Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts

Monday, May 2, 2016

Overdose A Theme

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers.” Cecil Beaton.
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Younger, perhaps prior to age 6, I would have agreed with Cecil Beaton.  Everything he says about yourself, is for yourself.  Zero thoughts 'against the play-it-safers.'  They shouldn't enter your realm, they matter why?  Who has time?  Isn't the battle between lizard brain & heart enough?
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Because I didn't like garden design rules, at the front end, I've created quite a few.  After intense study, in historic gardens across the globe, in addition to books/magazines/tv/movies/degree in horticulture.
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What a knocker, below.  Broken, it's still marvelous.
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Garden Design Rule: Overdose on a Theme.
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Thrilling rule, you choose the theme.  Following it through, to the max, from macro to micro.  Seems obvious, and simple, but, trust me, you'll scare yourself at times.  Many nights, in bed, thinking, "Should I really do ______ , .........."
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Wise advice I was given after sharing some night thoughts with a friend, "Never make a decision after sunset & before sunrise."  Quite liberating to be released from those chattering monkeys of the dark.

DOOR KNOCKER: Barcelona - Entença 002 h; Cases dels Cargols. Architect: Carles Bosch i Negre:

Pic, above, here.

Garden & Be Well,  XO T
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In college for my engineering degree, test days in the classroom were hot.  Literally.  Summer/winter, both, hot.  Will never forget walking out of a thermodynamics exam, and the professor remarking how many more BTU's a working brain puts out than brains at rest.  Hence, the hot rooms.
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I'd rather put my brain BTU's to good use, not waste a single precious unit proscribed to me during my short time upon this Earth.  Give a unit toward the play-it-safers?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Color. Color ? Color !

Remember, designing your landscape, I must know you from the street.
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Parse the words.  To know you from the street, you must design your garden from interior views, and the same brain waves of style, color, flow, texture, individuality from inside to outside.
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A trinity of pics, below, you should all be able to shoot, of your home.  This trinity, below, is a Garden Design, of the ages, quiz question.  
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Today, now, your home/garden, mentally shoot these 3 pics.  Can you produce?
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Every garden needs a color trinity, green-brown-white, is the classic for centuries.  No worries if it's not your flavor, choose your own color trinity.  Produce these 3 pics.  Quiz question remains the same.  Shoot & produce.
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Color.  Color?  Color!  Which will it be?  This is your singular precious life.  Stretch your intelligence, comfort zone, think without your wallet.  Perhaps you need my personal question, epiphanized after too many decades people pleasing, "What would I do tomorrow if I were not afraid?"  When it comes to doing your garden, your best garden, I'm not the person you want to start a sentence, "I can't do that."  Those are 4 failure words.  Best 4 words I was ever told, "Be who you are."
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Studying historic gardens across Europe for 2 decades, this lesson about color, above, and within the pics, below, was intuitively learned.  This stuff, above/below, is not in garden design books.  It's merely in the best historic gardens across history.  Want to recreate the wheel?  Knock yourself out.  Everyone loves the outliers who do, with success.
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Since the start of designing gardens, color was easy to choose, I pull from interiors, what will work with the exteriors.
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Furlow Gatewood's home/garden is over the top with the color trinity.  He makes me see it fresh, as if he invented it.  Better, he owns it.
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Cuthbert House, on Furlow Gatewood's Compound, in Americus, Georgia, Photo by Max Kim-Bee~❥:

Pic, above, here.

rod-collins-furlow-gatewood:

Pic, above, here.
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Fern, viewed from the garden, pulls me in.  Then the brilliant audacity of double axis to the mirror with the fern.  Swoon.

 One Man's Folly: The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood: Julia Reed, Paul Costello, Rodney Collins, Bunny Williams: 9780847842520: Amazon...:

Pic, above, here.
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Nothing more to be said about your color trinity excepting, shoot it.  Picture worth 1,000 words.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Exterior Trim: Navajo White

I'm working at a project, craftsman bungalo, with good timing, exterior  paint was showing its last gasps.  Much better than paint with fresh new confidence, and the color is wrong.
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They like the soft blue lapboard siding, it will be used again.  Their white trim was so bright it owned the neighborhood.
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Of course they wanted white trim again.  Thankfully, they agreed, the existing white trim-columns-rails-step risers, much too white.
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Which white to choose?
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Navajo White, Benjamin Moore, below.
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Calm, receding, means business but doesn't shout new kid on the block.
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If Navajo White can 'sit back' with this much coverage, below, my client is safe, their Navajo White will let their home/garden speak, not the trim.

The brick is painted  Benjamin Moore Navajo White (as is the limestone), and the dark trim is a custom color, starting with a base of BM 161...:

Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Major careers for this couple, 2 small children,  she loves to cook, and hired me because she wants the focus of her entire landscape, it's not large, to be potager, chicken coop, pollinators.  They're doing painting/repairs & tree work this spring, landscape this fall.  She had all the right cookbooks, several shelves, in her kitchen.  Quirky, but that's a realm of assessment, kitchens.  And, you know I don't mean the make/model of equipment.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Formal into the Wild Wood

"And, I don't want anything formal."
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Gets me every time.  In the early years I would explain how 'formal' is your friend.  Now, I just let it rip, playing with formal elements, don't mention the word, and enjoy, "I love this."
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Because I know what is most important in life, I checked Pinterest late last nite, hoping something new popped up for Furlow Gatewood.  This pic, below, may not be new but I had never seen his allee of mophead hydrangea from this angle.
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Gatewood's allee has sailed a fleet of ships since its debut in Veranda in July of 2013.
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Adore how he smashed formal into wild wood.
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His wild wood of canopy-understory-walls-floors, a total home run.
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Another home run?  No dinky-is-stinky here.
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Further south than my garden, I look at Gatewood's hydrangea, nostrils flared, right eyebrow cocked/loaded, in a momentary whiff of envy.  No near decade of leisurely late freezes, in March/April, taking out hydrangea buds.
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No, there is not next year to get this decadence, below, back.  It is several good 'next years' in a row, to get the decadence back.
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Before you think this is a problem to maintain, notice front/left, a clearly exposed drip irrigation tube.
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Unpaved driveway lined with potted blue hydrangeas - Furlow Gatewood's home in Americus, Georgia:

Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Another 1st Rule of Garden Design

Design your garden, 1st, from inside your home.  Design your garden, 1st, for the depths of winter.
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If your garden is gorgeous in winter, it is gorgeous all year.
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The Garden In Winter, by Rosemary Verey is perhaps the best Garden Design book.

TARA DILLARD: THE QUEEN'S POT:

Pic, above, from my previous garden.  30 years, creating a cottage garden.  Moved no plants/field stone/bricks when I left last May, only brought focal points & potted plantings & 7 large quartz stones.  Weeks later, seeing the pile of cottage garden 'stuff' at our ca. 1900 American farmhouse I knew it was inappropriate.  Beloved had his large work truck and 5 of his men on site, I let them gather 2 truckloads for the thrift store.  I stood and pointed and watched the bits/pieces making up a garden seen on TV, in magazines/books, tours, drift away.  Bits/pieces that made up my life.  Nothing to be done but take swift action.  Impossible to live a new life chapter, dragging past chapters.
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The view, above, is now all lawn.
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Christopher Lloyd said, The garden dies when the gardener dies.    
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Because money was nonexistent during early decades at my cottage garden I volunteered at garden symposiums, to get inside free.  Wildly, it was Providence placing me where I should be.  How else to have had lunch & traipse gardens with Christopher Lloyd when he came to lecture, how else to have had lunch & traipse gardens with Rosemary Verey when she came to lecture?
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Use the Wonk Factor


Charming.  No element appears new-construction.  Yet much must be either repaired or new.  What a lot of WONK !  As in, this-is-perfect.  Each layer a feast of intellectual intent.  A home & garden with narrative.
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Of course they used ogee curves for the illusion of greater height to the front porch.  Of course they chose a historic lattice, creating a sense of greater space, single shutters down, double shutters up.  Oh my, the front door panels lending greater height, and interest, versus using a ubiquitous 6 panel door.  Color makes the house larger too.  All white, this house would shrink.  Scale & flow maximized, inviting you in.  Photographer capturing fleeting shadows, a story line.

Benjamin Moore Exterior iron mountain color | Benjamin Moore- Iron Mountain and China White | Exterior Paint:

Pic, above, Southern Living.
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There is WONK here.  Every garden & home needs some WONK.
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WONK takes your heart & head.  Often WONK arrives unbidden.  "Oh no, we're keeping that, it's WONKY."  I delight in keeping the WONK factor, it makes a better design.
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WONK is official, it's in the dictionary, here.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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From the 50's, as building to code has become ever more tiresome to the eye, a little WONK gives outrageously good results.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Red Queen's Latticework

Most gardens, I get it, are foundation plantings, lawn, a few trees, installed by the builder, recently or decades ago, because the Certificate of Occupancy demanded a specific amount of lawn, bushes, trees.
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What I don't get is keeping those certificate-of-occupancy-landscapes.  It is madness, their pruning, mowing, fertilizing (toxic to soil/water/you or you can make a bomb), weed/bug killers (toxic to them & you).  It's the full Monty, RED QUEEN EFFECT.
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Literally.  "Alice never could quite make out, in thinking it over afterwards, how it was that they began: all she remembers is, that they were running hand in hand, and the Queen went so fast that it was all she could do to keep up with her: and still the Queen kept crying ‘Faster! Faster!’ but Alice felt she could not go faster, though she had not breath left to say so.
The most curious part of the thing was, that the trees and the other things round them never changed their places at all: however fast they went, they never seemed to pass anything. ‘I wonder if all the things move along with us?’ thought poor puzzled Alice. And the Queen seemed to guess her thoughts, for she cried, ‘Faster! Don’t try to talk!’ 
Alice looked round her in great surprise. ‘Why, I do believe we’ve been under this tree the whole time! Everything’s just as it was!’
‘Of course it is,’ said the Queen, ‘what would you have it?’
‘Well, in our country,’ said Alice, still panting a little, ‘you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.’
‘A slow sort of country!’ said the Queen. ‘Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.
If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.", from,  Through the Looking Glass. 
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Until I fought through living in a Certificate of Occupancy landscape, the Red Queen, indeed, nailed me, and my small thinking.
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What changed?  I went to the bother of getting another college degree, apparently to learn running faster/smarter kept me in Certificate of Occupancy landscapes.  Crazy.  Time + Money spent learning nonsense?  My heart still hungered for living in a beautiful garden.  Off I went to Europe, no money for it, heart trampling lizard brain.
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Got what I was looking for the first study tour, England, in the first garden.  Will never forget that first epiphany.
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Until that first garden, all my energies & thought processes specified you must stand in the street, looking at the house, to design a garden.  In this madness I was equally complicit with my college professors.
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Realizing, in a moment of intuitive enlightenment, gardens must be designed from inside the home.  Designing your garden from inside the house is more than running twice as fast, it is warp speed, you can feel it. Who's living a Red Queen life now?
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Want the garden, below?  Go inside, start designing.  


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Pic, above, here.

The Red Queen is merely an arrow in your quiver, for a Latticework Mental Model.  Oddly, learning the Red Queen effect, drenches everything in life.
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For decades I could not abide topiaried plants, below.  Another madness, with arrogance thrown in.  Too rich, disdain for something I didn't understand.  What is there to understand about topiaried plants?  Easy.  They're easy.  Little maintenance, year round impact.  Another arrow for that quiver called the Latticework Mental Model.  And I thought I was merely learning Garden Design.
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Thanks to Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway, his best way to learn, is with a latticework of mental models, below,
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"Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form.

You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience both vicarious and direct on this latticework of models. You may have noticed students who just try to remember and pound back what is remembered. Well, they fail in school and in life. You’ve got to hang experience on a latticework of models in your head.
What are the models? Well, the first rule is that you’ve got to have multiple models because if you just have one or two that you’re using, the nature of human psychology is such that you’ll torture reality so that it fits your models, or at least you’ll think it does…
It’s like the old saying, “To the man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” And of course, that’s the way the chiropractor goes about practicing medicine. But that’s a perfectly disastrous way to think and a perfectly disastrous way to operate in the world. So you’ve got to have multiple models.
And the models have to come from multiple disciplines because all the wisdom of the world is not to be found in one little academic department. That’s why poetry professors, by and large, are so unwise in a worldly sense. They don’t have enough models in their heads. So you’ve got to have models across a fair array of disciplines.
You may say, “My God, this is already getting way too tough.” But, fortunately, it isn’t that tough because 80 or 90 important models will carry about 90% of the freight in making you a worldly wise person. And, of those, only a mere handful really carry very heavy freight."

gravel and brick:

Pic, above, here.

Wow, no foundation planting, below, or now it can be described, plantings at the house once you've become the Red Queen.  I took the pics, below, in England.  Imagine standing in these gardens, at the house, after a lifetime of USA green meatball landscapes.  Liberating.

TARA DILLARD: Curb Appeal:

Pic, above, here.

My heart was seeking these gardens, instead I received an education in life choices and how to change, adapt, grow.  More than 'feel good' words, they've been codified intellectually by Farnum Street, below.

TARA DILLARD: Curb Appeal:

Pic, above, here.
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The Farnam Street Latticework of Mental Models

Psychology (misjudgments)
Biases emanating from the Availability Heuristic:
– Ease of Recall
– Retrievability
Biases emanating from the Representativeness Heuristic
– Bias from insensitivity to base rates
– Bias from insensitivity to sample size
– Misconceptions of chance
– Regression to the mean
– Bias from conjunction fallacy
Others
– Bias from incentives and reinforcement
– Bias from self-interest
– Bias from association
– Bias from liking/loving
– Bias from disliking/hating
– Commitment and Consistency Bias
– Bias from excessive fairness
– Bias from envy and jealousy
– Reciprocation bias
– Over-influence from authority
– Deprival Super-Reaction Bias
– Bias from contrast
– Bias from stress-influence
– Bias from emotional arousal
– Bias from physical or psychological pain
– Fundamental Attribution Error
– Bias from the status quo
– Do something tendency
– Do nothing tendency
– Over-influence from precision/models
– Uncertainty avoidance
– Not invented here bias
– Short-term bias
– Tendency to avoid extremes
– Man with a Hammer Tendency
– Bias from social proof
– Over-influence from framing effects
– Lollapalooza
Business
– Price Sensitivity
– Scale
– Distribution
– Cost
– Brand
– Improving Returns
– Porters 5 Forces
– Decision Trees
– Diminishing Returns
– Double Entry Accounting
Investing
– Mr. Market
– Circle of competence
Ecology
– Complex adaptive systems
– Systems Thinking
Economics
– Utility
– Diminishing Utility
– Supply and Demand
– Scarcity
– Elasticity
– Economies of Scale
– Opportunity Cost
– Marginal Cost
– Comparative Advantage
– Trade-offs
– Price Discrimination
– Positive and Negative Externalities
– Sunk Costs
– Moral Hazard
– Game Theory
– Prisoners’ Dilemma
– Tragedy of the Commons 
– Bottlenecks
– Time value of Money
Engineering
– Feedback loops
– Redundancy
– Margin of Safety
– Tight coupling
– Breakpoints
Mathematics
– Bayes Theorem
– Power Law
– Law of large numbers
– Compounding
– Probability Theory
– Permutations
– Combinations
– Variability
– Standard Deviation and normal distribution
– Regression to the mean
– Inversion
Statistics
– Outliers and self fulfilling prophecy
– Correlation versus Causation
– Mean, Median, Mode
– Distribution
Chemistry
– Thermodynamics
– Kinetics
– Autocatalysis
Physics
– Newton’s Laws
– Momentum
– Quantum Mechanics
– Critical Mass
– Equilibrium
Biology
– Natural Selection
More Models:
– Asymmetric Information
– Occam’s Razor
– Deduction and Induction
– Basic Decision Making Process
– Scientific Method
– Process versus Outcome
– And then what?
– The Agency Problem
– 7 Deadly Sins
– Network Effect
– Gresham’s Law 
– The Red Queen Effect
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No, I never find garden design boring.  Never.  Ironic the Alice In Wonderland gardens are beautiful, not toxic, help heat/cool the home, improve property value, are less maintenance, and better for our health, and Earth's.  Here's the choice, Certificate of Occupancy garden or Alice In Wonderland garden?  
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If you've read this far, go you, I want to give you a treasured trinity of thinkers.  Farnum Street, Wendell Berry, Christopher Alexander
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Changes: You be the Designer

The first, known, gay friend I ever had was working a Garden Center in the 80's.  Most days my stomach ached when I got home, it hurt from laughing so much.  "He" was most of the reason, along with the rest of our perfecto team.  Of course our Garden Center won major awards, we all pulled our weight, and it was fun.  You haven't lived until you've unloaded 18-wheeler trucks from Florida, on  hot summer southern afternoons, full of plants and a few snakes.
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Will never forget "Him" saying, "Oh no honey, I wasn't born gay, it happened when I joined the Navy !"  Then dancing away.  Mostly he never walked away, he danced away.
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"He" was so good at Garden Design, excepting, knowing when to stop.  Whenever he created a display we all sighed in disbelief at its magic, but then he didn't know when to stop.  We waited till he clocked out, then removed a lot of ingredients, exposing the magic again.  The next day, seeing what we did, he'd be miffed, but ignore it, with the most hilarious rat-faced expression.
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I love the garden, below, but the plants at the front porch look like "Him" before the reduction.  We would have taken the plants to the right of the step OUT.  And added more stone steps along the front.
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Banks Design Associates:

Pics, above/below, here.
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But you already knew that about plantings at this front porch, right?
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Narrow Porch Decorating Ideas. How to decorate small, narrow porches. #Narrowporch #Smallporch #porchdecor  Banks Design Associates

With the porch plantings, above, you're caged in.  Remove the plantings, freedom, and flow reign.  See more pics of this beautiful home, interior/exterior, here, it's worth it.  Also, note the caption written for this same picture in the original article.  I hear AC/DC, B-A-D.  Captions should take the narrative of an article/picture, and add another layer.
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I show 'Changes' pics because it's how I learn best.  Hope you realize I'm not bashing this home/garden, in the least.  Heart on my sleeve with gardens.....

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Copy Valentino

Copy, it's the 1st rule of Garden Design.  Check the ego, earn your Cheshire Cat smile, once realizing, there is no such thing as copy-exactly, each site is unique, hence the algorithm proves you a genius, each time you copy.
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Valentino, below.  Yes, 'that' Valentino.  More than clothes, his gardens.  At his home outside Paris, Château de Wideville, below.  In your garden, you are safe to copy anything Valentino does.  After all, it's the exact method Valentino uses, copy-copy-copy.
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Catching a hint of Furlow Gatewood, below, in Valentino's garden?  It's no accident the pots, below, have cone shaped evergreens contrasting with the weeping focal point.  Classic Garden Design.

chateau-wideville-france-valentino-habituallychic-017

Garden Design course, below, moving from formal at the house, to less formal, and though not in the photo, below, I know a Wild Wood ends the progression.

chateau-wideville-france-valentino-habituallychic-004

at the Love Ball, the estate got a fairy tale makeover courtesy of famed set designer Alexandre de Betak, who created a magical, Dr. Zhivago-inspired mise-en-scène. Bryan Ferry performed, and guests such as Carine Roitfeld, Stella Tennant and Daphne Guinness were treated to a unique fashion show featuring one-of-a-kind dresses from 45 international designers. Mistress of ceremonies Anne Hathaway wore Valentino, of course. ", from, pics too, Valentino Garavani Museum.    

Why didn't I think of this?  A Dr. Zhivago-inspired mise-en-scene themed garden party?  And, every bit a tax deduction.  What I would really like to know, is how they mow perfect stripes, below, at the stone focal point.  Do they move it ahead of mowing?  Amusing, I really don't know how they do it.



Wish we all had Valentino's gardeners, in our own garden.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Furlow Gatewood, below, just in case you missed the iconic shot.
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Pic, above, Veranda.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Subdivision vs. Manor Home Landscape

Subdivision home vs. Manor home landscaping.
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Do you see both within the landscape, below?  Which elements are the manor home plantings, which elements are the subdivision plantings?
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Easy change, below, to go from USA gated subdivision plantings to historic European manor home.

Culligan Abraham Architecture:

Pic, above, here.
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Once you 'see' the change, above, and understand 'why' the change, you won't/can't ever go back to this moment, not knowing what is off-kilter, above.  More, you'll realize how much easier, and affordable, historic manor house gardening is and why it's more than 'gardening' but an intellectual pursuit within your quiver of life skills.  The gift of stewardship vs. amusement, conviction with humility.
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Replace annuals in the pot with a simple mushroom top evergreen, matching what is already in the garden.  Replace annuals at the door with another row of evergreens, matching what is already in the garden.  Done.
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Annuals, above, are vestiges of ca. 1983 high-end apartment complexes across Atlanta, GA.  Still a beautiful garden design conceit, for that niche.
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Historic manor house gardening is the ultimate status symbol, and eco, and sustainable.  If you like eco/sustainable you don't even want to think thru the footprint of cell-pack annuals upon this dear sweet Earth.
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Garden & Be Well, XOT
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Why the drama of conviction with humility?  Remember well, in my early 20's, degreed engineer, no horticulture degree yet, and heading to the garden center with a mission, I was going to buy flowers & a few bushes, come home and plant everything, creating the best landscape ever seen by mankind.  My heart/efforts were in such earnest, what else but smiling in memory?  That garden?  Worst ever seen by mankind.  The 1st major humbling in my life.  Humility arrived, thick, upon that garden lesson, I had wanted my pretty garden so badly, THAT DAY, instead, whooped by a mere horrendous garden.  Oh my the humor of it.
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1st visit to many of my clients thru the years?  There is so much laughter.  Bearing witness to conviction without humility.  It's human nature, to begin gardening with conviction, humility not upon the horizon.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Front Door: A Course in Beautifully Scaled Details

Off the edge of perfect, below, beyond perfect.
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Have never understood the predilection for oversized lights at a front door.  Studying historic gardens across Europe for decades, diminutive lighting, compared to USA, is the memo.
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Tara Turf, below, to the foundation.  Alone, enough to instigate a nastygram from any HOA.  Here's the deal with Tara Turf, it's a rich way to live, according to Providence.  And me.
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Opulent patina, not pressure washed away, on the walls, below.



Pic, above, here.
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Who knew I would ever think a collection of little green meatballs was charming?  Indeed, these are.  Here, they are a whimsical pun.  You already thought the same thing, right?
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The pair of small spheres.  Swoon.  Their plinths, double swoon.
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Notice the climbing roses?  Not the physical plant but what they do for the design.  Taking very little space, espaliered, they give maximum lush.
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Tiny gravel, above, color of the house, drifting into most-of-a-circle tiny flagstone, again colored to the house, terrace.  With no edging between gravel/plants or gravel/flagstones.  Your already picked up on this huge detail, edging, right?
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Enfilade, above, is something we have at our ca. 1900 American farmhouse.  Ours, 80' long, with heart of pine floor, I'll have to figure out how to get the shot, we even have the trees in back, but our pond is behind the trees.
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Our house, now, has a small gravel parking court in front, we kept the previous owner's half-round of bricks at the front steps.  Unbelievable, the vernacular language is the same, this home, above, and ours.
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This front door, above, says the most important thing, "Welcome."  And, "You want to come inside, this house is interesting, the people who live here I want to know and see more, the garden, and....."
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Beloved is a pressure washing fool.  One of these days, at present I leave the premises when he pressure washes, I will stand my ground, and instead of crime scene tape outlining a body on the ground, Beloved will pressure wash around my body on the wall of our home.  If this were our home, above, I know his pressure washer would have something 'wrong' with it each time he tries to use it.  Buy a new one?  It would have something 'wrong', always, too.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Simplicity vs. Cliche

From forever I've learned best from completed problems, pictures & places.  Copy the best, copy what works, saves time/money.
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Simplicity, below, at top form.
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Easy, you think, they've got the money for 'simple'.
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Not so fast.  More than money, below, their landscape is rich in wisdom.  Garden Design of the ages.
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When you have a natural focal point, frame it don't compete.
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Had the good fortune of learning this while studying historic landscapes in northern Italy, Lake Maggiore, to be precise.


William Burgin:

Pic, above, here.

Garden design cliche, below, when there isn't as much money, space, nor existing natural focal point, as, above.
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Yet.  Life's riches are no less precious, below, than, above.
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Good garden design is not about money, it's about using your full intellect.
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How would you garden design a richer life, below?  Seriously, what would you do to the garden, below?

  Search results for: farmhouse - Fresh Farmhouse:

Pic, above, here.
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What would I do, above ?
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I would remove all porch railings, add a stone step between porch columns, take out foundation plantings, placing those foundation plantings along the sidewalk at front, and add more along the sides of the home, about same distance as those at the front.  For starters.
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As is, this home is already pulling me inside, imagine if the landscaping were good too.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Edith Wharton: Voids & Masses

"Proportion is the good breeding of architecture.  It is that something, indefinable to the unprofessional eye, which gives repose and distinction to a room:  in its origin a matter of nice mathematical calculation, of scientific adjustment of voids and masses, but in its effects as intangible as that all-pervading essence which the ancients called the soul."  Edith Wharton

Gabriela Yariv's landscape for a Wallace Neff home in Pasadena - My Home As Art:

Very nice fix, above, to scale, proportion, flow.  Yet there is an added design element not abiding to the rules of scale/proportion and landed onto the terrace from Mars.
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Which is the good fix?  Which is the ill conceived addition?
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First, brava to the terrace design flanking the entire back of the home, flowing in vanishing threshold from every window/door.
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Yet, that is not the 'good fix'.  Adding the checkerboard 'path' to the terrace is the 'good fix', a genius fix.  I sense it was not in the original design, yet makes the original design magic.  A nice reminder of, 'A landscape can be installed in a day, a garden takes a lifetime.'  Many layers of nice thought, above.
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Yet one zone, above, is awkward.
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Have you nailed it yet?  It was more common at the front end of the trend, but has tamed itself in recent years.  The fireplace.  Oh my.  It's a fireplace with a house, not a house with a fireplace.  Fireplace monument to the gods.  The monolith floating in space at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, ca. 1968.  A fireplace with no soul, merely a good salesman.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T



Pic, above, from the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, here.  Remember well, and not understanding seeing 2001 at its premier, not far from the Astrodome & Gulfgate Mall.  Oh my the joy of growing up shopping there, especially, Sakowitz.  Their clothes & shoes, and their fabulous decorations at Christmas.  Neiman's was a wannabe back in those days !  Odd to learn, just now, below, Gulfgate housed some of NASA before it could be completed for workers.  Helping mom choose dad's crypt the salesman shared his story of painting NASA buildings as fast as they could because NASA workers were sited all over Houston/Pasadena awaiting their buildings.
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Wikipedia, "It was the first regional mall in the Houston area, opening as Gulfgate Shopping Center on September 20, 1956 with Joske's,SakowitzWeingarten'sJ.J. Newberry and W.T. Grant.[2] The architects were John Graham & Company.[3]
Gulfgate Kiddieland opened in the mall on March 21.[4]
In the early 1960s, while the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) was under construction in the Clear Lake areaNASA personnel opened temporary offices in center in about 3,000 square feet (280 m2) of floor space donated for the purpose by the Gulfgate management. MSC had a continuing operation there until additional office, engineering and laboratory space could be leased and made ready for occupation. Operations at the Gulfgate offices were largely concerned with procurement, personnel and public affairs.[5]
The shopping center was enclosed around 1967 and, after years of decline and competition, shuttered in 2000. In 2001 the original mall and the former Mervyns (across Woodridge) were demolished and redeveloped into a strip mall configuration, anchored by H-E-BBest BuyOffice DepotMarshalls, and Lowe's "

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Take it Easy, Mon

What is your landscape to you?  What role does it play in your life?  How does your landscape leverage your life?  Is your landscape a monthly check to someone else?  Is your landscape full of chores?  Your landscape informs the world of your views, what information is your landscape telling me?  Have you ever thought to ask yourself, "What does my garden say about me?"  Are you to be patted on the head for keeping the HOA happy with your landscape, and no more?  
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This spring, for your landscape, choose your own perspective.
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This perspective, below, is my favorite idea of a landscape.
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In a word, do you know what that perspective is?

SHELTER:

BACKDROP
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I want my garden to be the backdrop to my life.
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Who wants a garden, typically installed by the builder, to be endured?
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A garden backdrop to your life is leverage, joy, and grace.
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Green meatballs are usually a negative, yet look how many green meatballs are behind Tory Burch, above.  How smart her urns, never need planting or watering.  Ever.
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Green, brown, white is the most successful garden color trinity for centuries.
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If you maintain lawn/bushes, why not choose them as beautiful backdrop?  Delight in thinking, how to go beyond builder installed plantings, how to make magic from HOA rules.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Obviously this post is about certain ages of life.  Have had several clients this year, moving from their many decades family home, into retirement communities.  All of them, landscaping is provided & maintained as part of the 'package'.  All are in their 70's.  Each of the phone calls quite hard for both of us.  Life must be faced, and they are doing it in grace & elegance.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Don't Design Bifurcate: Interior & Exterior

For years I would write the editor of a specific interior design magazine asking why they would show beautiful interiors with terrible views out the windows.  No reply, ever.
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However, the month arrived when that magazine had every interior photograph edited/photoshopped to its exterior views with a brightness as if a glare of a beautiful garden, all the ugly views, poof/gone.  And, the magazine has continued editing exterior views for years.  Nice story, yes?
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This, below, is not that magazine.
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Great interior, yet a bifurcation of decorating styles, life choices, from inside to outside.
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What to do?

SHELTER:

Quick thought, without seeing the rest of the home's interior, stain the deck a shade, or 2, darker than the walls, above.
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Poof, interior/exterior no longer bifurcated.
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Another solution, add a shutter to lower half of the window, leaving only vistas of sky, trees, birds...
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Money is no issue solution?  Enlarge the deck, choose a new rail, stain same color as walls, turn window, above, into French doors, fix a drink, put a new album on the turn table, enjoy.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pic, above, here.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Language of a Garden's Entry: Not What You Think

Are you aware there is a classic repertoire of garden design language?  You know, the one without words.

A witty welcome, below, shouting, 'Come in'.  Restraint, grandeur, provincial, elegant, color, while informing reams of information about the house and its owner/s.



The language of garden design is quite simple, contrasts.  Simplicity with decadence, rustic with formal.

IMG_4833

Designing an orchard next to this garden room, above, is obvious or at least it should be.
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I've known this fact for decades, since 1st studying historic gardens across Europe.  Only later, much later, an embarrassing slug's pace, did the epiphany arrive, Providence never separated agriculture from ornamental horticulture.  They are entwined, they are one.
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Amusing, and sad, how many elementary school gardens are planted with vegetables & herbs, without their contrasting ornamental garden.  Why sad?  It is the ornamental garden adding up to 80% increases to agricultural yields.  How?  Pollinators.  Worse, the full language of a garden is not passed to the elementary school students, nor their teachers.
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Another way to look at the top pic and garden design?  Most often, in USA, a stone wall leading to an estate or high-end gated neighborhood is fabulously planted with a cornucopia of ornamental plants & monoculture lawn, everything irrigated, chemicaled, maintained.  Ironically, copying the best high-end apartment complexes.  Often, also, a piece of farm acreage purchased to construct a fine home, builds a couple of stone plinths connected with a gate then a few plantings tossed in.  Their new neighbors wondering, "Did that land sell-out to build a starter home subdivision?"  
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Oh my, the language of garden entry ways.
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Garden & Be Well, XO T
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Pics from NaramataBlend.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Face Heads Correctly in Your Garden

Dogs, horses, lions, mostly, are the heads I have the joy of placing properly in gardens.  Don't I have the best career ever?
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Heads-up, these dogs, are looking in the correct direction.  

3:

If you have a pair of heads in your garden, their correct placement is most often, above.
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Oddly, irritates me no end driving thru neighborhoods and seeing heads facing that grand morass-muddle-chaos of the great beyond termed The Public.  Wouldn't you rather give a lion's ass to the public?  Don't give the power of your garden away, facing heads the wrong way.  It's your life, joy, beauty.  Beauty.  There is a garden design secret I discovered about Beauty.  Designing your garden to be beautiful from every window of your home, yes every window, creates beauty in the opposite directions too.
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Got heads?  Getting heads?  Think it thru.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pic via here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Consider Views into Your Home from the Garden

In a garden your home is the quintessential focal point.  Not content to leave this design facet forsaken and alone, views into your home are subsidiary focal points.
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Today, this moment, think with your mind's eye, walk in your garden, around your home, all the while, looking at your home.  No window view, into your home, can remain undesigned.  An unfinished basement window?  I don't care about the reality of the situation.  That unfinished basement easily becomes the guest suite, or perhaps the multi-media party room, in theory, depending upon your window treatment.  Again, who cares about the reality?  Reality, don't go there with me.  This is the reality.
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And, looking into your windows from the garden, you must be interesting.  I must want to know who you are from those views.
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So.  Who are you?  Do views into your windows tell me who you are?
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"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.", "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.", Carl Jung.

TARA DILLARD: Looking into my living room from the garden, chinese snow ball, lamps on, blue + white:

Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pic, view into my home of 30 years.  Cannot wait to start working on views into our American farmhouse ca. 1900.  Not to that layer yet.  Have done the fake it till you make it views into windows at present.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What is Special About this Garden?

What is special about the landscape, below?  Take away the lovely home, insert a 3 bedroom 1960's brick ranch with a carport, and still, every drip of special about the landscape remains.  Small input, huge output, in the garden, but specifically, why is it special?

French Facade:

Most USA homes are entered from the driveway.  Above, a garden entry leads you into the home.
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Normally, the garden entry, above, is lawn next to the driveway.  Perhaps you would like a pretty garden instead.  Welcome home.
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Note, too, layers of green.  Layers of green never fail, and succeed quickly.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pic via Pinterest.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Washington Post: Richard Arentz Home & Garden

My construction team laughs at my proclivity for garden designing French doors from windows, adding retractable screen doors too.
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From the French doors, below, site a focal point on axis, add a path to the focal point, plant an allee of understory trees with flying buttresses of canopy trees, underplant with an evergreen groundcover, finish this garden room with its walls, an evergreen hedge.  Put in a cross axis just behind the evergreen hedge.
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This garden design, written, above, pictured, below, is a classic 1,000's of years old.  It sites beautifully along the sides of a home too.


Running Cedar, landscape architect Richard Arentz’s home. Winter King hawthorn allee. The ground cover is lenten rose, an evergreen perennial.:

Notice, potted plants each side of the French doors, above, become interior floral arrangements.
Choosing a rounded bowl for the orchids was no accident, nor choosing the arching/caning habit in contrast to the exterior understory trees.
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Staging this shot, they've used both house/garden as 1 proscenium.
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In addition to describing how to design this house/garden, above, the verbage is correct.  Most often, clients know what they want, have a pinterest board, yet do not have a vocabulary for what's in their pictures.
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Garden, above, is also little maintenance, and with the right plants, deer proof/drought tolerant/no chemicals/pollinator habitat.  If the house, above, is facing western sun, the allee of trees is shading the house in summer, dropping its leaves allowing the winter sun to help heat the house, lowering HVAC costs.  And, raising property value, while increasing the joy of living here.
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Pic, above, from Richard Arentz's Washington Post article, by Adrian Higgins.
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Biggest take away?  House & garden are a single proscenium.  Site the garden from inside your home.

Garden & Be Well,   XO T