page: Formal borders, Lismore Castle, Waterford, Ireland
travelinspiration THE EMERALD ISLE
Ireland BY LAUREL VON GERICHTEN, APLD
onsidering a tour with APLD designers to Dublin and the southeast coast of Ireland, I wondered what I, a follower of naturalistic design with native plants, could learn from what I expected to see: floriferous abundance laid out in the formal English tradition. Not really a traveler, not knowing well my tour companions, and not expecting to be particularly influenced in my design practice, I do not know why I decided to go other than the rave reviews of similar tours to France and Italy. Ultimately, it occurred to me that I could go on this trip with the goal only to enjoy it. While traveling and touring gardens I appreciated seeing the continuity across years and generations in the same space. There was the standing stone in Jimi Blakeâ€™s meadow, wildflowers at Lismore Castle where the crenelated towers were always present, the bygone benefactors of Powerscourt lying quietly away from the hordes of tourists, and an abbey in Killarney where flowers pushed themselves up from among the ruins. Life moving on.
I realized that rain clouds, seen across wide-open vales or glimmering shores, gave the plants the moisture they needed to grow with an abundance that is not possible during the hot summers of the Northeast coast where I live. The synergy of the coolness and moisture in the air, constantly changing skies (from sun to rain and back again), and the fragrance of sun-warmed perennials was a uniquely Irish experience.
The sheer luxuriance of the plantings created a landscape against which my own efforts paled. Indeed, when I returned to my own backyard I saw it with an unkind eye. I was motivated to change things where I could, albeit in a locale without natural stone, with temperature extremes, and heavy shade. I realized that for my clientsâ€™ properties, I would need to specify more density and layering of plantings. I also came away from this trip with a new appreciation of formal structure, especially of straight lines. âž¸ apld.org
Lily pond and River Lee in distance, Lakemount Garden, Cork, Ireland
The plantings created a landscape against which my own efforts paled.
A L L P H OTO G R A P H S BY LAU REL VO N GERICH TE N
This page: Rathmichael Lodge, a romantic cottage garden in County Dublin, Ireland. Opposite page: Wildflowers at Lismore Castle, Waterford, Ireland
It wasn’t just the visual treats of the gardens, but also the hospitality and sharing – of the gardeners themselves, whether they were employees of public spaces or homeowners creating loveliness on their own properties, that touched me. The involvement of these gardeners showed extreme care and dedication.
At Jimi Blake’s Hunting Brook Gardens I was impressed by the reflecting pool in June Blake’s garden. June is Jimi’s sister, who lives nearby; both appreciate tumbling, colorful mixtures of perennials. June likes straight lines and uses them apld.org
Flowers push themselves up among the ruins.
to lay out the paths and beds in relation to the house, and to bring a controlled horizontal-stepping order to the hillside where the beds are terraced with stone walls.
Another gardener with a talent for composition is Brian Cross, whose Lakemount Garden revealed many focal points as we strolled the grounds. He and his wife, Rose, accompanied us to several destinations, and I enjoyed their bright personalities. Brian is a painter who can create beautiful arrangements of âž¸
travelinspiration Reflecting pool, June Blake’s garden
I came away with a new appreciation of formal structure, especially straight lines.
plants in the landscape, with a scale that feels comfortable for meandering and discovery.
Certainly scale is a concern in any garden. Even where there was little room, in the case of the Chester Beatty Garden, and in Coosheen, the garden of Hester Ford, the open expanse of lawn in each garden provided space needed to create breathing room amid the borders of densely planted flowers, shrubs, vines, and small trees. The celebrated garden of Helen Dillon held many surprises. Helen gave up the lawn in favor of a rectangular reflecting pool, which provides the central axis. She coddles her plants with special soil and fertilizer, and produces spectacular flowers. I don’t think I’ll ever intensely cultivate perennial beds such as I witnessed in Ireland. Yet I do admire the results of these Irish gardeners who so clearly love what they do. My own approach is to work with a site and choose plants that can tolerate the conditions and thrive there. However, I move forward in my design practice, informed by what I saw of structure, scale, and complex composition. These ideas have inspired me in spite of my expectation that I would not find examples relevant to my design practice on the trip.
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2016 board of directors PRESIDENT Lisa Port, APLD Banyon Tree Design Studio 3630 Northeast 123rd Street Seattle, WA 98125 (206) 383-5572 PRESIDENT-ELECT Danilo Maffei, APLD 202 N. Garfield Street Kennett Square, PA 19348 (610) 357-9700 SECRETARY/TREASURER Jock Lewendon, APLD Outdoor Living Spaces, LLC 766 Schoolhouse Lane Bound Brook, NJ 08805 (732) 302-9632 IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Colleen Hamilton, APLD Bloomin' Landscape Designs 7122 Willey Way Carmichael, CA 95608 (916) 961-0191 ADVOCACY DIRECTOR Richard Rosiello Rosiello Designs & Meadowbrook Gardens 159 Grove Street New Milford, CT 06776 (860) 488-6507 CERTIFICATION DIRECTOR Maryanne Quincy, APLD Q Gardens PO Box 2746 Sunnyvale, CA 94087 (408) 739-5493
COMMUNICATIONS & OUTREACH DIRECTOR Nick McCullough, APLD McCullough’s Landscape & Nursery 14401 Jug Street New Albany, OH 43054 EDUCATION DIRECTOR Ellen Johnston, APLD ETJ Designs 5543 Wateka Drive Dallas, TX 75209 (469) 628-3321 GOVERNANCE DIRECTOR Eric Gilbey 7150 Riverwood Drive Columbia, MD 21046 (443) 542-0658
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