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Manley Patio

Design – Necklace or Den?

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Manley Patio
Good landscaping should be for comfort as much as appearance. (GoodSeed Farm photo)

Landscape for the Way You Really Live

How about trading your “necklace” for a new den? Sounds silly, and maybe you don’t even own a necklace. But we’ll bet you’ve gone to a lot of trouble adorning your house with a “necklace” of foundation shrubs so it’ll look good to the neighbors. We’d like to suggest using plants to expand your living area as well. 

            It’s easy to view landscaping as mere decoration, like jewelry, but we’ll bet you’d be uncomfortable walking around wearing just jewelry. You wear clothes that are comfortable, protective, reflect your personality, and are well-suited for the activities you have planned. Once dressed appropriately, perhaps you’ll add a watch or bracelet, or some earrings, but first the clothes have to be right.

            There’s a different way to think about landscaping that looks good from the street and compliments your house, but most of all makes your yard a nicer place to spend your time. We don’t mean time spent weeding and clipping to make it look pretty for everyone else. Well-designed, professionally installed landscapes actually reduce maintenance so you can really enjoy your plants instead of fighting them. They also enrich your life, providing shade, windbreak, privacy and other benefits in addition to surrounding you with beauty.

            Are you willing to change the fundamental way you think about landscaping? There is a longstanding tradition of designing landscapes from the curb. The real estate term “curb appeal” describes the impression your home makes to passing strangers. Of course we all want our homes to make a good first impression, but what we’re suggesting is a landscaping “paradigm shift”. 

            We design landscapes from the place where you live. We look out the window from the kitchen sink, sit on the deck, see what you see when you look out the window or step out the door, or sit outside after a hard day’s work. The design objective is to improve and expand your living space, your “den”, and move it outdoors. Put screen plants between you and your neighbor’s windows, blot out unpleasant views, hide propane tanks, arrange attractive gardens and water features close to where you sit. Focus on protecting you from the afternoon sun, sheltering you from wind and traffic noise, and opening up vistas from your windows. 

            There’s a trend right now for people to spend more time at home, and it follows that you want to make your home a nicer place to live and entertain. Good landscaping helps create a relaxing, soothing environment where you can unwind, alone or with family and friends. A well-designed landscape is like a tailored suit. It’s comfortable, flattering and shows everyone your good taste. Once you’re well-dressed, the necklace is the finishing touch.

Steve Boehme is a landscape designer/installer specializing in landscape “makeovers”. “Let’s Grow” is published weekly; column archives are online at www.goodseedfarm.com. For more information call GoodSeed Farm Landscapes at (937) 587-7021.

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