“Garden maintenance is simply a series of small design decisions.”
“Two different designs in progress.”
Design is done by the professional who spends hours, days, or weeks creating a beautifully detailed and colorful drawing on a large sheet of paper. Then, with the design finished and the work of art complete, the designer emerges from their creative cave, carefully rolls up the sacred drawing, and carries it with them to their client meetings. Right?
Not really. When it comes to landscape and garden design, it is often helpful to view the process as something that will stretch over a period of years. Because that is, in fact, what happens. The process is often different from constructing a building. For architecture, specific plans are needed. You would never tell a builder to just build half the house while trying to get inspiration on what the other half should eventually look like.
For home landscapes, yes, a framework needs to be established and architectural elements designed. Things like fences, walls, paths, patios, etc. These require some forethought. And where you plant the oak tree. That tree could feasibly be there for a century or two, although with the pace of land development in our day and time, it’s unlikely.
A new building may need maintenance (paint, roofing, etc.) in a decade or two. Your landscape will need maintenance NEXT WEEK! Maybe even a little tomorrow. Let’s just face the truth: the need for maintenance is constant – and thankfully so. That means everything is alive and dynamic, presenting new challenges as well as new opportunities for art. I don’t want to imagine an alternative.
Garden maintenance is simply a series of small design decisions. Where should we put the leaves for composting? When should we cut back the lantana? What’s the best way to prune this small tree? These small choices all combine to create the “final” design, which is nothing more than a snapshot in time. There will be more decisions made tomorrow. How you edge your garden beds, how often you remove leaves in the fall, the method by which you remove weeds… all of these have an impact on your landscape’s appearance. They are all design decisions.
At Lakefront, we help clients achieve garden success over the long term by providing routine visits to take care of maintenance tasks. Short visits made on a frequent basis (typically monthly) have become one of our standard offerings. It doesn’t take much. Your garden simply needs some regular attention paid to it. The frequency of visits is more important than the visit duration (which is typically just a couple of hours).
This approach is the opposite of what many of us do… get outdoors for a really big clean-up effort once or twice a year, or have some hired help to do it. Getting the yard back in shape is satisfying. Especially in spring, when everything is actively growing. This is a fine approach for some properties, although less enjoyable. With a consistently-maintained landscape, you get to spread out that satisfaction over the entire year!
While re-landscaping the whole yard at once can come with a high price-tag, remember that you can view it as a process instead. What if you made small, incremental improvements over the course of the next 2 to 3 years? Or 10? The best gardens are created over time, continually evolving to be better than they were before. “Design through maintenance” is the Lakefront way.
If your landscape is not quite what you want it to be, and it’s begging for a different approach, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to become garden partners, focusing on the real work of art, which is not on a piece of paper. It’s the real estate you call home.