I designed landscapes by the book and my designs incorporated the latest cool plants at the nursery. If the book said a plant grows in the shade to 10 feet tall I put it in shade where it could grow to 10 feet tall.
I talked with associates and read magazine articles about new plants. I still do because there’s always room for improvement. The palette of plants to choose from is constantly changing.
After designing, installing and watching my landscapes grow in for over 20 years I have more experience than most in my field.
Sometimes, even though the book says a plant grows in the shade it just sits there neither living nor dying. Arborvitae planted in late fall are going to suffer from winter’s drying winds. Over-planted landscapes fill in quickly and are a ton of work to keep up. Landscape construction never goes exactly according to plan and small changes are a natural part of the process.
My design style is “Form follows function.” I abhor complexity for simpler is always better. I like focal points but don’t overdo it. Viewers get headaches from bedazzled landscapes.
Landscape design and installation is an art and subject to interpretation by the designer and installer. Seemingly small differences, like those above, make a big difference in your project. You can talk to five landscape designers and get five completely different landscape designs. You can then give that design to five different landscape contractors and get five different landscapes.
I hope you choose wisely when hiring your landscape designer or landscape contractor.
By John Holden