Jan 15, 2013

What Are We Doing Here?

The artful landscape holds surprises big and small.
I'm really not one to make new years' resolutions, but as I head into my tenth year of designing landscapes, I know there is an opportunity here to do a lot more than simply decorate people's yards.

Water management is something we all need to be thinking about, whether it's controlling winter flooding or surviving summer drought. The last ten years have seen a remarkable increase in awareness of permeable landscaping as well. From interlocking paver systems to poured-in-place pervious concrete, products are available now that will lower the impact of our development in almost any application. There also has been a vast increase in the number and diversity of native and adapted plant species available, as nurseries realize "low water" and "low maintenance" are more than just a trend.

These are all strategies to make the earth happier, and that's important. But it's also important to keep the spirit happy. The landscape isn't just a place we happen to walk through; it's where we live. It's what we come home to, where we relax, where we entertain our family and friends and the people who aren't yet friends but will be soon. The landscape not only inspires us, but also invites to to take part in its beauty, and by extension, the beauty of the surrounding environment: our world.

When we are sensitive to our landscape, we notice the little things: the morning frost, the autumn foliage, the summer sunset. We notice the long winter shadows, and appreciate the long summer days that much more. And, even as we become attuned to the regularity of the days and the seasons, we are also more open to the surprises that await us everywhere we take the time to look (or smell or listen or touch or taste). And this, this brings us joy.

I coined the name "Verdance" to convey what I hoped to offer every client: the artful combination of "green" (verde) with "joy" (danz, or dance). That's still what I'm doing here, and I've been lucky enough over the past ten years to work with a few clients who want to do it together.

Who's next?