Garden Designers Roundtable – It’s okay to sweat the small stuff, details matter!

Garden Designers Roundtable – It’s okay to sweat the small stuff, details matter!

It has been my experience, that the excitement that arises in beginning a new garden or landscape project, is often overshadows the attention to the process needed to build it and overlooks the details that make it special. Today is Garden Designers Roundtable day, and we’re discussing the focus on details. Here are few things to consider before rushing through your project, and prevent the frustrating outcome, that something about this new garden just doesn’t feel right.

Connect your new space to its location. Known as Genius Loci, or sense of place, there are myriad ways of accomplishing this. Using found items is one of my favorite. Here we have placed a stone next to a set of steps leading to a deck. It stands as a welcome to visitors, but it’s not just any old stone, it was fond onsite, three feet directly below where it stands, forever tying this landscape to the ledge that lay beneath it.

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"
This “found stone” ties this landscape to it’s subterranean history!

Take care to make certain elements look as natural as possible. We have all seen garden ponds sitting in the middle of a yard with water falling from an unlikely mound, into a pond that is mysteriously surrounded by stones resembling a pearl necklace. Close your eyes for a moment and think of a real pond or stream, now open them. Does this manufactured pond look anything like the real thing? In this photo, our pond installer has created a very natural looking waterfall (on a slope), taking care to hide the liner giving the illusion that it has always been there.

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"
Looking as though it has it has always been there, this stream adds a pleasing visual and soothing sound to the garden!

Choose materials and craftsmen carefully. You know the old saying, anyone can paint, but not everyone can paint well. This holds true for most trades and professions. Taking the time to investigate each contractor’s attention to detail can make the difference in a project being successful or not. Here our decking contractor has done great job with this natural cedar railing. His suggestion to use this system and his attention to detail meshed very well with the natural look of the landscape.

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"
Expert craftsmanship complements any design!

Stay on budget by working with what your conditions. A limited budget, or restrictive (read: ugly), conditions need not ruin the feel of your new exterior space. Taking the time to research more than what your home center offers, and consulting with designers and craftsmen can lead to wonderful solutions, and beautiful elements in the design. Here, when faced with two large ugly concrete foundation walls, we went with the mason’s suggestion to cover with thin stone (real stone), that matched the wall stone used to surround the patio. The transition is seamless, and looks amazing.

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"
Mortared on thin stone matches the walls perfectly!

Fill in the cracks. Sounds funny, but in a garden full of plants sometimes small spaces get overlooked. Usually this omission is noticed later on when weeds take root and fill in these spaces for you. Then, as you frustratingly pull these unwanted “plants”, it dawns on you that if weeds will grow here, maybe something I want will also. Bingo! This beautiful stone work by our landscape contractor on this project, left us, what we like to call, “planting opportunities”. This sedum will, in time, fill in all around the stones, suppress weeds and look great!

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"
Filling in all planting opportunities, gives the garden depth!

Use pleasing combinations. Once again it’s time to look deeper than the offerings at the home store, or even the local garden center. To find plants to “paint” your new garden space, take a few mini adventures. Search out specialty nurseries, visit public gardens, or attend garden tours and lectures. Opening up your options to purchase, will make it easier to identify plants that meet your style, and help you plant contrasting or complementary combinations. Here, a simple combo of ‘All Gold’ Hakonechloa and ‘Centerglow’ Nine bark, make a pleasing contrast at the base of a set of deck steps.

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"
Contrasting or complementary plant combos, both add pleasing elements to a design!

Consider how and from where each element in the garden will be viewed. The most obvious detail in designing a space is perhaps the most often overlooked. We tend to concentrate so hard on what’s right in front of us, that sometimes we lose track of the greater picture. This tip may seem contrary to focusing on detail, but in fact is crucial to making the details work. Take a moment every now and then to step back and consider what you, and more importantly visitors to your garden, will see from several different angles. How the garden presents itself to, and more importantly how it welcomes visitors in, is extremely important. On this project, we took great care to nestle this shed into the garden, capitalizing on certain views.

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"
Considering every view of the garden can provide wonderful reveals!

Final, personal touches complete the design. After all is said and done, and you’ve finished constructing your new space, all you want to do is to just sit back and enjoy. Not so fast mon ami! Final touches, like the seasonal décor our client used here, are the icing on the cake, so to speak. And as the seasons change, and the garden presents itself accordingly, these personal touches make the garden all your own.

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"
A client’s personal touches complete this vignette!

These are just some of the elements to consider while you build your new outdoor space. It takes time and patience, and sometimes the grand plan in your head can be overwhelming. But fear not; it’s a process that can be mastered, especially if you remember to focus on the details!

To see how my colleagues on the Roundtable focus on the details, follow the links below, and please feel free to leave me a comment on this post. I’d love to hear about the details you are focusing on.

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Deborah Silver : Dirt Simple : Detroit, MI

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

 

Five New Year’s Resolutions for your Landscape!

Five New Year’s Resolutions for your Landscape!

This is the time of year when we promise ourselves that we’ll make a change and start being better at something. For all the garden lovers and homeowners out there, I would like to suggest five New Year’s resolutions to consider implementing for 2011. It may seem a bit tacky or rude, but making recommendation to clients for their gardens is part of my daily routine, so in that spirit I present five New Year’s resolutions for the home landscape.

Repeat after me, I resolve to:

1   Severely limit or completely eliminate chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides! Seems like a no-brainer right? Not so fast. A quick stop at any garden center or big box nursery section reveals a plethora of chemical “solutions” (read: problems) for just about any problem (read: symptom). We have come a long way in the last few years my friends, but we still have a ways to go.

Start a compost bin! This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to lower your trash output and provide you with material to build soil health. Enough said!

Come to terms with my lawn! This one should have dozen exclamation points after it. As homeowners, Americans have developed an overactive adolescent crush on large expanses of lawn (read any symbolism you like into that one!). Lawns are boring, vast, resource sucking spaces, not meant to be tucked into every corner and under every tree. Now before you banish me to the Arctic Circle, I am not anti-lawn. When sculpted into the landscape, with enough room allowed for personal use and cared for organically, lawns are a beautiful functional part of any well designed landscape.

Not be afraid to stretch my garden’s legs! A quick drive through any suburban neighborhood reveals a major aesthetic problem with today’s landscapes, “The Foundation Planting”. UGH! Your yards are bigger than you think people and there is no need to shove all the plants in your garden up against the house in a bed that’s six feet deep. Expand the planting beds, and for this you’ll need to eliminate some lawn (see previous suggestion), but by doing so you will achieve a better balance in your landscape and the house will not look like it’s holding its breath trying to fit into a small space.

Experiment with foliage! (not what you’re thinking) There is a vast array of foliage color, size and texture in the plant world and it is here that good planting design begins. Mixing and matching plants with interesting foliage will provide year round interest, and any blossoms will just be icing on the cake!

Well there you have it, five simple resolutions that will make your landscape environmentally friendly, sustainable, and the envy of the neighborhood. Please consider any or all of them for your garden for 2011. Now, I’m off to build a worm bin!

Happy New Year, and please share your gardening resolutions for 2011, love to hear them!

Scott

A Garden for all Seasons

A Garden for all Seasons

February, the shortest month of the year, can seem an eternity for a gardener. Here in the northeast, we are still about a month away from beginning any serious gardening chores. The vast array of seed catalogues has arrived at our doors, and we have moved from excitedly flipping through each, noting trusted old varietals and new and promising crops to try this season, back to waiting. Relief will eventually come, first in the form of seed starting for those newly purchased vegetable and bedding crops, then will come late winter pruning of fruit bearing and ornamental plants, then finally, temperatures will warm enough to begin working the soil.

Winter can seem an unproductive time, but for the gardener who is paying attention, it can be a valuable time to assess a landscape. Comprised of many components, a garden is built upon and is defined by its structural elements. Referred to also as the bones of a garden, structure might be found in an outbuilding, in stonework, sculpture, walkways and patios. Even plants themselves, can create structural elements; Trees provide ceiling, hedges act as walls, and individual plants act as specimens displaying architectural shapes and interesting growth habits.

Much structural elements of a garden lay hidden beneath foliage during the growing season, but now during the colder months, a garden’s bones are revealed as if by x-ray, enabling one to detect its balance, mass, and symmetry. Problems to any one of these elements can be quickly diagnosed, enabling the gardener to plan for changes to correct them.  Walking the garden during the winter moths also gives a gardener an unobstructed view of the trunks and branches of deciduous plants, revealing damages or disease. There is much to find in the garden during the stark winter months.

There is also beauty. Experiencing a garden in winter can be a treat for the senses. The low arch of the sun casts long shadows that play with the bare branches against a snowy backdrop. Ice crystals form on every surface and backlit by the sun become like stars glistening in the sky. The frozen crunching of footsteps and the crackling of sap from nearby trees fill the air with song. If you have provided food and habitat for birds in your garden, then it will most likely be buzzing with activity, the brightly colored feathers acting as moving blossoms. Venture into the winter garden at night, especially on a full moon and it transforms into a surreal landscape. Never will you feel such a sensory connection to a place as a garden at night, be it winter or summer.

There is much to enjoy in a garden, and when planned for all seasons, the joy will last year round. Cast away your feelings of cabin fever, and shrub off the cold. Take stock in your outdoor surroundings, for at the very least, it will give you a new appreciation of your garden come spring!

Garden Designers Bloglink: Celebrating regional diversity in New England!

Garden Designers Bloglink: Celebrating regional diversity in New England!

If you’ve ever walked through a landscape and not been able to tell what part of the country you were in, or have traveled somewhere only to find the same plants, paving materials, and stores as the mall back home, then you have experienced the homogenization of today’s society. Uniqueness is giving way to mass production in our world. If everywhere we go, looks the same as where we’ve been, is there really any reason to have gone there in the first place? This post, and the posts of 12 of my friends and fellow Landscape Designers today, is dedicated to celebrating regional diversity in the garden. Lauding the uniqueness of each corner of this small planet. Please take some time to visit the other participants blogs, and experience the visions of each of these talented designers, as they delve into regional diversity in Garden Design. You’ll find their names and links to their blogs at the end of this post.

A simple herringbone path, brings out the charm of this cottage.

I live and design landscapes in southern New England. New England is a wonderfully diverse region of the country. The Connecticut River Valley, rich and fertile, has been home to thriving agriculture for some 400 years. Dairy farms once dominated the rolling hills of Vermont. There are granite quarries in New Hampshire, brownstone quarries in Connecticut, rocky lobster beds in Maine, and the world’s premier oyster fisheries in Long Island Sound. Mill towns throughout the region stand as reminders of a strong manufacturing base, long since weakened by present day global economies. Ecosystems vary from huge sand dunes on Cape Cod, alpine meadows in New Hampshire, deep spruce forests in Maine, and over 6000 miles of rocky and sandy coastline. In a days drive, one can experience all that New England has to offer, passing through cattle pastures, tobacco fields, mountain passes, large cities and industrial hubs.

Instead of cut and fill, the terrain in this garden was celebrated with a stream and pond.

The architecture in New England is predominantly colonial in nature. It echoes the feel of northern Europe, for it is those Europeans that originally settled here. They brought with them their colonial style houses, cottage gardens, and an innate ability to construct miles and miles of field stone walls, perhaps the defining image of New England. Stone walls line both farmland and Main Street in most New England towns, and that same stone can be found in the construction of many of the older factories, churches and municipal buildings.

Sadly though, New England’s natural beauty is slowly disappearing, succumbing to strip malls and boring landscapes of mass produced plant cultivars. The brick paths, field stone walls and cottage gardens, that provided this region with its traditional character and charm, are also giving way to more modern concrete pavers, block walls and uninteresting plantings. To turn around this trend, one need only to look again to New England’s history and natural beauty when designing a garden. Its early European influences, natural geography and native ecosystems, still present today, can easily be drawn upon to marry each design to the regions character. And when that design is true to its surroundings, and successfully implemented, the effort put forth to enhance that natural beauty, disappears beneath a conjoined sense of place. To put it simply, a well designed landscape seems not to have been designed at all, yet gives the visitor a sense of location, and of the character within. Herein lays the value of celebrating a location’s natural diversity, and turning away from homogeneous design. By focusing on regionally specific plant groups, hardscape materials, and design concepts, we promote uniqueness rather than assimilation into the global fold.

Natural Cedar and Native Fieldstone conceal an ugly foundation wall.

Examples that might celebrate regional diversity could be as follows: A shade garden of locally native plants beneath a beautiful hardwood canopy, so common in New England, instead of cutting down as many trees as possible to grow a lawn. A meadow or rain garden in a low lying damp area, filtering toxins from runoff before it reenters the ecosystem. A habitat garden comprised of native plant species providing a place of food and sanctuary for the native fauna. Moving in closer to the house, examples might include; Native stone and brick to construct walkways and patios, calling back to the days when such materials were quarried in a nearby location. Regionally available wood species, felled and milled locally to build garden structures. And, when possible, situating the home itself so as to accentuate the property, shunning cut and fill grading practices and taking advantage of the land’s unique characteristics.

Boston City Hall Pavers, shown here before planting, complement the colonial architecture of the house.

Drawing upon the history, native plants and hardscape materials of a region when designing a project, provides the designer a culturally specific path to creating that garden.  A garden that celebrates its location and informs its visitors. As our world continues to shrink, it is imperative to preserve local character and regional identity. Doing so, will give your garden its unique sense of place.

I hope you find yourself a new sense of place in your own garden. And please, if you any thoughts on this topic? I’d love to hear them, leave a comment below!

Scott

I would invite you now to visit my friends and fellow Landscape designers as they blog from their unique and diverse regions, and who knows, maybe you’ll find an interesting place to visit the next time you venture across this wonderfully diverse country of ours. Click on each of the Designers names to visit their blogs. (And while your there, explore some of their older posts also. You’ll find a wealth of information!)

Jocelyn Chilvers (The Art Garden) – Wheat Ridge, CO

Susan Cohan (Miss Rumphius’ Rules) –  Chatham, NJ

Michelle Derviss (Garden Porn) – Novato, CA

Tara Dilliard (Landscape Design Decorating Styling) – Stone Mountain, GA

Dan Eskelson (Clearwater Landscapes Garden Journal) – Priest River, ID

Laura Livengood Schaub (Interleafings) – San Jose CA

Susan Morrison (Blue Planet Garden Blog) – East Bay, CA

Pam Penick (Digging) – Austin, TX

Susan Schlenger (Landscape Design Viewpoint)  – Charlottesville, VA

Genevieve Schmidt (North Coast Gardening) – Arcata, CA

Ivette Soler (The Germinatrix) – Los Angeles, CA

Rebecca Sweet (Gossip in the Garden) – Los Altos, CA

Become a Fan of Blue Heron Landscape Design on Face book – http://bit.ly/yq1XT

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ScottHokunson

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www.blueheronlandscapes.com

Practice what you preach?

Practice what you preach?

The world of Garden design is chock full of talented people from all walks of life, and from all corners of the globe. And depending upon one’s perspective, the approach to designing a garden might follow a certain criteria to success. But does this mean that there are hard and fast rules? And (for the purposes of this post), do artistic denizens of Garden Design practice what they preach on their own Gardens? Well the answer to each of these questions is a definitive Yes…. and No. You see, just like the “Pirates Code” in the Pirates of the Caribbean, these rules  ” is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules”.

Here are a few of the rules… er guidelines that I follow when designing a Garden:

The Garden must match the surroundings. A garden or landscape should appear to fit comfortably into its space, and should complement the architecture of the home. The transition of that, which is designed, be it house or garden, should appear seamless, to that which is nature.

The soft tones of Boston City Hall pavers, and the blue of Nepeta create a pleasing entranceway.

The design should address realistic expectations of the client’s interaction with the garden. For the client with a green thumb (or even a want of a green thumb) bold swaths of perennials can be combined with shrubs and even vegetables. For those with little time or desire to work in the garden, lovely conifers, shrubs and a smattering of perennials will require little maintenance. For the entertainers, a patio garden and lawn space will provide ample room to play.

Bold swaths of perennials capture the remains of the day.

It should embody Genius Loci. Genius Loci, or sense of place, ties the garden to the heritage of its site. Alluding to the past can be a powerful design element when creating a garden. Experiencing the history of the site connects us to the life force of garden.

This Brownstone slab was found three feet below ground, when digging the corner pier for this porch. It now stands as a welcome reminder of what lay beneath this garden.

Finally, to paraphrase Captain Barbossa, there really are no rules, so have fun, and create something you will connect with and enjoy!

For myself, I do follow these guidelines at home, but it seems the one I am most successful with is Genius Loci, as evidenced by the wagon wheel in the picture below. It came with the house, and was soon placed against this sugar maple. That was over ten years ago now, and every time I pass by I am reminded of those that brought it here, and I hope they are happy with my efforts.

A lingering reminder.

This post was inspired by friend and fellow Garden Designer Susan L. Morrison of Creative Exteriors Landscape Design in the San Francisco area. She recently proposed a question to me and two other of our colleagues, Susan Cohan of Susan Cohan Gardens in New Jersey, and Rebecca Sweet of Harmony in the Garden, also in the San Francisco area. The question: Do designers practice what they preach? She then suggested we all post our responses on our blogs at the same time. It’s a great idea Susan thanks, it’s an honor to be included with three very talented designers

You can read each of their responses here:

Susan L. Morrison    Blue Planet Garden Blog

Susan Cohan     Miss Rumphius’ Rules

Rebecca Sweet     Gossip in the Garden

Thank you, dear reader,  for sharing this time with us, and I sincerely hope that you are happy with the garden you’ve created. Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Regards,

Scott Hokunson

www.blueheronlandscapes.com

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Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day For November

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day For November

As Autumn slowly fades into winter here in Southern New England, we find fewer and fewer blossoms for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day. That doesn’t leave us devoid of color and interest though, for despite being far past peak foliage color, there are still many wonders to behold in the garden. With that thought in mind, I ventured out with camera in hand to capture the beauty that is the turn of the season.
I hope you find as much enjoyment as I do in the following photos. Remember, you can click on each to see a larger version.
Though the Bee covered yellow frosting from late summer has passed, the spent flower heads of Goldenrod (Solidago) still provide us interest. They almost resemble cotton waiting to be picked.
2009 11 06_2589
Solidago

The common name Fleabane, does not do the lovely flowers of Erigeron justice. Here still putting on a display mid-November.

2009 11 15_2611
Erigeron

We have been using several different Coral Bells (Heuchera) in containers the last few years, and one of our favorites is ‘Caramel’. It’s foliage is a wonderful contrast to the annuals and Hostas it’s been pared with. This container, on its last legs of the season, is still looking vibrant thanks to the many wonderful shades of color provided by ‘Caramel’

2009 11 15_2619
Heuchera 'Caramel'

Not to be outlasted, our Scabiosa ochroleuca, will just not turn in for the season!

2009 11 15_2618
Scabiosa ochroleuca

Looking weary and a bit haggard, but still festive, Swamp Sunflower is holding on, adding color to the ever increasingly dull hues of late fall.

2009 11 15_2613
Helianthus angustifolius 'Gold Lace'

Not all plants shun fall and winter, the Common Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) does not bloom until this time of year. Its crinkly spider like blooms here are glistenig from last night’s rain.

2009 11 15_2601
Hamamelis virginiana

A star of late Autumn, Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata) explodes this time of year. Found on the edge of wet meadows and woodlands, the bright red berries will continue to draw our attention until every last one is gobbled up by our avian friends.

2009 11 15_2609
Ilex verticillata

On the edge of our meadow, I found the following plant. I’m not quite sure what it is, but  am completely mesmerized by the whispy structure and the wonderful tan and brown hues of the foliage. What a wonderfully welcome volunteer to have made its home here.

2009 11 15_2626
One of our meadow volunteers

So there you have it, the last of the 2009 blooms from our garden. I hope you have enjoyed these posts as much as I have enjoyed sharing them with you. If you have, then fear not, for there will all sorts of frozen wonders to explore as we venture out into the winter garden, stay tuned.

See you in the Garden,

Scott

www.blueheronlandscapes.com

When the cat’s away…..

When the cat’s away…..

Recent events have kept me from attending to all the details that keep each project moving along smoothly, and that has caused there to be a little downtime for the crew. When faced with idle time in the past, I could usually trust that my crew would keep themselves busy in some sort of constructive fashion. My current crew, consisting of 2 college aged males on the otherhand, upon finding themselves with some empty time, decided they would rather exercise their ceative muscles. When instructed to move an existing pile of brick, they instead decided to build a monument any mason was sure to be proud of. So, move it they did. All that was left was to sit back and soak up the accolades.

So my friends, I give you – “Pile of Brick”, by Justin and Mike.

DSC01199

Now in the past, I may have over reacted to this kind of “tom-foolery”, but I have matured over the years, and have learned to accept things for what they are. After all, they could have used their idle time in all manner of degenerate ways (that’s a story for another time!).  No, this time I took into account that the customer was fairly amused, and that their actions didn’t leave me with any repairs or the need to replace anything (which is also a story for another time!), instead I focused on the positive, and….. promoted them.

I am pleased to introduce the new Vice President and Executive Assisant, of material storage and brick stacking for Blue Heron! (I’ll let them decide which is which).

DSC01201

Now if I could only find their time cards……..

See you in thegarden!

Scott

www.blueheronlandscapes.com

Encore! Well…. maybe just a do-over.

Encore! Well…. maybe just a do-over.

To those of you that tuned it to watch “The Ultimate Backyard Makeover” on FOX 61 this past Saturday, I must first say thank you. Not only did you perservere through a long blog series, you went the extra yard. Now, if you found yourself saying “what the heck was that?”, you are not alone. Apparently there were some technical difficulties in the Fox 61 control room, and half of the show did not make it on air, so if you didn’t get it, it wasn’t you. Fox 61 will be re-airing the the show in all its glory again this Saturday (Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel) and this time you’ll get to see the whole thing.

So if you have it in you to give it one more try for cause, please tune in. Oh and just in case, better have a copy of your favorite movie to watch if things go awry again. I think I’ll rent moonstruck……

See you in the garden,

Scott

A deserving Family and 15 Minutes for Blue Heron

A deserving Family and 15 Minutes for Blue Heron

Epilogue

Promoting a small business can be a daunting task. Finding the right venue to get your message out, getting ad copy just right and staying within a budget, all can test the reserve of even the most creative soul. That’s why, when the Backyard Makeover project presented itself, I gladly jumped onboard. A role in a televised production, on a local station, professionally filmed and produced, would surely provide needed exposure and credibility for Blue Heron Landscape Design. Most of the other participants, already advertisers with Fox 61, undoubtedly also knew of the value of this exposure, and also were quick to sign on. With stars in our eyes, we arrived, prepared for our companies expected fortunes.

Fate, I have always maintained, has a sense of humor, it seems, that it also has a sense of purpose. Here was a group of companies determined to take advantage of a brilliant opportunity, unexpectedly finding a greater purpose; Present a very deserving family with a private place of respite that they would not otherwise be able to afford. Now, I don’t mean to make our homeowners out as destitute, for they are not. Simply good people, that life threw one too many curve balls. And by no means are we, the participants meant to appear as saints, most assuredly we are not. This rather simply, became a feel good story that would benefit both sides in ways that neither could have imagined, and that is good story to tell.

Thank you to WTIC FOX 61, for providing this opportunity, and thank you to each of the other participants for making my job easier. Special thanks to Ron and the crew at R-N-L Enterprises, for without them we never would have pulled this off. And, thank you to you, readers, for the opportunity to tell this story, I know time is precious, and this has been a long blog. I hope you have enjoyed it.

Now, I must go, it just started to rain again, and I think I left my tools outside……

Follow this link to more pictures of the project from start to finish. http://www.flickr.com/photos/blueheronlandscapes/sets/72157620605924926/

See you in the Garden,

Scott

www.blueheronlandscapes.com

The FOX 61 Ultimate Backyard Makeover is scheduled to run Saturday June 27th at 12:30 pm. Please tune in! And feel free to email me any comments, even those less flattering.

A deserving Family and 15 Minutes for Blue Heron PT. II

A deserving Family and 15 Minutes for Blue Heron PT. II

Day two of our project began with a job meeting. This is a common occurrence, especially when so many contractors and vendors are participating. Four of those participants met on the homeowners back porch, and the discussion quickly centered on our first obstacle, and what would prove to be an ongoing theme for this project….Rain. Each contractor, stood with his umbrella, the whole group looking more like the crowd at the US Open, than a group of artisans set to reconstruct this backyard. Quickly, we dispensed with ‘interesting topics’, such as; “I wasn’t given enough notice for this project!” and “There’s no way this will get done by Friday!”, and refocused around the homeowner’s story and the opportunity we each had to help them out.

Each participant would bring his certain product or talent to the group; Ron from R-N-L Enterprises, would provide site work, bed prep, brush removal and lawn establishment. Darren from Birch Mountain Earthworks would supply us with mulch, topsoil and playscape mulch. Bryan from Winterberry Gardens would bring in the plant material and plant it. My job was to design the overall layout of the site, including, location of their new shed and new playscape, size and shape of the new patio and sitting wall, and the layout of all the planting beds. I also would be scheduling each of the participants time on the site, keeping each abreast of the schedule, and coordinating with the film crew as to their arrival, so each could be filmed in action and interviewed for the final production. After getting a little understanding and relief from the executives at FOX 61, we set our schedule and were off.

R-N-L got to work immediately, clearing brush scraping sod from the beds, and excavating areas for the shed, the new playscape and the patio. They are an efficient crew, and were able to make quick work of theirs tasks, with the help of their Takeuchi Compact Track Loader (See picture at right). Carefree Small Buildings delivered the new shed, and with the precision of a surgeon the driver placed it exactly in the spot R-N-L had created for it. When commenting on how good the driver was, he replied to me, “oughta be, I been drivin’ this truck for 46 years”.

Next in were John from Nicolock Pavers, and his installer Gregorio. Jamie selected her paver style and color, Gregorio and I discussed the patio layout, and we set Monday as the day for installation.  Unfortunately, rain and schedule conflicts, would put the rest of the project off until the next week, but come that Monday morning, the place would come alive with activity.

In part III, tomorrow, we’ll do our best to stay out of everyone’s way, as the jobsite becomes a flurry of activity, including some emergency tree work, the patio installation, plantings and some very cool extras.

See you in the Garden,

Scott

www.blueheronlandscapes.com

The FOX 61 Ultimate Backyard Makeover is scheduled to run on June 27th at 12:30 pm. Please tune in!